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What Does the NAEP Long-Term Trend Reading Assessment Measure?

The existence of two national assessment programs—long-term trend NAEP and main NAEP—makes it possible to meet two important objectives: 1) measure student progress over time, and 2) as educational priorities change, develop new assessment instruments that reflect current educational content and assessment methodology.

The NAEP long-term trend reading assessment was designed to measure students' ability to

  • locate specific information,
  • make inferences based on information in two or more parts of a passage, and
  • identify the main idea in a passage.

The assessment required students to read and answer questions based on a variety of materials, including informational passages, literary texts, and documents. The selections included brief stories, passages from textbooks, and other age-appropriate reading material. Students' comprehension of these materials was assessed with both multiple-choice and constructed-response questions.

Reading results are available for 15 assessments at age 9, fifteen assessments at age 13, and 13 assessments at age 17 dating back to 1971. The set of reading passages and questions included in the trend assessments have been kept essentially the same since 1984, and most closely reflect the objectives developed for that assessment. These objectives were developed by nationally representative panels of reading specialists, educators, and other interested parties.

Explore the Sample Questions booklet PDF File Click to open pdf. for the long-term trend assessment. The booklet is given to participating schools so that teachers and the parents of participating students will be able to examine the types of questions the students will be answering.

Explore long-term trend questions in the NAEP Questions Tool.

Read about the long-term trend reading and mathematics scales.

Find out what the long-term trend mathematics assessment measures.

Last updated 02 February 2024 (FW)