HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, FAS


Has the achievement of U.S. students improved over the past half century? Have gaps between racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups widened or narrowed? These and similar questions provoke near-constant conversation. But answers are uncertain, partly because research to date has yielded inconsistent findings. In this article, the authors bring together information from every nationally representative testing program consistently administered in the United States over the past 50 years to document trends in student achievement from 1971 to 2017, the last year for which detailed information is currently available.


Shakeel, M. Danish, and Paul E. Peterson. "A Half Century of Student Progress Nationwide: First Comprehensive Analysis Finds Broad Gains in Test Scores, with Larger Gains for Students of Color than White Students." Education Next 22.4 (Fall 2022): 50-58.