The average grade 4 reading score in 2011 was not measurably different from that in 2009. The average grade 8 score, however, was 1 point higher in 2011 than in 2009.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) most recently assessed 4th- and 8th-grade studentsí reading skills in 2011, and 12th-grade students were most recently assessed in 2009. In 2011, the average reading score for 4th-grade students (221) was not measurably different from the 2009 score (221), but it was higher than the scores on assessments between 1992 (217) and 2005 (219) (see table A-23-1). For 8th-grade students, the average reading score in 2011 (265) was 1 point higher than in 2009 (264) and 5 points higher than in 1992 (260), but was not always measurably different from scores on assessments given in other years. In 2009, the average reading score for 12th-grade students (288) was 2 points higher than in 2005 (286) but 4 points lower than in 1992 (292).
In 2011, the percentages of 4th-grade students performing at or above the Basic (67 percent), at or above the Proficient (34 percent), and at the Advanced (8 percent) achievement levels in reading showed no measurable change from 2009, but were higher than in 1992. Among 8th-grade students, the percentage performing at or above Basic in 2011 (76 percent) was not measurably different from that in 2009 (75 percent) but was higher than the percentage in 1992 (69 percent). A higher percentage of 8th-grade students performed at or above Proficient in 2011 (34 percent) than in 2009 (32 percent) and 1992 (29 percent). The percentage at the Advanced level in 2011 (3.4 percent) was half a percentage point higher than the percentage performing at Advanced in 2009 (2.8 percent) but was not measurably different from the percentage in 1992 (2.9 percent). Among 12th-grade students, the percentage performing at or above Basic (74 percent) in 2009 was not significantly different from the percentage in 2005 (73 percent), but was lower than the percentage in 1992 (80 percent). The percentage at or above Proficient was higher in 2009 (38 percent) than in 2005 (35 percent) but not significantly different from the percentage in 1992 (40 percent). There was no measurable change in the percentage of 12th-graders performing at Advanced from 2005 to 2009 (5 percent each), although the 2009 percentage was 1 percentage point higher than that in 1992.
At grade 4, the average reading scores in 2011 for White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students were not measurably different from their scores in 2009 (see table A-23-2). The 2011 grade 4 reading scores for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students were, however, higher than their scores in 1992. At grade 8, average reading scores for White, Black, and Hispanic students were higher in 2011 than their scores in any of the previous assessment years. At grade 12, average scores showed no measurable differences from 1992 to 2009 for White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students.
NAEP results also permit state-level comparisons of the reading abilities of 4th- and 8th-grade students in public schools. While there was no measurable change from 2009 to 2011 in the overall average score for 4th-grade public school students in the nation, average scores were higher in 2011 than in 2009 in Alabama, Hawaii, Maryland, and Massachusetts, and scores were lower in 2011 in Missouri and South Dakota (see table A-23-3). At grade 8, although the average score for public school students in the nation was 2 points higher in 2011 than in 2009, only ten states had higher scores in 2011 than in 2009. These states were Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. In the remaining states and the District of Columbia, scores showed no measurable change.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores range from 0 to 500. The 12th-grade NAEP reading assessment was not administered in 2003, 2007, or 2011. The achievement levels define what students should know and be able to do: Basic indicates partial mastery of fundamental skills, Proficient indicates demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, and Advanced indicates superior performance. Testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, small group testing) for children with disabilities and English language learners were not permitted in 1992. For more information on NAEP, see Appendix B – Guide to Sources. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. For more information on race/ethnicity, see Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
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