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Reading Achievement

Students demonstrated their reading comprehension skills by responding to questions about various types of reading passages on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment. Reading abilities were assessed in the contexts of literary experience, gaining information, and performing a task. A nationally representative sample of more than 350,000 students at grades 4 and 8 participated in the 2007 reading assessment. Comparing these results to results from previous years shows the progress fourth- and eighth-graders are making in the nation.

4th-Grade National Reading Results

NAEP reading results are reported on a 0-500 scale. Results from the 2007 NAEP reading assessment revealed that fourth-gradersí reading comprehension skills have risen compared to15 years ago. As shown in figure 1, the average score of 221 in 2007 was higher than in any of the previous assessment years. Fourth-graders in 2007 scored 2 points higher than in 2005 and 4 points higher than in 1992.

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


Trend in fourth-grade NAEP reading average scores

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
SOURCE: Figure 1 in Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Donahue, P. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Reading 2007 (NCES 2007-496). 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=2007496.

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

Reading performance improved for four of the five racial/ethnic groups over the last 15 years. White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students all showed higher average reading scores in comparison to 2005 and 1992 (figure 2). Since 1992, Black and Asian/Pacific Islander students made greater gains (increases of 11 and 16 points, respectively) than White students (a gain of 6 points1). There was no significant change in the average reading score for American Indian/Alaska Native students compared to all previous assessment years for which data were available.

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


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

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
NOTE: Sample sizes were insufficient to permit reliable estimates for American Indian/Alaska Native fourth-graders in 1992 and 1998. 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 Donahue, P. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Reading 2007 (NCES 2007-496). 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=2007496.

8th-Grade National Reading Results

The average eighth-grade reading score in 2007 was higher than in 2005 (figure 3). The score was also higher than the first reading assessment in 1992.

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


Trend in eighth-grade NAEP reading average scores

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
SOURCE: Figure 11 in Lee, J., Grigg, W., and Donahue, P. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Reading 2007 (NCES 2007-496). 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=2007496.

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

The overall gains for eighth-graders were not consistent across all racial/ethnic groups. Scores for White and Black students in 2007 were higher than in both 2005 and 1992 (figure 4). The core for Hispanic students has not changed significantly in comparison to 2005, but was higher than in 1992. Over the last 15 years, scores for Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native students showed no significant change in comparison to all previous assessment years in which results were available.

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


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

* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2007.
NOTE: Sample sizes were insufficient to permit reliable estimates for American Indian/Alaska Native eighth-graders in 1992 and 1998. 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 Donahue, P. (2007). The Nationís Report Card: Reading 2007 (NCES 2007-496). 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=2007496.


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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