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Reading Literacy: School Poverty Indicator


Proficiency Levels

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Table R4. Percentage distribution of U.S. 15-year-old public school students on PISA reading literacy scale, by proficiency level and percentage of students in enrolled schools eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, based on principals' reports: 2012
Percent of students eligible
for free or reduced-price lunch
Below level 1b   Level 1b   Level 1a   Level 2   Level 3   Level 4   Level 5   Level 6
Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent   s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.
U.S. average 0.8 !** 0.24   3.6   0.49   12.3   0.89   24.9   0.99   30.5   0.88   20.1   1.08   6.9   0.59   1.0   0.22
Less than 10 percent             12.9 * 2.64   29.2 *** 3.22   33.2 * 4.24   17.2 * 2.99    
10 to 24.9 percent     2.1 !* 0.69   6.9 * 1.12   21.1 *** 2.22   32.2 *** 1.96   25.8 * 1.75   10.2 *** 1.50   1.7 !*** 0.76
25 to 49.9 percent     1.8 !* 0.57   8.7 * 1.34   22.1 *** 2.14   30.9 *** 1.60   24.9 *** 2.29   9.9 *** 1.34   1.4 !*** 0.58
50 to 74.9 percent 0.8 !*** 0.31   4.7 *** 1.04   15.0 *** 1.70   28.1 * 1.55   32.2 *** 1.71   15.7 * 1.60   3.1 * 0.62    
75 percent or more 2.4 !*** 1.06   6.7 *** 1.32   21.1 * 2.59   31.8 * 2.51   25.6 *** 2.42   10.3 * 2.03   2.0 !* 0.98    
OECD average 1.3 *** 0.05   4.4   0.08   12.3   0.13   23.5   0.16   29.1   0.17   21.0   0.16   7.3   0.10   1.1   0.04
† Not applicable.
! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable due to high coefficient of variation.
‡ Reporting standards not met.
* p<.05. Significantly different from both the U.S. and OECD averages at the .05 level of statistical significance.
** p<.05. Significantly different from the OECD average at the .05 level of statistical significance.
*** p<.05. Significantly different from the U.S. average at the .05 level of statistical significance.
NOTE: To reach a particular proficiency level, a student must correctly answer a majority of items at that level. Students were classified into reading literacy levels according to their scores. Exact cut scores are as follows: below level 1b (a score less than or equal to 262.04); level 1b (a score greater than 262.04 and less than or equal to 334.75); level 1a (a score greater than 334.75 and less than or equal to 407.47); level 2 (a score greater than 407.47 and less than or equal to 480.18); level 3 (a score greater than 480.18 and less than or equal to 552.89); level 4 (a score greater than 552.89 and less than or equal to 625.61); level 5 (a score greater than 625.61 and less than or equal to 698.32); and level 6 (a score greater than 698.32). Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price lunch for students meeting certain income guidelines. The percentage of students receiving such lunch is an indicator of the socioeconomic level of families served by the school. Data in this table are based on principals' responses to a question in the school questionnaire that asked the approximate percentage of eligible students in the school during the previous school year. The OECD average is the average of the national percentages of the OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Standard error is noted by s.e. Free or reduced-price lunch data are for public schools only. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012.

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