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Mapping State Proficiency Standards

Since 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has compared each state's standard for proficient performance in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8 by placing the state standards onto common scales from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This process of "state mapping" shows where each state's standards fall on the NAEP scales and in relation to the NAEP achievement levels— NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced—providing important contributions to the discussion of state standards.

These mapping results do not suggest an evaluation of state assessments or of the quality of state achievement standards because state and NAEP assessments are developed for different but related purposes and can vary in format and administration. The results of this study do not suggest that NAEP achievement levels are more valid or states should emulate NAEP standards.

Illustration of State Mapping.

Explore 2019 Findings

The 2019 report summarizes the results of applying a methodology for mapping state proficiency standards onto the NAEP scales. This analysis used state public school data for the 2018–19 school year as well as the 2019 NAEP assessments in reading and mathematics for grades 4 and 8. The 2019 results are also compared with 2009 results (to show longer-term trends) and with 2017 results (to show more immediate changes). This report also analyzes the standards of proficient performance of the two major testing programs: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Compare State Proficiency Standards

Thumbnail image of state standards comparisons graph.
State Mapping Data ToolExplore and compare proficiency standards states set for their students since 2007.

Frequently Asked Questions

See frequently asked questions about Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: 2019.

What is NAEP?
What is the Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales report?
Why is NAEP used as the basis for comparison of state proficiency standards?
Where do the NAEP achievement levels come from?
What does it mean to be Proficient in NAEP?
Are the NAEP standards too high?
Does this report compare achievement across states?
Why does my state not appear in this report?
Why does this report compare results from 2019 with results from 2009 and 2017?
How is a state’s proficiency standard determined to be in a NAEP achievement level range?
Is it possible for a state’s NAEP equivalent scores for one year to be statistically different from its scores for another year?

Last updated 08 April 2022 (AA)