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The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2005

October 2005

Authors: Marianne Perie, Wendy S. Grigg, and Patricia L. Donahue

PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (831K PDF)


Executive Summary

National Reading Results
Reading Results for Student Groups at Grade 4
Reading Results for Student Groups at Grade 8
Reading Results for the States

This report presents the national and state results of the NAEP assessment in reading and compares them to results from assessments in 2003 and in the first year data were available, usually 1992. In 2005, nationally representative samples of more than 165,000 fourth-grade and 159,000 eighth-grade students nationwide participated in that assessment.

Line graph of average Reading scores for 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005, respectively: for grade 4 in 1992, 1994,  and 1998 scores were 217, 214*, 217, and 217* without accommodations and in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005 scores were 215*, 213*, 219, 218* and 219 with accommodations; for grade 8 in 1992, 1994, and 1998 scores were 260*, 260* and 264 without accommodations and in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005 scores were 263, 264*, 263* and 262 with accommodations.

* Significantly different from 2005.
NOTE: Data were not collected at grade 8 in 2000.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1992–2005 Reading Assessments.

National Reading Results

Fourth-graders’ average score was 1 point higher, and eighth-graders’ average score was 1 point lower in 2005 than in 2003 on a 0 to 500 point scale. Average scores in 2005 were 2 points higher than in the first assessment year, 1992, at both grades 4 and 8.

Average reading scores were 2 points higher in 2005 compared to 1992 at both grades 4 and 8.

Between 1992 and 2005, there was no significant change in the percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above Basic, but the percentage performing at or above Proficient increased during this time. The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above Basic was higher in 2005 (73 percent) than in 1992 (69 percent), but there was no significant change in the percentage scoring at or above Proficient between these same years.

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Reading Results for Student Groups at Grade 4

White students scored higher on average in reading than their Black and Hispanic peers. The scores for all three racial/ethnic groups, as well as Asian/Pacific Islanders, increased between 1992 and 2005.
Looking at the short-term trend, Black and Hispanic students each scored higher on average in 2005 than in 2003. The White – Black and White – Hispanic score gaps narrowed during this same time.

In 2005, students who were eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch and those who were not eligible had higher average scores than in 1998. In the short term, students who were eligible showed a 2-point increase from 2003 to 2005.

In 2005, female students scored higher on average than their male counterparts. Male students’ average scores increased by 3 points from 1992 to 2005.

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Reading Results for Student Groups at Grade 8

White, Black, and Hispanic students scored higher, on average, in 2005 than in 1992. The White – Hispanic score gap decreased by 2 points between 2003 and 2005.

The average score for students who were not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch decreased by 1 point between 2003 and 2005. The longer trend between 1998 and 2005 showed no statistically significant changes regardless of free-lunch eligibility.

Between 1992 and 2005, average scores increased for White, Black, and Hispanic students at grades 4 and 8.

Both male and female students’ average scores showed decreases between 2003 and 2005. In the longer term, the average score for male students was 3 points higher in 2005 than in 1992.

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Reading Results for the States

Examining the short-term trends between 2003 and 2005, when all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense (DoD) schools were assessed, shows average scores for students at grade 4 increased in 7 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 2 states. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 3 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 2 states.

At grade 8, no state had a higher average score in 2005 than in 2003, and 7 states had lower scores. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 1 state and decreased in 6 states.

Turning to the longer trend at grade 4, there were 42 states and jurisdictions that participated in both 1992 and 2005. The District of Columbia and 19 states had higher average scores, and 3 states had lower average scores, in 2005 than in 1992. Over the same period, the percentage of students at or above Basic increased in 15 states and decreased in 3 states.

At grade 8, the first state assessment was given in 1998 in 38 states and jurisdictions. Three states had higher average scores in 2005 compared to 1998, and 8 states had lower average scores. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 3 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 11 states.

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PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (831K PDF)

NCES 2006-451 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
Perie, M., Grigg, W.S., and Donahue, P.L. (2005). The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2005
(NCES 2006–451). U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences,
National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Last updated 07 October 2005 (HM)

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