Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Comment
  • Published:

The elusive quest for equity and excellence in US school reform

Education reform in the United States has stalled and persistent achievement gaps remain. The challenges of overcoming socioeconomic disadvantages cannot be ignored if we are to develop an education system that will prepare all students to be productive members of the twenty-first century.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: PISA performance trends, 2006–2015.
Figure 2: NAEP scores, 2005–2015.


  1. Kastberg, D., Chan, J. Y. & Murray, G. Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science, Reading, and Mathematics Literacy in an International Context: First Look at PISA 2015 (National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education, 2016);

    Google Scholar 

  2. Gardner, D. P. et al. A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (National Commission on Excellence in Education, US Department of Education, 1983).

    Google Scholar 

  3. America's Choice: High Skills or Low Wages! (National Center on Education and the Economy, 1990). Contents

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Reville.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Reville, P. The elusive quest for equity and excellence in US school reform. Nat Hum Behav 1, 0020 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing