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Mathematics Achievement

This report presents the national and state results of the NAEP assessment in mathematics and compares them to results from assessments in 2003 and in the first year data were available, usually 1990. In 2005, nationally representative samples of about 172,000 fourth-grade and 162,000 eighth-grade students nationwide participated in that assessment.

Fourth-graders' average score was 3 points higher, and eighth-graders' average score was 1 point higher in 2005 than in 2003 on a 0 to 500 point scale. The average scores increased since the first assessment year, 1990, by 25 points at grade 4 and by 16 points at grade 8.

Between 1990 and 2005, the percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above Basic increased by 30 percentage points, from 50 to 80 percent, and the percentage performing at or above Proficient increased from 13 to 36 percent. The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above Basic was 17 percentage points higher in 2005 (69 percent) than in 1990 (52 percent), and the percentage performing at or above Proficient increased from 15 to 30 percent.

Figure 1. Average mathematics scores at grade 4 and grade 8: 1990-2005


Figure 1. Average mathematics scores at grade 4 and grade 8: 1990-2005

Significantly different from 2005.Significantly different from 2005.
SOURCE: Figure 1 in Perie, M., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2005). The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2005 (NCES 2006-453). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Mathematics Results for Student Groups

NAEP reports data on student race/ethnicity based on information obtained from school rosters. Figures 2 and 3 show results for five mutually exclusive categories: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native. Black includes African American, Hispanic includes Latino, and Pacific Islander includes Native Hawaiian. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin unless specified.

At grade 4, the average scores for all three racial/ethnic groups were higher in 2005 than in any previous assessment year. White fourth-graders scored higher on average in mathematics than their Black and Hispanic peers in 2005. Higher percentages of White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/ Pacific Islander students scored at or above Basic in 2005 than in any previous assessment year.

The average scores for White, Black, and Hispanic eighth-graders were higher in 2005 than in any previous assessment year. Higher percentages of Black and Hispanic students scored at or above Basic than in any previous assessment year at grade 8.

Figure 2. Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race/ethnicity, grade 4: various years, 1990-2005


Figure 2. Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race/ethnicity, grade 4: various years, 1990-2005
Figure 2. Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race/ethnicity, grade 4: various years, 1990-2005

Significantly different from 2005.Significantly different from 2005.
1 Sample size was insufficient to permit reliable estimates for Asian/ Pacific Islander students in 1990.
Special analyses 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 report.
2 Sample sizes were insufficient to permit reliable estimates for American Indian/Alaska Native students in 1990, 1992, 1996, and 2000.
SOURCE: Figure 2 in Perie, M., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2005). The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2005 (NCES 2006-453). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Figure 3. Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race/ethnicity, grade 8: various years, 1990-2005


Figure 3. Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race/ethnicity, grade 8: various years, 1990-2005
Figure 3. Average scale scores and achievement-level results in mathematics, by race/ethnicity, grade 8: various years, 1990-2005

Significantly different from 2005.Significantly different from 2005.
1 Sample size was insufficient to permit reliable estimates for Asian/Pacific Islander students in 1990. Special analyses 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 report.
2 Sample sizes were insufficient to permit reliable estimates for American Indian/Alaska Native students in 1990, 1992, 1996, and 2000.
SOURCE: Figure 3 in Perie, M., Grigg, W., and Dion, G. (2005). The Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2005 (NCES 2006-453). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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