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Puerto Rico Mathematics Studies

Representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade students from public schools in Puerto Rico participate in a Spanish-language version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment.

In 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017, the regular operational sections of the mathematics assessment were augmented with special sections of mathematics questions to better measure—both more precisely and reliably—the full range of mathematical abilities. These sections were administered in both Puerto Rico and the United States. These special sections allowed the results for Puerto Rico to be placed on the NAEP scale with relatively small margins of error and permitted meaningful comparisons with achievement in the mainland United States as well as across the four years.

Fourth- and eighth-grade students in Puerto Rico also participated in NAEP mathematics assessments in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Because of issues such as relatively large portions of omitted responses and incorrect responses, results from these earlier assessments cannot be compared to 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.

Participation in the assessment is important because NAEP plays a valuable role in providing impartial, trusted information about what students know and can do.

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

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 Mathematics Results Are Reported

Student performance on the NAEP mathematics assessment 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 28 August 2018 (RH)