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School Is 'Too Easy,' Say American Students

Many students in American classrooms don't feel challenged enough. That's according to new analysis of federal data (pdf) conducted by the Washington think tank American Progress.

The organization, which promotes "progressive ideas and action," came to that conclusion when it analyzed surveys given to students by the Department of Education for its National Assessment of Educational Progress.

In its press release, American progress says its analysis found that the popular images of students overburdened with work and keeping "the hours of a corporate lawyer in order to finish their school projects and homework assignments" are quite simply off base.

"Many students are not being challenged in school," the organization says. USA Today dug through the report and finds:

-- "37% of fourth-graders say their math work is 'often' or 'always' too easy;

-- "57% of eighth-graders say their history work is 'often' or 'always' too easy;

-- "39% of 12th-graders say they rarely write about what they read in class."

USA Today spoke Florida State University English education professor Shelbie Witte who said students are likely bored by an education system that puts too much emphasis on standardized testing and "when they're bored, they think the classes are easy."

Another interesting find from the report is that lower-income students reported that they comprehended their teachers less than their more affluent classmates.

American Progress points out that student surveys have been shown to be accurate predictors of a teacher's performance. It's the reason they decided to look at this set of data.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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