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How are American students performing in mathematics?

In 2011, the average National Assessment of Eductional Progress (NAEP) mathematics scores for 4th-grade and 8th-grade students were higher than their average scores in all previous assessment years. From 1990 to 2011, the average 4th-grade NAEP mathematics score increased by 28 points, from 213 to 241. During that same period, the average 8th-grade score increased by 21 points, from 263 to 284. Twelfth-graders were most recently assessed in 2009; in that year, the average 12th-grade mathematics score was 3 points higher than in 2005, the first year that the revised assessment was administered.

Average mathematics scale scores of 4th- and 8th-grade students: Selected years, 1990-2011

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: At grades 4 and 8, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics scale ranges from 0 to 500. Testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, small group testing) for children with disabilities and English language learners were not permitted in 1990 and 1992; students were tested with and without accommodations in 1996.

In 2011, some 82 percent of 4th-grade students performed at or above the Basic achievement level, 40 percent performed at or above the Proficient level, and 7 percent performed at the Advanced level. While the percentage of students at or above the Basic level in 2011 was not measurably different from that in 2009 or 2007 (both 82 percent), it was higher than the percentage in 1990 (50 percent). Higher percentages of 4th-grade students performed at or above Proficient and at Advanced in 2011 than in all previous assessment years. In 2011, some 73 percent of 8th-grade students performed at or above Basic, 35 percent performed at or above Proficient, and 8 percent performed at Advanced. The percentage of 8th-grade students performing at or above Proficient increased by 1 percentage point from 2009 to 2011. The percentages at or above Basic and at Advanced in 2011 showed no measurable change from 2009, but were higher than the percentages in all assessment years prior to 2009. The percentages of 12th-grade students performing at or above Basic (64 percent) and at or above Proficient (26 percent) were each 3 percentage points higher in 2009 than in 2005. The percentages performing at the Advanced level in 2005 and 2009 were not measurably different (2 and 3 percent, respectively).

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). The Condition of Education 2013 (NCES 2013-037), Mathematics Performance.

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education