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

2.2. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics achievement


A larger proportion of public school students in rural areas in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades in 2005 scored at or above the Proficient level in mathematics than their peers in cities. However, at all three grade levels, smaller percentages of rural public school students scored at this achievement level than did their suburban peers.

Nationwide, some 35 percent of 4th-grade public school students scored at or above the Proficient level on the 2005 NAEP mathematics assessment (table 2.2). The percentage of such 4th-graders scoring at this achievement level in rural areas (36 percent) was larger than in cities (29 percent), but was smaller than in suburban areas (41 percent). No measurable difference was detected between the percentages of 4th-graders in rural areas and towns achieving at this level. Within rural locales, higher percentages of public school 4th-graders in fringe rural areas scored at or above the Proficient level (38 percent) than in distant rural areas (35 percent) or remote rural areas (32 percent).

The percentages of 8th-grade public school students scoring at or above the Proficient level in mathematics followed a similar pattern. Nationally, 29 percent of such 8th-graders scored at this level. The percentage of 8th-graders reaching the Proficient level or above in rural areas (29 percent) was larger than in both towns (26 percent) and cities (23 percent), but was smaller than in suburban areas (33 percent). Within rural locales, a higher percentage of public school 8th-graders in fringe rural areas scored at this achievement level (31 percent) than in distant rural areas (27 percent) or remote rural areas (26 percent).

The proportion of 12th-grade public school students in rural areas scoring at or above the Proficient level in mathematics (21 percent) was greater than in cities (18 percent), but smaller than in suburban areas (25 percent). No difference was detected between the percentages of such 12th-graders in rural areas and towns achieving this level or among the percentages of 12th-graders scoring at this level in the three different rural locales.


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