Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Chapter 4: Academic Preparation and Achievement

Indicator 18: Mathematics Achievement

Among 4th-graders and 8th-graders in 2011, and among 12th-graders in 2009, higher percentages of males than females scored at or above Proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics. This pattern was found for White students in all three grades and for Hispanic students in the 4th and 12th grades.

In 2011, some 40 percent of 4th-graders and 35 percent of 8th-graders scored at or above the Proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment. In 2009, the most recent year for which 12th-grade NAEP data were available, 26 percent of 12th-graders scored at or above the Proficient level in mathematics.

In both the 4th and 8th grades, higher percentages of males than females scored at or above Proficient on the mathematics portion of NAEP in 2011. This pattern was also found for White and Hispanic students in the 4th grade and for White students in the 8th grade. For example, 25 percent of 4th-grade Hispanic males scored at or above Proficient , compared with 22 percent of Hispanic females. In contrast, a lower percentage of 8th-grade Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander males (17 percent) than females (28 percent) scored at or above Proficient in mathematics. Among the remaining racial/ethnic groups, the percentages of males and females scoring at or above Proficient did not measurably differ at either grade level.

The percentage of students who scored at or above Proficient varied across racial/ethnic groups. In both the 4th and 8th grades in 2011, higher percentages of Asian students and White students scored at or above Proficient on the mathematics portion than students of other racial/ethnic groups, and Black students had the lowest percentages scoring at or above Proficient. The percentages of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders scoring at or above Proficient were higher than those of Hispanics and American Indians/Alaska Natives in the 4th grade and higher than those of American Indians/Alaska Natives in the 8th grade. For example, 64 percent of Asian 4th-graders scored at or above Proficient , compared with 52 percent of Whites, 34 percent of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, 24 percent of Hispanics, 22 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 17 percent of Blacks. Similarly, among 8th-graders, 58 percent of Asian students scored at or above Proficient , compared with 44 percent of Whites, 22 percent of Native Hawaiians/ Pacific Islanders, 20 percent of Hispanics, 17 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 13 percent of Blacks. Similar patterns were generally observed for both males and females across racial/ethnic groups in 2011. However, in the 4th grade, the percentages of Black females (18 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native females (21 percent) scoring at or above Proficient were not measurably different. In the 8th grade, the percentages of White females (43 percent) and females of two or more races (39 percent) were not measurably different, nor were the percentages for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native females (14 vs. 17 percent); Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native males (17 vs. 18 percent); and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Black males (17 vs. 13 percent).

Overall, higher percentages of students scored at or above Proficient in 2011 than in 2009 in both the 4th grade (40 vs. 39 percent) and 8th grade (35 vs. 34 percent). This pattern was also found for female students at both grade levels. Similarly, among 4th-grade students, percentages were higher in 2011 than in 2009 for Whites and Hispanics overall, White females, and Hispanic males and females. Among 8th-grade students, percentages were higher in 2011 than in 2009 for Hispanics overall (20 vs. 17 percent).

As in the 4th and 8th grades in 2011, a higher percentage of 12th-grade males than females scored at or above Proficient in mathematics (28 vs. 24 percent) in 2009. This pattern was also found for White and Hispanic 12th-graders. For example, 13 percent of Hispanic males scored at or above Proficient, compared with 9 percent of Hispanic females. In 2009, higher percentages of Asian/ Pacific Islander students (52 percent) and White students (33 percent) scored at or above Proficient than students from any other racial/ethnic groups. A higher percentage of Hispanics (11 percent) than Blacks (6 percent) scored at or above Proficient , but the percentage for American Indians/Alaska Natives (12 percent) did not differ measurably from those for either Hispanics or Blacks. The same patterns were observed for both males and females across racial/ethnic groups.

Technical Notes

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) achievement levels define what students should know and be able to do. Basic denotes partial mastery of knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade. Proficient represents solid academic performance. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter. Advanced signifies superior performance. NAEP reports data on student race/ethnicity based on information obtained from school rosters. This indicator presents information on Asians and Pacific Islanders as a combined category for the 2009 findings because the data were collected in a manner that does not permit separate reporting prior to 2011. Since 96 percent of all Asian/Pacific Islander 5- to 24-year-olds are Asian, this combined category substantially reflects the situation for Asians, rather than Pacific Islanders. For more information, please see the introduction to this report.

Top


Figure 18-1 Percentage of students scoring at or above the Proficient level of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessments, by grade, race/ethnicity, and sex: 2011

Table E-18-1 Percentage distribution of students at National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics achievement levels, by grade, sex, and race/ethnicity: Various years, 200511


  
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.