From the Right



Catholic Schools Beat Public Schools in Reading and Math

Terence P. Jeffrey on

Here is one demonstrable fact about the difference between Catholic and public schools: Students who study at Catholic schools do better in reading and math.

We know this because students who attended Catholic elementary schools in 2019 tested better in mathematics and reading than students who attended public schools.

The latest issue of the Digest of Education Statistics, published by the U.S. Department of Education, includes the average reading and math scores that fourth and eighth grade students achieved in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, tests that were administered in 2019.

Table 221.32a from this digest shows the average reading scores.

Fourth graders in public schools, it says, scored an average of 219 (out of a possible 500) in the NAEP reading test. Catholic school fourth graders scored 235.

The Catholic-school fourth graders won.


The same table shows that eighth graders in public schools scored an average of 262 in the NAEP reading test, while Catholic school eighth graders scored an average of 278.

The Catholic schools won again.

The same pattern held in the math scores reported in Table 222.32a.

Public-school fourth graders scored an average of 240 in the 2019 NAEP math test, while Catholic-school fourth graders scored an average of 246. Public-school eighth graders scored an average of 281 in math, while Catholic-school eighth graders scored an average of 293.


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