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Title: The 2018 NAEP Oral Reading Fluency Study

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released two reports based on the 2018 NAEP Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) study: a brief highlights report and a longer statistical analysis report. This statistical report presents detailed information about the 2018 NAEP ORF study, the first such NAEP study since 2002. The study was administered to a nationally representative sample of over 1,800 fourth-graders from 180 public schools. Students who participated in the study first completed the NAEP fourth-grade reading assessment. Then they read four short passages out loud to assess their oral reading fluency (i.e., the ability to read text aloud with speed, accuracy, and proper expression) as well as two kinds of word lists to assess their foundational skills (i.e., word reading and phonological decoding). Both the NAEP reading tasks and oral reading tasks were administered to students digitally, with student responses recorded on tablets.

The results indicate that for an estimated 1.3 million public school fourth-graders (36 percent) who performed below the NAEP Basic achievement level in reading in 2018, and in particular for an estimated 420,000 fourth-graders whose performance placed them in the lowest third of the below NAEP Basic level, fluent reading of connected text, such as paragraphs, is a major challenge. The challenge with fluency and foundational skills is particularly pronounced among Black and Hispanic students. These students read a passage at half the rate of a NAEP Proficient fourth-grader; misread 1 out of every 6 words, which are more likely to be content words that are important for comprehension, not function words (e.g., the, and, on); focus on individual words or phrases instead of the meanings of sentences and passages; read in a monotone voice, indicating lack of text comprehension; and show little knowledge of spelling-sound correspondence.

Online Availability:
Cover Date: April 2021
Web Release: April 27, 2021
Publication #: NCES 2021025
Center/Program: NCES
Type of Product: Statistical Analysis Report
Survey/Program Areas: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
Questions: For questions about the content of this Statistical Analysis Report, please contact:
Jing Chen.