Massachusetts students led the nation in reading scores, but performed worse than two years ago, according to test results released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on Oct. 30.

Former Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville said that while Massachusetts residents are fortunate to be performing better than the rest of the nation, the results underscore what he sees as a grim truth: the state's and nation’s educational systems are not working.

“We’re first in the nation, but when you look at our score, they’re more or less flat or declining, and certain achievement gaps have widened,” Reville said during an interview Boston Public Radio on Oct. 31. “Whether you’re looking nationally or statewide, we’re just not getting the results we aspire to get.”

Reville believes one problem is that educational reformers are too focused on students’ experiences inside school, and are not looking at the impact that external factors like a student’s home life and environment can have on their learning experience.

“We’re looking at the problem of improving student performance as solely a problem of increasing the functioning of schools as we know it,” Reville said. “Unless we take those [external] circumstances into account and try to mitigate those in some way, I’m afraid we’re going to continue to see these sorts of results.”