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The Nation's Report Card: Reading Highlights 2002

June 2003

2002 Reading Trends Differ by Grade

The fourth-grade average score in 2002 was higher than in 1994, 1998, and 2000, but was not found to be significantly different from 1992. Among eighth-graders, the average score in 2002 was higher than in 1992 or 1994. The twelfth-grade average score in 2002 was lower than in 1992 and 1998.

Line graph of average Reading scores for 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000 and 2002, respectively: for grade 4 in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2000 scores were 217, 214*, 217, and 217* without accommodations and in 1998, 2000, and 2002 scores were 215*, 213* and 219 with accommodations; for grade 8 in 1992, 1994, and 1998 scores were 260*, 260* and 264 without accommodations and in 1998 and 2002 scores were 263 and 264 with accommodations; for grade 12 in 1992, 1994, and 1998 scores were 292*, 287, and 291* without accommodations and in 1998 and 2002 scrores were 290* and 287 with accommodations.

* Significantly different from 2002.

In addition to allowing for accommodations, the accommodations-permitted results at grade 4 (1998-2002) differ slightly from previous years' results, and from previously reported results for 1998 and 2000, due to changes in sample weighting procedures. See appendix A of the full report card for more details.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000, and 2002 Reading Assessments.

Average test scores have a standard error—a range of a few points plus or minus the score—due to sampling error and measurement error. Statistical tests are used to determine whether the differences between average scores are significant; therefore, not all apparent differences may be found to be statistically significant. Only statistically significant differences are cited in this report.

The results presented in the figures and tables throughout this report distinguish between two different reporting samples that reflect a change in administration procedures. The more recent results are based on administration procedures in which testing accommodations were permitted for students with disabilities and limited English proficient students. Accommodations were not permitted in earlier assessments. Comparisons between results from 2002 and those from assessment years in which both types of administration procedures were used (in 1998 at all three grades and again in 2000 at the fourth grade only) are discussed based on the results when accommodations were permitted, even though significant differences in results when accommodations were not permitted may be noted in the figures and tables. Additional information about the change in administration procedures can be found in the full report, The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2002.

NCES 2003-524 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: Reading Highlights 2002, NCES 2003-524, by National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: 2003.

Last updated 7 July 2003 (RH)