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An Early Look at How 2021–22 State Proficiency Standards Map Onto NAEP Scales

Map of the United States with states outlined.


The NCES publication Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales is the go-to study for comparing state proficiency standards. Since 2007, the ongoing study has used NAEP as a common benchmark to compare proficiency cut-scores across states. While NCES prepares the full-scale mapping study report for the 2021–22 school year, this post shares an early look at these results.

The early-look results show that a majority of state standards for proficient performance mapped at or above the NAEP Basic achievement level in 2022.

These early-look results represent the NAEP equivalent scale score for proficient performance on a state standard for each state in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8 in 2021–22. NCES has preliminary results for 50 states and jurisdictions (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which are referred to as states in this post) that had publicly posted the data that are necessary to produce NAEP scale score equivalents to estimate state standards for proficient performance as of February 15 of this year.

These early-look results employ a methodology similar to the full report but use state-level percentages for students reaching proficient on each state’s accountability assessment that have been posted publicly online rather than school-level data reported by states to EDFacts (which are not available until summer 2023). Moreover, the results in this post only report the NAEP achievement levels associated with each state standard; however, the full report will include estimated NAEP equivalent scores for states’ standards, as well as standard errors that can be used to estimate confidence intervals around the estimates and relative error, which provides information on the extent to which the NAEP assessment may be assessing content similar to the state assessment. The full report will also include comparisons in state standards over the years.

Finally, these mapping results do not suggest an evaluation of state assessments or of the quality of state achievement standards. State and NAEP assessments are developed for different but related purposes and can vary in format and administration. The results of this study are not intended to suggest that NAEP achievement levels are more valid than state standards or that states should emulate NAEP standards.


The results are shown in tables 1−3. Table 1 lists the number of states with standards that mapped to each NAEP achievement level, table 2 shows the mapped NAEP proficiency levels by state, and table 3 lists the states that were excluded from the 2021−22 early-look results for the various reasons explained in the note.

As indicated in table 1, the early-look results show that a majority of state standards for proficient performance mapped at or above the NAEP Basic achievement level in 2022.

Table 1. Number of states with proficiency standards that mapped to each NAEP achievement level based on their web-posted data, by grade and subject: 2022
NAEP Basic
NAEP Basic NAEP Proficient NAEP AdvancedTotal
Table 2. Estimated NAEP achievement levels of state proficiency standards based on states' web-posted data, by state, grade, and subject: 2022
StateGrade 4Grade 8
AlabamaNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
AlaskaNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
ArizonaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
ArkansasNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
CaliforniaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP Basic
ColoradoNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
ConnecticutNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
DelawareNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
District of ColumbiaNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
FloridaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
GeorgiaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
HawaiiNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
IdahoNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
IllinoisNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP Proficient
IndianaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
IowaBelow NAEP BasicNAEP BasicBelow NAEP BasicNAEP Basic
KansasNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP Proficient
KentuckyNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
LouisianaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
MassachusettsNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP Proficient
MichiganNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
MinnesotaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
MississippiNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
MissouriNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
MontanaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
NebraskaNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
NevadaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
New Hampshire
New JerseyNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP Basic
New MexicoNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
New YorkNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
North CarolinaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
North DakotaNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
OhioNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
OklahomaNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
OregonNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
PennsylvaniaNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
Puerto RicoBelow NAEP Basic NAEP Basic
Rhode IslandNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP Proficient
South CarolinaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
South DakotaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
TennesseeNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP Proficient
TexasNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
UtahNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
VermontNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Proficient
VirginiaBelow NAEP BasicNAEP BasicBelow NAEP Basic
WashingtonNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
West VirginiaNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP BasicNAEP Basic
WisconsinNAEP BasicNAEP ProficientNAEP ProficientNAEP Proficient
— Not available.
† Not applicable.
Table 3. States excluded from the Early Look mapping study, by grade and subject: 2022
SubjectGrade 4Grade 8
ReadingMaine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and WyomingMaine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Wyoming
MathematicsMaine, Maryland, New Hampshire, and WyomingDistrict of Columbia, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2022 Reading and Mathematics Assessments; and 2021–22 percentage of students meeting state proficiency standards for reading and mathematics, as posted on each state's website.

Please note that these early-look results do not have the same degree of reliability as those from the full-scale study, which, as noted above, will include standard errors and relative errors. In addition, the full-scale study will more accurately determine each state's eligibility for inclusion in the study. However, NCES believes that these early-look state mapping results contribute to the discussion in a useful manner while readers await the full report.


Tables 1−3 use state assessment data and notes posted on each state’s website, as well as survey responses from states about their 2021–22 assessment. NCES administered the survey to the states in the fall of 2022, so the responses helped determine whether a state assessment could be included in the early-look results. If a state had a grade 8 end-of-course assessment, and if the percentage of grade 8 students taking the general (i.e., end-of-grade) assessment equaled or exceeded 95 percent, regardless of these students being exempted from taking the general assessment, it was included in the early-look results. If a state only had a grade 8 general assessment, but the percentage of grade 8 students taking it equaled or exceeded 90 percent, that state was included in the early-look results. These two criteria for the grade 8 assessment ensure that the population taking NAEP is similar to those taking a general assessment. Finally, it is worth noting that estimates for states that used consortium assessments (e.g., SBAC) were only estimated individually in the early-look results; however, the estimates for testing programs as a whole are expected to be a part of the full-scale mapping study.

New Hampshire was not included in the study because it did not use the same assessment for all students. Maine and Maryland were not included because state data were not available on the state website by February 15, 2023. Puerto Rico was not included because the NAEP reading assessment was not administered in the jurisdiction. Wyoming was not included because its data were based on the combined results of a general assessment and an alternative assessment. The District of Columbia, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia were excluded because these states did not require all eligible students to take general mathematics assessments in grade 8 and less than 95 percent of grade 8 students took their states' general mathematics assessments. Despite not meeting the participation rate criteria, Colorado was included in the early-look results for grade 8 reading and mathematics as it was coming out of the pandemic and the results of participating students were deemed representative of state-level results. Oregon, which has historically had low participation rates due to opt-out provisions, was also included in the early-look results for grade 8 reading and mathematics.


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