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The NAEP Economics Achievement Levels for Grade 12

The definitions of the Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement levels for grade 12 economics are presented in the table that follows.

The achievement levels are cumulative, therefore, students performing at the Proficient level also display the competencies associated with the Basic level, and students at the Advanced level also demonstrate the skills and knowledge associated with both the Basic and the Proficient levels. For each achievement level listed, the scale score that corresponds to the beginning of that level is shown in parentheses.

Find general information about achievement levels and the detailed descriptions for other NAEP subjects.

Grade 12


Students performing at the Basic level should be able to identify, recall, and recognize economic concepts such as scarcity, choices, price, supply and demand, competition, inflation, unemployment, imports and exports, and trade. They should be able to describe and explain the relationship between economic concepts. Students at the Basic level should be able to use data and information to identify an economic outcome.


At the Proficient level, students should be able to identify, recall, and recognize economic concepts and terms such as costs and benefits in decision making, responses to incentives, the mechanics of monetary and fiscal policy, trade barriers, exchange rates, and factors that influence economic growth. They should be able to demonstrate their understanding of economic ideas and terms by explaining the relationship between a real-world economic situation and its underlying economic concepts. Students at the Proficient level should be able to use economic data, information, and concepts to solve problems, evaluate issues, and interpret situations.


Students at the Advanced level should be able to identify, recall, and recognize economic terms such as real interest rate, elasticity, property rights, and comparative advantage and to identify, recall, and recognize concepts such as the present and future values of money, market structure, and real gross domestic product in the long run. They should be able to analyze economic data and information and to apply the economic concepts to real-world situations. Students at the Advanced level should be able to analyze data, determine trends, and make economic projections. They should be able to reason economically by using a variety of tools including charts and graphs, computations, and written explanations.


Last updated 18 April 2013 (JM)
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education