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The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment is given every two years to students at grades 4 and 8, and approximately every four years at grade 12. The assessment measures both mathematics knowledge and the students’ ability to apply their knowledge in problem-solving situations. The results present a broad view of students’ mathematics knowledge, skills, and performance over time. The most recent mathematics assessment was given in 2017 to approximately 149,400 students in grade 4 and 144,900 students in grade 8. 

2017 Mathematics

Assessment Content

The mathematics framework defines five broad content areas, three levels of complexity, and specifies the number of questions in each content area by grade. The framework also outlines what mathematics knowledge and skills students should have to reach Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement. The mathematics framework was updated in 2005 and again in 2009. Survey questionnaires, administered to students, teachers, and school administrators who participate in a mathematics assessment, are used to collect and report contextual information about students’ learning experience in and out of the classroom.

How is Your State or District Performing?

See snapshots of individual state and district performance in 2017 mathematics:

How Mathematics Results Are Reported

Student performance on the NAEP mathematics assessments is presented in two ways: scale scores and achievement levels.

  • Scale scores represent how students performed on the mathematics assessment. Scores are aggregated and reported at the student group level for the nation, states, and districts.
  • Achievement levels are performance standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. Results are reported as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels (Basic, Proficient, and Advanced). Students performing at or above the Proficient level on NAEP assessments demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. It should be noted that the NAEP Proficient achievement level does not represent grade level proficiency as determined by other assessment standards (e.g., state or district assessments).

Item maps illustrate how specific mathematics knowledge and skills correspond to different NAEP achievement levels. Item maps answer the question, "What does it mean for students to be at Basic, Proficient, or Advanced in terms of what they know and can do?"

How to Interpret Mathematics Results

Find out how to interpret the results of the mathematics assessment, including the potential effects of exclusion on assessment results.

Learn More

Last updated 17 January 2019 (AA)