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Table 140. Average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scale score, by age and selected student and school characteristics: Selected years, 1971 through 2008
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected student or
school characteristic
1971 1975 1980 1984 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1999 20041 20081
Previous format Revised format
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
9-year-olds                                                      
All students 208   (1.0) 210 (0.7) 215 (1.0) 211 (0.8) 212 (1.1) 209 (1.2) 211 (0.9) 211 (1.2) 212 (1.0) 212 (1.3) 219 (1.1) 216 (1.0) 220 (0.9)
Sex                                                      
Male 201   (1.1) 204 (0.8) 210 (1.1) 207 (1.0) 207 (1.4) 204 (1.7) 206 (1.3) 207 (1.3) 207 (1.4) 209 (1.6) 216 (1.4) 212 (1.1) 216 (1.1)
Female 214   (1.0) 216 (0.8) 220 (1.1) 214 (0.9) 216 (1.3) 215 (1.2) 215 (0.9) 215 (1.4) 218 (1.1) 215 (1.5) 221 (1.0) 219 (1.1) 224 (0.9)
                                                       
Race/ethnicity                                                      
White 214 2 (0.9) 217 (0.7) 221 (0.8) 218 (0.9) 218 (1.4) 217 (1.3) 218 (1.0) 218 (1.3) 220 (1.2) 221 (1.6) 226 (1.1) 224 (0.9) 228 (1.0)
Black 170 2 (1.7) 181 (1.2) 189 (1.8) 186 (1.3) 189 (2.4) 182 (2.9) 185 (2.2) 185 (2.3) 191 (2.6) 186 (2.3) 200 (2.2) 197 (1.8) 204 (1.7)
Hispanic [3]   (†) 183 (2.2) 190 (2.3) 187 (3.0) 194 (3.5) 189 (2.3) 192 (3.1) 186 (3.9) 195 (3.4) 193 (2.7) 205 (1.7) 199 (1.5) 207 (1.5)
                                                       
Region                                                      
Northeast   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 223 (2.5) 221 (2.6) 226 (1.6)
Midwest   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 221 (2.3) 217 (2.5) 218 (1.6)
South   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 217 (1.7) 214 (1.3) 221 (1.8)
West   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 215 (1.9) 212 (2.1) 216 (1.3)
                                                       
13-year-olds                                                      
All students 255   (0.9) 256 (0.8) 258 (0.9) 257 (0.6) 257 (1.0) 257 (0.8) 260 (1.2) 258 (0.9) 258 (1.0) 259 (1.0) 259 (1.0) 257 (1.0) 260 (0.8)
Sex                                                      
Male 250   (1.0) 250 (0.8) 254 (1.1) 253 (0.7) 252 (1.3) 251 (1.1) 254 (1.7) 251 (1.2) 251 (1.2) 254 (1.3) 254 (1.2) 252 (1.1) 256 (1.0)
Female 261   (0.9) 262 (0.9) 263 (0.9) 262 (0.7) 263 (1.0) 263 (1.1) 265 (1.2) 266 (1.2) 264 (1.2) 265 (1.2) 264 (1.3) 262 (1.2) 264 (0.9)
                                                       
Race/ethnicity                                                      
White 261 2 (0.7) 262 (0.7) 264 (0.7) 263 (0.6) 261 (1.1) 262 (0.9) 266 (1.2) 265 (1.1) 266 (1.0) 267 (1.2) 266 (1.0) 265 (1.0) 268 (1.0)
Black 222 2 (1.2) 226 (1.2) 233 (1.5) 236 (1.2) 243 (2.4) 241 (2.2) 238 (2.3) 234 (2.4) 234 (2.6) 238 (2.4) 244 (2.0) 239 (1.9) 247 (1.6)
Hispanic [3]   (†) 232 (3.0) 237 (2.0) 240 (2.0) 240 (3.5) 238 (2.3) 239 (3.5) 235 (1.9) 238 (2.9) 244 (2.9) 242 (1.6) 241 (2.1) 242 (1.5)
                                                       
Parents' highest level                                                      
of education                                                      
Did not finish high school   (†) (†) 239 (1.1) 240 (1.2) 246 (2.1) 241 (1.8) 239 (2.6) 237 (2.4) 239 (2.8) 238 (3.4) 240 (2.7) 238 (2.3) 239 (1.9)
Graduated high school   (†) (†) 253 (0.9) 253 (0.8) 253 (1.2) 251 (0.9) 252 (1.7) 251 (1.4) 251 (1.5) 251 (1.8) 251 (1.6) 249 (1.1) 251 (1.1)
Some education after                                                      
high school   (†) (†) 268 (1.0) 266 (1.1) 265 (1.7) 267 (1.7) 265 (2.7) 266 (1.9) 268 (2.3) 269 (2.4) 264 (2.0) 261 (1.4) 265 (1.1)
Graduated college   (†) (†) 273 (0.9) 268 (0.9) 265 (1.6) 267 (1.1) 271 (1.5) 269 (1.2) 269 (1.4) 270 (1.2) 270 (1.0) 266 (1.2) 270 (1.2)
                                                       
Region                                                      
Northeast   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 265 (2.0) 264 (2.8) 264 (1.8)
Midwest   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 260 (2.1) 259 (1.8) 262 (1.9)
South   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 257 (1.8) 254 (1.6) 261 (1.4)
West   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 255 (2.2) 252 (2.0) 253 (1.7)
                                                       
17-year-olds                                                      
All students 285   (1.2) 286 (0.8) 285 (1.2) 289 (0.8) 290 (1.0) 290 (1.1) 290 (1.1) 288 (1.3) 288 (1.1) 288 (1.3) 285 (1.2) 283 (1.1) 286 (0.9)
Sex                                                      
Male 279   (1.2) 280 (1.0) 282 (1.3) 284 (0.8) 286 (1.5) 284 (1.6) 284 (1.6) 282 (2.2) 281 (1.3) 281 (1.6) 278 (1.5) 276 (1.4) 280 (1.1)
Female 291   (1.3) 291 (1.0) 289 (1.2) 294 (0.9) 294 (1.5) 296 (1.2) 296 (1.1) 295 (1.5) 295 (1.2) 295 (1.4) 292 (1.3) 289 (1.2) 291 (1.0)
                                                       
Race/ethnicity                                                      
White 291 2 (1.0) 293 (0.6) 293 (0.9) 295 (0.9) 295 (1.2) 297 (1.2) 297 (1.4) 296 (1.5) 295 (1.2) 295 (1.4) 293 (1.1) 289 (1.2) 295 (1.0)
Black 239 2 (1.7) 241 (2.0) 243 (1.8) 264 (1.2) 274 (2.4) 267 (2.3) 261 (2.1) 266 (3.9) 266 (2.7) 264 (1.7) 264 (2.7) 262 (1.9) 266 (2.4)
Hispanic [3]   (†) 252 (3.6) 261 (2.7) 268 (2.9) 271 (4.3) 275 (3.6) 271 (3.7) 263 (4.9) 265 (4.1) 271 (3.9) 264 (2.9) 267 (2.5) 269 (1.3)
                                                       
Parents' highest level                                                      
of education                                                      
Did not finish high school   (†) (†) 262 (1.5) 269 (1.4) 267 (2.0) 270 (2.8) 271 (3.9) 268 (2.7) 267 (3.2) 265 (3.6) 259 (3.4) 259 (2.7) 266 (2.1)
Graduated high school   (†) (†) 277 (1.0) 281 (0.8) 282 (1.3) 283 (1.4) 280 (1.6) 276 (1.9) 273 (1.7) 274 (2.1) 274 (1.6) 271 (1.4) 274 (1.4)
Some education after                                                      
high school   (†) (†) 295 (1.2) 298 (0.9) 299 (2.2) 295 (1.9) 293 (1.9) 294 (1.6) 295 (2.2) 295 (1.8) 286 (1.9) 285 (1.5) 288 (1.1)
Graduated college   (†) (†) 301 (1.0) 302 (0.9) 300 (1.4) 302 (1.5) 301 (1.7) 300 (1.7) 299 (1.5) 298 (1.3) 298 (1.3) 295 (1.2) 298 (1.1)
                                                       
Region                                                      
Northeast   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 292 (2.5) 287 (1.9) 290 (1.6)
Midwest   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 291 (2.2) 289 (1.8) 290 (2.1)
South   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 279 (2.3) 276 (1.9) 283 (1.5)
West   (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) (†) 282 (2.6) 283 (3.2) 283 (1.8)
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
1 In 2004, two assessments were conducted--one using the same format that was used in previous assessments, and one using a revised assessment format that provides accommodations for students with disabilities and for English language learners. The 2004 data in column 12 are for the format that was used in previous assessment years, while the 2004 data in column 13 are for the revised format. In 2008, only the revised format was used.
2 Data for 1971 include persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
3 Test scores of Hispanics were not tabulated separately.
NOTE: Scale ranges from 0 to 500. Students scoring 150 (or higher) are able to follow brief written directions and carry out simple, discrete reading tasks. Students scoring 200 are able to understand, combine ideas, and make inferences based on short uncomplicated passages about specific or sequentially related information. Students scoring 250 are able to search for specific information, interrelate ideas, and make generalizations about literature, science, and social studies materials. Students scoring 300 are able to find, understand, summarize, and explain relatively complicated literary and informational material. Includes public and private schools. Excludes persons not enrolled in school and students who were unable to be tested due to limited proficiency in English or due to a disability. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity, except where noted. Totals include other racial/ethnic groups not shown separately.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), NAEP 2004 Trends in Academic Progress; and 2008 NAEP Long-Term Trend Reading Assessment, retrieved May 4, 2009, and October 30, 2012, from Long-Term Trend NAEP Data Explorer (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/). (This table was prepared October 2012.)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education