Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Table 151. Average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing scale score of 8th- and 12th-graders, standard deviation, and percentage of students attaining writing achievement levels, by selected student and school characteristics and percentile: 2011
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected student or school characteristic 8th-graders 12th-graders
Total, all students Eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch Total, all students Eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch
Eligible Not eligible Unknown Eligible Not eligible Unknown
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  Average writing scale score1
All students 150 (0.7) 134 (0.6) 161 (0.8) 163 (2.2) 150 (0.5) 133 (0.7) 157 (0.6) 167 (1.7)
Sex                                
Male 140 (0.7) 125 (0.7) 151 (0.9) 154 (2.6) 143 (0.6) 126 (0.8) 150 (0.6) 162 (1.9)
Female 160 (0.7) 144 (0.6) 171 (0.8) 171 (2.5) 157 (0.6) 140 (0.7) 165 (0.6) 173 (1.9)
                                 
Race/ethnicity                                
White 158 (0.8) 142 (0.8) 163 (0.9) 166 (2.3) 159 (0.7) 144 (1.0) 161 (0.7) 172 (1.6)
Black 132 (1.1) 127 (1.1) 145 (1.4) 140 (4.6) 130 (1.0) 124 (1.1) 140 (1.2) 148 (3.6)
Hispanic 136 (0.7) 130 (0.8) 150 (1.0) 150 (5.4) 134 (0.7) 128 (0.8) 142 (1.0) 149 (3.6)
Asian/Pacific Islander 163 (2.4) 146 (2.8) 171 (2.4) 175 (4.0) 158 (1.6) 146 (2.3) 163 (2.0) 162 (4.9)
Asian 165 (2.0) 148 (2.7) 172 (2.2) 175 (4.0) 158 (1.5) 146 (2.5) 164 (1.7) 162 (5.0)
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 141 (6.3) (†) (†) (†) 144 (6.0) (†) (†) (†)
American Indian/Alaska Native 145 (4.0) 139 (4.3) (†) (†) 145 (3.5) 135 (4.4) 153 (4.4) (†)
Two or more races 155 (1.9) 141 (2.3) 165 (2.5) (†) 158 (2.3) 137 (4.2) 163 (2.8) (†)
                                 
Parents' highest level of education                                
Did not finish high school 133 (1.0) 131 (1.0) 142 (2.0) (†) 129 (0.9) 127 (1.0) 135 (1.6) (†)
Graduated high school 138 (0.8) 131 (0.8) 149 (1.3) 146 (4.4) 138 (0.7) 131 (1.0) 145 (0.9) 153 (3.5)
Some education after high school 150 (0.9) 143 (0.9) 158 (1.2) 155 (3.8) 149 (0.5) 140 (0.9) 155 (0.6) 158 (2.2)
Graduated college 160 (0.8) 141 (0.8) 166 (0.9) 167 (2.3) 160 (0.7) 139 (1.1) 164 (0.7) 173 (1.5)
                                 
Student's attitude and experience                                
Agreed or strongly agreed that "Writing is
     one of my favorite activities"
157 (0.8) 141 (0.8) 170 (0.9) 172 (2.5) 157 (0.6) 139 (0.8) 165 (0.6) 175 (2.0)
Uses a computer for writing school assign-
     ments once or twice a week
157 (0.9) 140 (0.7) 168 (1.2) 169 (2.9) 154 (0.6) 136 (0.8) 161 (0.7) 167 (1.4)
                                 
School locale                                
City 144 (1.2) 130 (1.0) 160 (1.4) 164 (4.3) 146 (1.0) 131 (0.8) 156 (1.2) 168 (2.5)
Suburban 155 (1.3) 137 (1.0) 165 (1.3) 164 (4.4) 154 (0.9) 135 (1.1) 160 (0.9) 167 (2.1)
Town 148 (1.1) 137 (1.3) 156 (1.3) 157 (3.8) 149 (2.0) 134 (3.1) 156 (1.8) (†)
Rural 150 (1.4) 137 (1.5) 158 (1.3) 158 (5.3) 149 (1.1) 135 (1.5) 154 (1.0) 164 (5.4)
                                 
Percentile2                                
10th 104 (1.0) 92 (1.1) 119 (1.1) 121 (3.8) 104 (0.9) 90 (0.9) 114 (1.1) 126 (4.6)
25th 127 (0.8) 113 (0.6) 140 (1.0) 142 (2.6) 127 (0.8) 111 (0.9) 136 (0.8) 149 (2.3)
50th 151 (0.8) 135 (0.6) 163 (0.9) 163 (2.6) 152 (0.7) 135 (1.1) 159 (0.8) 170 (2.2)
75th 175 (0.7) 157 (0.8) 184 (1.1) 185 (2.6) 175 (0.6) 156 (0.6) 180 (0.5) 189 (1.7)
90th 194 (0.9) 176 (0.9) 201 (1.4) 203 (3.5) 194 (0.7) 176 (0.8) 198 (0.8) 205 (3.2)
  Standard deviation of the writing scale score3
All students 35 (0.3) 33 (0.3) 32 (0.3) 32 (1.1) 35 (0.3) 33 (0.3) 33 (0.3) 31 (0.9)
  Percent of students attaining writing achievement levels
Achievement level                                
Below Basic4  20 (0.6) 32 (0.8) 10 (0.6) 10 (1.6) 21 (0.6) 36 (0.9) 14 (0.5) 9 (1.3)
At or above Basic 80 (0.6) 68 (0.8) 90 (0.6) 90 (1.6) 79 (0.6) 64 (0.9) 86 (0.5) 91 (1.3)
At or above Basic by race/ethnicity                                
White 87 (0.6) 76 (1.1) 91 (0.6) 94 (1.6) 87 (0.6) 76 (1.2) 88 (0.6) 95 (1.1)
Black 65 (1.7) 59 (1.7) 79 (2.1) 74 (6.4) 61 (1.5) 54 (1.7) 71 (1.9) 82 (3.9)
Hispanic 69 (0.9) 63 (1.1) 82 (1.2) 80 (5.4) 65 (0.9) 59 (1.1) 74 (1.4) 79 (4.7)
Asian/Pacific Islander 88 (2.3) 76 (3.4) 93 (1.8) 96 (2.1) 85 (1.4) 78 (2.7) 89 (1.4) 83 (4.4)
Asian 89 (1.9) 79 (3.0) 94 (1.7) 95 (2.2) 85 (1.4) 78 (2.9) 89 (1.3) 83 (4.4)
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 70 (7.3) (†) (†) (†) 78 (5.0) (†) (†) (†)
American Indian/Alaska Native 78 (4.7) 74 (6.6) (†) (†) 76 (4.3) 66 (7.2) 84 (5.0) (†)
Two or more races 87 (1.7) 79 (3.9) 92 (1.9) (†) 86 (2.7) 70 (7.1) 90 (3.1) (†)
At or above Proficient5 27 (0.7) 12 (0.4) 37 (1.0) 39 (2.9) 27 (0.6) 12 (0.5) 33 (0.7) 46 (2.3)
At Advanced6 3 (0.2) 1 (0.1) 5 (0.4) 5 (1.2) 3 (0.2) 1 (0.1) 4 (0.3) 7 (1.2)
†Not applicable.
‡Reporting standards not met (too few cases for a reliable estimate).
1 Scale ranges from 0 to 300.
2 The percentile represents a specific point on the percentage distribution of all students ranked by their Writing score from low to high. For example, 10 percent of students scored at or below the 10th percentile score, while 90 percent of students scored above it.
3 The standard deviation provides an indication of how much the test scores varied. The lower the standard deviation, the closer the scores were clustered around the average score. About two-thirds of the student scores can be expected to fall within the range of one standard deviation above and one standard deviation below the average score. For example, the average score for all 12th-graders was 150 and the standard deviation was 35. This means that we would expect about two-thirds of the students to have scores between 185 (one standard deviation above the average) and 115 (one standard deviation below). Standard errors also must be taken into account when making comparisons of these ranges.
4 Basic denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.
5 Proficient represents solid academic performance. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter.
6 Advanced signifies superior performance.
NOTE: Writing scores from 2011 cannot be compared with Writing scores from earlier assessment years. The 2011 writing assessment was developed under a new framework and is NAEP’s first computer-based writing assessment. Includes public and private schools. Includes students tested with accommodations (8 percent of all 8th-graders and 7 percent of all 12th-graders); excludes only those students with disabilities and English language learners who were unable to be tested even with accommodations (2 percent of all students at both grades). Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 Writing Assessment, retrieved October 1, 2012, from the Main NAEP Data Explorer (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/). (This table was prepared October 2012.)
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education