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The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2011

November 2011

Author: National Center for Education Statistics

PDF Download The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2011 PDF for viewing and printing (8718K PDF)


Cover image of The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2011 report.

Executive Summary

Both fourth- and eighth-graders score higher in 2011 than in previous assessment years

Highest percentages to date of fourth- and eighth-graders performing at or above the Proficient level

Examples of knowledge and skills demonstrated by students performing at each achievement level

Scores in 18 states and jurisdictions higher than in 2009 at grade 4 or 8 and lower in 2 states

Score gaps narrow in some states

Nationally representative samples of 209,000 fourth-graders and 175,200 eighth-graders participated in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics. At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure what they know and can do across five mathematics content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra.

Both fourth- and eighth-graders score higher in 2011 than in previous assessment years

At grade 4, the average mathematics score in 2011 was 1 point higher than in 2009, and 28 points higher than in 1990.

  • Scores were higher in 2011 than in 2009 for White, Black, and Hispanic students but did not change significantly for Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native students. There were no significant changes in the White – Black or White – Hispanic score gaps from 2009 to 2011.
  • Scores were higher in 2011 than in 2009 for both male and female students.

At grade 8, the average mathematics score in 2011 was 1 point higher than in 2009, and 21 points higher than in 1990.

  • The average score for Hispanic students was higher in 2011 than in 2009, and the White – Hispanic score gap was smaller than in 2009. There were no other significant changes from 2009 to 2011 in the scores for other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Female students scored higher in 2011 than in 2009, but the score for male students was not significantly different from the score in 2009.

Trend in fourth- and eighth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores

Image of graphic showing the grade 4 average mathematic scores for 1990, 1992, 1996 without accommodations, and 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 with 
accommodations, respectively: scores were 213*, 220*, 224*, 224*, 226*, 235*, 238*, 240*, 240*, and 241.

Image of graphic showing the grade 8 average mathematic scores for 1990, 1992, 1996 without accommodations, and 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 with 
accommodations, respectively: scores were 263*, 268*, 272*, 270*, 273*, 278*, 279*, 281*, 283*, and 284.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
See complete data for grade 4 and grade 8.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1990–2011 Mathematics Assessments.

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Highest percentages to date of fourth- and eighth-graders performing at or above the Proficient level

At grade 4, the percentages of students performing at or above the Proficient level and at Advanced were higher in 2011 than in any of the previous assessment years. The percentage of students at or above Basic did not change significantly from 2009 to 2011. Eighty-two percent of students had at least a basic knowledge of fourth-grade mathematics in 2011 compared to 50 percent of students in 1990.

Trend in fourth-grade NAEP mathematics achievement-level results

Image of graphic showing trend in fourth-grade NAEP mathematics achievement-level results.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
See complete data for grade 4.

At grade 8, the percentage of students at or above Proficient in 2011 was higher than in earlier assessment years. The percentages at or above Basic and at Advanced in 2011 were not significantly different from 2009 but were higher than in 1990. Seventy-three percent of students had at least a basic knowledge of eighth-grade mathematics in 2011 compared to 52 percent of students in 1990.

Trend in eighth-grade NAEP mathematics achievement-level results

Image of graphic showing trend in eighth-grade NAEP mathematics achievement-level results.

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2011.
See complete data for grade 8.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1990–2011 Mathematics Assessments.

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Examples of knowledge and skills demonstrated by students performing at each achievement level


Basic
  • Compute the difference of two 4-digit numbers
    (grade 4).
  • Identify congruent angles in a figure
    (grade 8).
Proficient
  • Draw a line segment of a given length
    (grade 4).
  • Use an algebraic model to estimate height
    (grade 8).
Advanced
  • Solve a story problem involving time
    (grade 4).
  • Compare similar parallelograms
    (grade 8).

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Scores in 18 states and jurisdictions higher than in 2009 at grade 4 or 8 and lower in 2 states


Changes in average mathematics scores for public school students from 2009 to 2011
  Both grades Grade 4 only Grade 8 only
Higher District of Columbia
Hawaii
New Mexico
Rhode Island
Alabama
Arizona
Georgia
Maryland
Wyoming
Arkansas
Colorado
Maine
Mississippi
Nevada
Ohio
Oklahoma
Texas
West Virginia
Lower  No states New York Missouri
Scores were not significantly different from 2009 at either grade in 32 states and jurisdictions.

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Score gaps narrow in some states


At grade 4

White – Black score gaps narrowed from 1992 to 2011 in 16 of 35 participating states with samples large enough to report results for Black students.

The states were Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

White – Hispanic score gaps narrowed from 1992 to 2011 in 4 of 21 participating states with samples large enough to report results for Hispanic students.

These states were Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

Racial/ethnic gaps did not widen from 1992 to 2011 in any of the states that participated in both years.

At grade 8

Score gaps between higher- and lower-income students narrowed from 2003 to 2011 in four states.

These states were Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York

Score gaps between higher- and lower-
income students widened
 from 2003 to 2011 in one jurisdiction.

This jurisdiction was the District of Columbia.


Note: In NAEP, lower-income students are students identified as eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Higher-income students are not eligible for NSLP.

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Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

PDF The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2011 report PDF (8718K PDF)

NCES 2012-458  Ordering information


Suggested Citation
National Center for Education Statistics (2011). The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2011  (NCES 2012–458). 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 2011 Mathematics assessment on the Nation's Report Card website.

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Last updated 27 October 2011 (RH)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education