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The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2007

September 2007

Authors: Jihyun Lee, Wendy S. Grigg, and Patricia L. Donahue

Download sections of the report (or the complete report) in a PDF file for viewing and printing.


Image of the NAEP 2007 Reading report cover

Executive Summary

White, Black, and Hispanic students in both grades make gains
Female students outperform males

Reading skills are improving for both fourth- and eighth-graders, particularly among lower- and middle-performing students. Many student groups made gains in both grades; however, these gains were not always accompanied by significant closing of racial/ethnic and gender gaps.

Students demonstrated their reading comprehension skills by responding to questions about various types of reading passages on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment. Reading abilities were assessed in the contexts of literary experience, gaining information, and performing a task.

A nationally representative sample of more than 350,000 students at grades 4 and 8 participated in the 2007 reading assessment. Comparing these results to results from previous years shows the progress fourth- and eighth-graders are making both in the nation and in individual states.

Fourth-graders scored higher in 2007 than in all the previous assessment years. The average reading score was up 2 points since 2005 and 4 points compared to the first assessment 15 years ago. Higher percentages of students were performing at or above the Basic and Proficient achievement levels in 2007 than in previous years.

The average reading score for eighth-graders was up 1 point since 2005 and 3 points since 1992; however, the trend of increasing scores was not consistent over all assessment years. In comparison to both 1992 and 2005, the percentage of students performing at or above the Basic level increased, but there was no significant change in the percentage of students at or above the Proficient level.

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White, Black, and Hispanic students in both grades make gains

As indicated on the chart below, White, Black, and Hispanic students all scored higher in 2007 than in the first assessment 15 years ago at both grades 4 and 8. However, improvements for minority students did not always result in the narrowing of the achievement gaps with White students. Only the White – Black gap at grade 4 was smaller in comparison to the gaps in 2005 and 1992.

 Student groups Grade 4 Grade 8
Since
1992
Since
2005
Since
1992
Since
2005
Overall
Up
Up
Up
Up
White
Up
Up
Up
Up
Black
Up
Up
Up
Up
Hispanic
Up
Up
Up
No significant difference/gap
Asian/Pacific
Islander
Up
Up
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
American Indian/
Alaska Native
Reporting standards not met.
No significant difference/gap
Reporting standards not met.
No significant difference/gap
Male – Female gap
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
White – Black gap
Down
Down
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
White – Hispanic gap
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap
No significant difference/gap

Up Indicates the score was higher or the gap increased in 2007.
Down Indicates the score was lower or the gap decreased in 2007.
No significant difference/gap Indicates there was no significant change in the score or the gap in 2007.
Reporting standards not met. Sample size was insufficient to permit a reliable estimate. Reporting standards not met. Sample size was insufficient to permit a reliable estimate.

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Female students outperform males

Patterns in improvement for male and female students varied by grade. Scores for both male and female students increased since 2005 at grade 4, but not at grade 8. In 2007, female students scored 7 points higher than male students at grade 4 and 10 points higher at grade 8. These gender score gaps were not significantly different from the gaps seen 15 years ago.

 Four states and jurisdictions make gains in reading at both grades

Map of the 2007 NAEP Reading results compared 2005 results that shows 4 states and jurisdictions (District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, and Maryland) improved at both grades, 13 states improved at grade 4 only (Alabama, Alaska, Department of Defense schools, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming), 2 states improved at grade 8 only (Texas and Vermont), 2 states declined at grade 8 (North Dakota and Rhode Island), and 30 states showed no significant change at either grade.

Compared with 2005,

2007 readings scores up in grade 4 and grade 8.

4 states and jurisdictions (District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, and Maryland) improved at both grades,

2007 reading scores up in grade 4 only.

13 states (Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming)  and Department of Defense schools improved at grade 4 only,

2007 reading scores up in grade 8 only.

2 states (Texas and Vermont) improved at grade 8 only,

2007 readings scores declined in grade 8.

2 states declined at grade 8 (North Dakota and Rhode Island), and

2007 readings scores showed no significant change.

30 states showed no significant change at either grade.

Differing patterns emerged when results were examined by the contexts for reading. For example, 5 of the 44 states and jurisdictions that showed no change in overall performance at grade 8 did show a gain in at least one of the three reading contexts.

1Department of Defense Education Activitiy (overseas and domestic schools).

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Download sections of the report (or the complete report) in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

NCES 2007-496 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Donahue, P. (2007). The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2007 (NCES 2007-496). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information, see the results of the 2007 Reading assessment on the Nation's Report Card website.

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Last updated 12 October 2007 (RF)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education