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Status of Education in Rural America
NCES 2007-040
June 2007

2.1. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading achievement


The proportion of public school students in rural areas in the 4th and 8th grades that read at or above the Proficient level in 2005 was larger than in cities and towns, but smaller than in suburban areas.

Nationwide, some 30 percent of 4th-grade public school students scored at or above the Proficient level on the 2005 NAEP reading assessment (table 2.1). The percentage of such 4th-graders in rural areas scoring at this achievement level (31 percent) was larger than in towns (28 percent) and cities (24 percent), but smaller than in suburban areas (34 percent). Within rural locales, a higher percentage of such 4th-graders in fringe rural areas scored at or above the Proficient level (34 percent) than in distant rural areas (30 percent) or remote rural areas (27 percent).

The pattern for 8th-grade public school students who scored at or above Proficient in reading was similar to that for 4th-graders, with 29 percent of such 8th-graders in the United States scoring at this level overall. The percentage of 8th-graders in rural areas scoring at or above the Proficient level (30 percent) was larger than in towns (27 percent) and cities (23 percent), but smaller than in suburban areas (34 percent). Additionally, a higher percentage of public school 8th-graders in fringe rural areas scored at or above the Proficient level (31 percent) than in remote rural areas (29 percent).

Across the nation, 34 percent of 12th-grade public school students scored at or above Proficient in reading. A lower percentage of such 12th-graders scored at this level in rural areas (33 percent) than in suburbs (37 percent). There were no measurable differences between the percentages of public school 12th-graders achieving at this level in rural areas and in towns and cities, or between the percentages of such 12th-graders scoring at this level in each of the three rural locales. Many of the apparent differences between these groups were not statistically significant due to large standard errors.


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