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Top Stories in NAEP Long-Term Trend Assessments 2012

The NAEP long-term trend assessments have monitored student progress in reading and mathematics for nationally representative samples of
9-, 13-, and 17-year-olds since the early 1970s. Results from the 2012 assessments show the following:


  • Compared to the first assessment in 1971 for reading and in 1973 for mathematics, scores were higher in 2012 for 9- and 13-year-olds and not significantly different for 17-year-olds.  

  • In both reading and mathematics at all three ages, Black students made larger gains from the early 1970s than White students. 

  • Hispanic students made larger gains from the 1970s than White students in reading at all three ages and in mathematics at ages 13 and 17.  

  • Female students have consistently outscored male students in reading at all three ages, but the gender gap narrowed from 1971 to 2012 at age 9.  

  • At ages 9 and 13, the scores of male and female students were not significantly different in mathematics, but the gender gap in mathematics for 17-year-olds narrowed in comparison to 1973.  


  • See a summary of major findings


Dig Deeper into the Long-Term Trend Results 

Explore the following slides to take a closer look at the gains made by male and female students in reading and mathematics, and how performance gaps have narrowed for some age groups. 

    Click VIEW NON-FLASH VERSION to view information.

    # Rounds to zero.
    * Score change was statistically significant (p < .05).
    SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1971, 1973, and 2012 Long-Term Trend Reading and Mathematics Assessments.


Explore the 2012 Long-Term Trend Report Card

2012 Long-Term Trend Report Card

  • Download a copy of the report to print or share.
  • Read the statement from Jack Buckley, Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Read the National Assessment Governing Board's news release.