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Reading Achievement

This report presents the national and state results of the NAEP assessment in reading and compares them to results from assessments in 2003 and in the first year data were available, usually 1992. In 2005, nationally representative samples of more than 165,000 fourth-grade and 159,000 eighth-grade students nationwide participated in that assessment.

National Reading Results

Fourth-graders' average score was 1 point higher, and eighth-graders' average score was 1 point lower in 2005 than in 2003 on a 0 to 500 point scale. Average scores in 2005 were 2 points higher than in the first assessment year, 1992, at both grades 4 and 8.

Between 1992 and 2005, there was no significant change in the percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above Basic, but the percentage performing at or above Proficient increased during this time. The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above Basic was higher in 2005 (73 percent) than in 1992 (69 percent), but there was no significant change in the percentage scoring at or above Proficient between these same years.

Figure 1. Average reading scores at grade 4 and grade 8: 1992-2005


Figure 1. Average reading scores at grade 4 and grade 8: 1992-2005

Significantly different from 2005.Significantly different from 2005.
NOTE: Data were not collected at grade 8 in 2000.
SOURCE: Figure 1 in Perie, M., Grigg, W., and Donahue, P. (2005). The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2005 (NCES 2006-451). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Reading Results for the States

Examining the short-term trends between 2003 and 2005, when all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense (DoD) schools were assessed, shows average scores for students at grade 4 increased in 7 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 2 states. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 3 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 2 states.

At grade 8, no state had a higher average score in 2005 than in 2003, and 7 states had lower scores. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 1 state and decreased in 6 states.

Turning to the longer trend at grade 4, there were 42 states and jurisdictions that participated in both 1992 and 2005. The District of Columbia and 19 states had higher average scores, and 3 states had lower average scores, in 2005 than in 1992. Over the same period, the percentage of students at or above Basic increased in 15 states and decreased in 3 states.

At grade 8, the first state assessment was given in 1998 in 38 states and jurisdictions. Three states had higher average scores in 2005 compared to 1998, and 8 states had lower average scores. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 3 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 11 states.

Figure 2. Average reading scale scores and percentage of students within each achievement level, grade 4 public schools: by state, 2005


Figure 2. Average reading scale scores and percentage of students within each achievement level, grade 4 public schools: by state, 2005

1Department of Defense Education Activity.
NOTE: The NAEP reading scale ranges from 0 to 500. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. The shaded bars are graphed using unrounded numbers.
SOURCE: Figure 11 in Perie, M., Grigg, W., and Donahue, P. (2005).The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2005(NCES 2006-451). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Figure 3. Average reading scale scores and percentage of students within each achievement level, grade 8 public schools: by state, 2005


Figure 3. Average reading scale scores and percentage of students within each achievement level, grade 8 public schools: by state, 2005

1Department of Defense Education Activity.
NOTE: The NAEP reading scale ranges from 0 to 500. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. The shaded bars are graphed using unrounded numbers.
SOURCE: Figure 12 in Perie, M., Grigg, W., and Donahue, P. (2005).The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2005(NCES 2006-451). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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