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Mathematics Achievement

The 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) evaluated studentsí understanding of mathematics concepts and their ability to apply mathematics to everyday situations. A nationally representative sample of more than 350,000 students at grades 4 and 8 participated in the 2007 mathematics assessment. Comparing these results to results from previous years shows the progress fourth- and eighth-graders are making in the nation.

4th-Grade National Mathematics Results

NAEP mathematics results are reported on a 0-500 scale. Results from the 2007 NAEP mathematics assessment revealed that fourth-gradersí mathematical skills have improved over the last 17 years. Fourth-graders in 2007 scored 2 points higher than in 2005 and 27 points higher than in 1990 (figure 1).

Figure 1. Trend in fourth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores


Trend in fourth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
SOURCE: SOURCE: Figure 1 in Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Mathematics 2007 (NCES 2007-494). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007494.

4th-Grade National Mathematics Results, by Race/Ethnicity

Fourth-grade White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students all showed higher average mathematics scores in 2007 than in any of the previous assessments (figure 2). The 35-point1 gain for Black students from 1990 to 2007 was greater than the gains for White (28 points) and Hispanic students (27 points). American Indian/Alaska Native students showed no significant score change since 2005.

Figure 2. Trends in fourth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores, by race/ethnicity


Trends in fourth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores, by race/ethnicity

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
NOTE: Special analysis raised concerns about the accuracy and precision of national grade 4 Asian/Pacific Islander results in 2000. As a result, they are omitted from this figure. Sample sizes were insufficient to permit reliable estimates for American Indian/Alaska Native fourth-graders in 1990, 1992, and 1996 (accommodations not permitted sample). Black includes African American, Hispanic includes Latino, and Pacific Islander includes Native Hawaiian. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin.
SOURCE: Figure 4 in Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Mathematics 2007 (NCES 2007-494). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007494.

8th-Grade National Mathematics Results

Similar to the results for grade 4, the mathematical ability of eighth-graders also continued an upward trend in 2007. The average score in 2007 was higher than the score in any previous assessment. Students scored 3 points higher in 2007 than in 2005 and 19 points higher than in 19901 (figure 3).

Figure 3. Trend in eighth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores


Trend in eighth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
SOURCE: Figure 11 in Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Mathematics 2007 (NCES 2007-494). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007494.

8th-Grade National Mathematics Results, by Race/Ethnicity

The overall improved performance of eighth-graders was not reflected in all of the five student racial/ethnic groups. White, Black, and Hispanic students showed higher average mathematics scores in 2007 than in all previous assessment years. The score for Asian/Pacific Islander students showed no significant change in comparison to 2005, but was higher than in 1990. No significant change in the score for American Indian/Alaska Native students was seen when compared to previous assessment years (figure 4).

Figure 4. Trends in eighth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores, by race/ethnicity


Trends in eighth-grade NAEP mathematics average scores, by race/ethnicity

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
NOTE: Special analysis raised concerns about the accuracy and precision of national grade 8 Asian/Pacific Islander results in 1996. As a result, they are omitted from this figure. Sample sizes were insufficient to permit reliable estimates for American Indian/Alaska Native eighth-graders in 1990, 1992, and 1996. Black includes African American, Hispanic includes Latino, and Pacific Islander includes Native Hawaiian. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin.
SOURCE: Figure 14 in Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Mathematics 2007 (NCES 2007-494). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007494.


1 The score-point gain is based on the difference of the unrounded scores as opposed to the rounded scores shown in the figure.

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