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1970-2022 Trends (Long-Term Trend Assessment)

Since the 1970s, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has monitored student performance in mathematics and reading through long-term trend (LTT) assessments across three age levels (9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students). These assessments measure students' educational progress over long time periods to look for and monitor trends in performance. NCES decided to administer the LTT assessment for age 9 students−the last NAEP assessment given before the pandemic in March 2020−after two years rather than four years in order to provide pre and postpandemic results for age 9 students in reading and mathematics. The assessments were administered from January to March in 2020 and 2022, respectively. About 7,400 age 9 students from 410 schools participated in each subject in 2022. The focus of the 2022 Age 9 Long-Term Trends Reading and Mathematics Highlights Report is on the comparison of age 9 students (typically in grade 4) between 2020 and 2022. A report summarizing results across the entire trend period will be released in the spring of 2023, along with results for 13-year-old students.

Assessment Content

Unlike the main NAEP assessments, which develop assessment instruments that reflect current educational content and assessment methodology, measuring trends in student achievement over time requires that LTT assessments remain consistent.

However, in 2004, changes were made to the LTT assessment design, and a study was conducted to ensure that results under the new design were comparable to the 1971–1999 results.

The LTT assessment measures students’ knowledge in mathematics and reading. Survey questionnaires, administered to students, teachers, and school administrators, who participate in an LTT assessment, are used to collect and report contextual information about the students’ learning experience in and out of the classroom.


Icons representing each NAEP assessment subject in arts, civics, economics, geography, reading, mathematics, technology and engineering literacy, science, U.S. history, and writing.

Main NAEP Assessments and LTT Assessments

Explore the differences between NAEP and NAEP LTT.

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How Results Are Reported

Student performance on the NAEP LTT assessment is presented in two ways: scale scores and performance levels:

  • Scale scores represent the average performance of students who took the LTT assessment in mathematics and reading. Scores are aggregated and reported for the nation and groups of students based on gender, race/ethnicity, etc.
  • Performance levels are reported as the percentages of students attaining specific levels of performance corresponding to five points on the NAEP long-term trend reading and mathematics scales (150, 200, 250, 300, and 350).
Computer monitor displaying icons of data and charts.

Last updated 28 October 2022 (DS)