NAEP Report Card: 2022 NAEP Reading Assessment

Highlighted results at grades 4 and 8 for the nation, states, and districts

Scores decline in NAEP reading at grades 4 and 8 compared to 2019

In 2022, the average reading score at both fourth and eighth grade decreased by 3 points compared to 2019. At fourth grade, the average reading score was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2005 and was not significantly different in comparison to 1992. At eighth grade, the average reading score was lower compared to all previous assessment years going back to 1998 and was not significantly different compared to 1992. In 2022, fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores declined for most states/jurisdictions compared to 2019. Average scores are reported on NAEP reading scales at grades 4 and 8 that range from 0 to 500.

Figure Trend in fourth- and eighth-grade reading average scores
Line graph showing average score in NAEP reading over time for 4th and 8th grades. Data described below.
Accommodations not permitted
Accommodations permitted
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

Between January and March 2022, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment was administered to representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade students in the nation. Results for the nation reflect the performance of students attending public schools, private schools, Bureau of Indian Education schools, and Department of Defense schools. Results are also available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 26 participating urban districts. Students’ academic achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic is compared to pre-pandemic performance on the 2019 NAEP Reading assessment as well as to previous reading assessments dating back to 1992.

This Report Card Highlights contains key findings from the 2022 reading assessment. See the NAEP Reading Report Card to explore the full set of student performance results and information about students’ learning experiences inside and outside of school.

Scroll to read details for each grade or select items in the table of contents. 

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Grade 4Region, state, and district performance

Fourth-grade reading scores declined across all regions of the country and in 30 states/jurisdictions

Results for states/jurisdictions reflect the performance of students in public schools only and are reported along with the results for public school students in the nation.

Figure Change in average scores between 2019 and 2022 for fourth-grade public school students in NAEP reading, by state/jurisdiction
Display As
Between
2019
and
2022:
0
decreased
0
no significant change
0
increased
Nation
(public)
decreased
West
Midwest
Northeast
South
NOTE: DS = Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), a federally operated nonpublic school system responsible for educating children of military families. See more about DoDEA.
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In 2022, average reading scores at fourth grade declined in all four census-defined regions of the country—Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. Scores were lower by 5, 3, 3, and 2 points, respectively, compared to 2019. Looking at state/jurisdiction performance, average scores were lower in 30 states/jurisdictions and were not significantly different in 22 states/jurisdictions compared to 2019. This is the largest number of states/jurisdictions with score declines in fourth-grade reading going back to the initial assessment in 1992. Among the 30 states/jurisdictions with score declines since 2019, seven scored lower than the national average score for public school students in 2022; twenty had average scores that were not different from the national public average; and 3 scored higher.

Explore detailed state average score results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Larger proportion of fourth-graders performed below NAEP Basic in reading in 26 states/jurisdictions

Figure Change in percentages of fourth-grade public school students performing below NAEP Basic in reading between 2019 and 2022, by state/jurisdiction
Change in percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic between 2019 and 2022
0
states/jurisdictions had a lower percentage
26
states/jurisdictions had no significant change
26
states/jurisdictions had a higher percentage

Across all states/jurisdictions in 2022, the percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic ranged from 20 to 52 percent; the percentage was 39 percent for public school students nationally. In the 26 states/jurisdictions with larger proportions of students performing below NAEP Basic compared to 2019, percentage increases ranged from 3 to 9 percentage points; nationally, there was a 4 percentage point increase for public school students.

Explore detailed state achievement-level results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Fourth-grade reading scores declined in nine of 26 participating urban districts; no significant score changes in 17 districts

The Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) is intended to focus attention on urban education and measure educational progress within participating urban districts. Fourth-graders in 26 urban districts participated in the reading assessment in 2022. TUDA district results are compared to results of public school students in large cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Figure Change in average scores between 2019 and 2022 for fourth-grade public school students in NAEP reading, by district/jurisdiction
Display As
Between
2019
and
2022:
0
decreased
0
no significant change
0
increased
AlbuquerqueAtlantaAustinBaltimore CityBostonCharlotte-MecklenburgChicagoClevelandDallasDetroitDistrict of Columbia (DCPS)Hillsborough County (FL)HoustonJefferson County (KY)Los AngelesMiami-DadeMilwaukeeNew York CityPhiladelphiaSan DiegoClark County (NV)DenverFort WorthGuilford County (NC)Shelby County (TN)Duval County (FL)
NOTE: DCPS = District of Columbia Public Schools.
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In 2022, average fourth-grade reading scores decreased since 2019 in 9 of 26 participating districts, with declines ranging from 6 to 16 points; the average score for large city schools declined 3 points. Among the districts with score declines since 2019, four scored lower than the average for large city schools; 4 districts had average scores that were not different from the large city average, and 1 scored higher.

Explore detailed district average score results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Larger proportion of fourth-grade students performed below NAEP Basic in reading in seven of 26 participating urban districts

Figure Change in percentages of fourth-grade public school students performing below NAEP Basic in reading between 2019 and 2022, by district/jurisdiction
Change in percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic between 2019 and 2022
0
districts had a lower percentage
19
districts had no significant change
7
districts had a higher percentage

Across all participating districts in 2022, the percentage of fourth-graders performing below NAEP Basic ranged from 30 to 79 percent and the large city average was 47 percent. In the 7 districts with larger proportions of students performing below NAEP Basic compared to 2019, percentage increases ranged from 7 to 14 percentage points; the increase at fourth-grade for large city schools was 4 percentage points. There were no significant changes for students performing below NAEP Basic in 19 districts compared to 2019.

Four of the 9 districts with average reading score declines since 2019 had average scores that were either at NAEP Basic or within the NAEP Basic range in 2022. Five of the 9 districts with average score declines compared to 2019 scored below NAEP Basic in 2022; among these 5 districts, one shifted the average score from within the NAEP Basic range in 2019 to below the NAEP Basic level in 2022.

Explore detailed district achievement-level results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

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Grade 4Closer look at student performance

Reading scores decreased at all selected percentiles except at the 90th percentile

NAEP reports scores at five selected percentiles to show the progress made by lower- (10th and 25th percentiles), middle- (50th percentile), and higher- (75th and 90th percentiles) performing students.

Figure Changes in fourth-grade NAEP reading scores at five selected percentiles: 2019 and 2022
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In 2022, fourth-grade reading scores declined for students performing at the 10th, 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles compared to 2019; there was no significant score change for the highest-performing students at the 90th percentile. Score declines for lower-performing students at the 10th and 25th percentiles (6 and 5 points, respectively) were greater than the 1 point decline for higher-performing students at the 75th percentile.

Across the states/jurisdictions at grade 4 in 2022, score declines since 2019 for lower-performing students (10th and 25th percentiles) were more prevalent than score declines for higher-performing students (75th and 90th percentiles) in 2022. Among the 30 states/jurisdictions with score declines, scores decreased for lower-performing students in 16 states/jurisdictions while scores decreased for higher-performing students in 3 states/jurisdictions.

Explore detailed percentile results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Thirty-seven percent of fourth-graders performed below NAEP Basic in reading; larger percentage compared to 2019

Figure Trend in fourth-grade NAEP reading achievement-level results
Display As
Baseline
Percent1009080706050403020100102030405060708090100YearBelowNAEP BasicNAEPBasicNAEPProficientNAEPAdvanced
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NOTE: NAEP achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted and used with caution.

In 2022, the percentage of fourth-graders who performed below the NAEP Basic level in reading (37 percent) was larger by 4 percentage points compared to 2019. This percentage was larger than all previous assessments dating back to 2005. Thirty-three percent of fourth-graders performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level, which was 2 percentage points lower compared to 2019.

Explore detailed Reading achievement-level results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Reading scores at fourth grade declined for most student groups

Figure Changes in fourth-grade NAEP reading scores between 2019 and 2022, by selected racial/ethnic groups
Display As
Average Score75th and 25th
Percentiles
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Legend
75th percentile
25th percentile
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

In 2022, average reading scores at fourth grade decreased for most student groups compared to 2019. For example, results by race/ethnicity show that scores declined for American Indian/Alaska native, Black, Hispanic, and White students.

Performance at the lower (25th) and higher (75th) percentiles provides insight into the score declines for selected student groups. Compared to 2019, average scores in 2022 declined at the lower percentile for Black students and students of Two or More Races; scores declined at the lower and higher percentiles for Hispanic and White students.

Figure Changes in fourth-grade NAEP reading scores between 2019 and 2022, by gender
Display As
Average Score75th and 25th
Percentiles
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Legend
75th percentile
25th percentile
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

In 2022, reading scores also declined since 2019 for male and female fourth-graders. Scores declined at the lower and higher percentiles for female students while scores declined at the lower percentile for male students.

Explore detailed student group score and score gap results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Figure Changes in fourth-grade NAEP reading scores between 2019 and 2022, by school location
Display As
Average Score75th and 25th
Percentiles
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Legend
75th percentile
25th percentile
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

Examining results by school location, average reading scores declined since 2019 for fourth-graders attending schools in city, suburban, and town locations while the average score did not significantly change for students attending schools in rural locations. Percentile performance showed the following:

  • Scores declined at the lower and higher percentiles for students attending suburban and town schools.
  • Scores declined at the lower percentile for students attending city schools.
  • There were no significant percentile score changes for students attending rural schools.
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Grade 8Region, state, and district performance

Eighth-grade reading scores declined in three of four regions of the country and in 33 states/jurisdictions

Results for states/jurisdictions reflect the performance of students in public schools only and are reported along with the results for public school students in the nation.

Between
2019
and
2022:
0
decreased
0
no significant change
0
increased
Nation
(public)
decreased
West
Midwest
Northeast
South
NOTE: DS = Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), a federally operated nonpublic school system responsible for educating children of military families. See more about DoDEA.
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In 2022, average eighth-grade reading scores declined in the Northeast (2 points), Midwest (4 points), and South (3 points) compared to 2019; the average score did not significantly change in the West. The number of states with score declines in 2022 is the largest dating back to the 1998 assessment. Compared to 2019, average scores declined in 33 states and were not significantly different in 18 states/jurisdictions. The average reading score increased in one jurisdiction. Among the 33 states with score declines since 2019, eight scored lower than the national average score for public school students in 2022; 19 had average scores that were not significantly different from the national public average; and 6 scored higher.

Explore detailed state average score results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Larger proportion of eighth-grade students performed below NAEP Basic in reading in 30 states/jurisdictions

Figure Change in percentages of eighth-grade public school students performing below NAEP Basic in reading between 2019 and 2022, by state/jurisdiction
Change in percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic between 2019 and 2022
0
states/jurisdictions had a lower percentage
22
states/jurisdictions had no significant change
30
states/jurisdictions had a higher percentage

Across all states/jurisdictions in 2022, the percentage of eighth-graders performing below NAEP Basic ranged from 10 to 43 percent; the national public percentage was 32 percent. In the 30 states with larger proportions of students performing below NAEP Basic compared to 2019, percentage increases ranged from 3 to 9 percentage points; nationally, there was a 3 percentage point increase for public school students. There were no significant changes in the percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic in 22 states/jurisdictions.

Explore detailed state achievement-level results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Eighth-grade reading scores decreased in four of 26 participating urban districts and increased in one district; no significant score change in 21 districts

The Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) is intended to focus attention on urban education and measure educational progress within participating districts. Eighth-graders in 26 urban districts participated in the mathematics assessment in 2022. TUDA district results are compared to results of public school students in large cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Figure Change in average scores between 2019 and 2022 for eighth-grade public school students in NAEP reading, by district/jurisdiction
Display As
Between
2019
and
2022:
0
decreased
0
no significant change
0
increased
AlbuquerqueAtlantaAustinBaltimore CityBostonCharlotte-MecklenburgChicagoClevelandDallasDetroitDistrict of Columbia (DCPS)Hillsborough County (FL)HoustonJefferson County (KY)Los AngelesMiami-DadeMilwaukeeNew York CityPhiladelphiaSan DiegoClark County (NV)DenverFort WorthGuilford County (NC)Shelby County (TN)Duval County (FL)
NOTE: DCPS = District of Columbia Public Schools.
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In 2022, average eighth-grade reading scores decreased since 2019 in 4 of 26 participating districts with declines ranging from 4 to 7 points. There was no significant change in the average score for large city schools at grade 8 compared to 2019. Among the participating districts with score declines since 2019, two scored lower than the average for large city schools in 2022 and 2 districts had average scores that were not significantly different from the large city average.

Explore detailed district average score results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Larger proportion of eighth-grade students performed below NAEP Basic in reading in four of 26 participating districts; smaller percentage in one district

Figure Change in percentages of eighth-grade public school students performing below NAEP Basic in reading between 2019 and 2022, by district/jurisdiction
Change in percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic between 2019 and 2022
1
districts had a lower percentage
21
districts had no significant change
4
districts had a higher percentage

Across all participating districts in 2022, the percentage of eighth-graders performing below NAEP Basic ranged from 28 to 68 percent and the large city average was 36 percent. In the 4 districts with larger proportions of students performing below NAEP Basic compared to 2019, percentage increases ranged from 5 to 8 percentage points; nationally, there was no significant change in the percentage performing below NAEP Basic for large city schools at grade 8. The percentage of students who performed below NAEP Basic was smaller by 9 percentage points in one district; there were no significant changes in 21 districts compared to 2019.

Two of the 4 districts with reading score declines in 2022 had average scores that were within the NAEP Basic range. One district had a score decline in 2022 that shifted the average score to below the NAEP Basic level.

Explore detailed district achievement-level results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

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Grade 8Closer look at student performance

Reading scores decreased for lower-, middle-, and higher-performing eighth-graders

Figure Changes in eighth-grade NAEP reading scores at five selected percentiles: 2019 and 2022
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Reading scores were lower in 2022 than in 2019 for eighth-graders across all five selected percentiles. The magnitude of score declines for lower-performing students at the 10th and 25th percentiles (3 and 4 points, respectively) were not significantly different than the declines for higher-performing students at the 75th and 90th percentiles (both 2 points lower than in 2019).

In 2022, among the 33 states with average score declines since 2019, scores decreased for higher-performing students (75th and 90th percentiles) in 4 states and scores decreased for lower-performing students (10th and 25th percentiles) in 9 states. Compared to 2019, scores increased in one jurisdiction for higher-performing students; this jurisdiction had an overall score increase in 2022.

Explore detailed percentile results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Thirty percent of eighth-grade students performed below NAEP Basic in reading; larger percentage compared to 2019

Figure Trend in eighth-grade NAEP reading achievement-level results
Display As
Baseline
Percent1009080706050403020100102030405060708090100YearBelowNAEP BasicNAEPBasicNAEPProficientNAEPAdvanced
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NOTE: NAEP achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted and used with caution.

In 2022, the percentage of eighth-graders performing below the NAEP Basic level was larger by 3 percentage points compared to 2019. The percentage of students performing below NAEP Basic in 2022 was larger than all previous assessments dating back to 1998. Thirty-one percent of eighth-graders performed at or above NAEP Proficient , which was 3 percentage points lower compared to 2019.

Explore detailed Reading achievement-level results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Eighth-grade reading scores decreased for many student groups; no significant score changes for most racial/ethnic groups

Figure Changes in eighth-grade NAEP reading scores between 2019 and 2022, by selected racial/ethnic groups
Display As
Average Score75th and 25th
Percentiles
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Legend
75th percentile
25th percentile
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

Among racial/ethnic groups in 2022, the average reading score did not change significantly since 2019 for American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students, and students of Two or More Races.

The non-significant score changes since 2019 for Black and Hispanic students, along with the score decline for White students in 2022, contributed to the narrowing of White-Black and White-Hispanic score gaps between 2019 and 2022. Score gaps between White students and their Asian peers widened in comparison to 2019. See detailed student score gap results in the reading report card.

Performance at the lower (25th) and higher (75th) percentiles provides insight into the score declines for selected student groups. Compared to 2019, average scores in 2022 declined for lower-performing students of Two or More Races and lower- and higher-performing White students. There were no significant score changes for lower- and higher-performing students among the other racial/ethnic groups compared to 2019.

Figure Changes in eighth-grade NAEP reading scores between 2019 and 2022, by gender
Display As
Average Score75th and 25th
Percentiles
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Legend
75th percentile
25th percentile
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

Average reading scores decreased for male and female students compared to 2019. While female students scored higher on average than their male peers, the 4-point decline for female students was greater than the 1-point decline for male students. Scores in 2022 were lower than in 2019 for female students at the lower and higher percentiles while scores declined for male students only at the lower percentile.

Explore detailed student group score and score gap results in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Figure Changes in eighth-grade NAEP reading scores between 2019 and 2022, by school location
Display As
Average Score75th and 25th
Percentiles
Loading...
Legend
75th percentile
25th percentile
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

Looking at eighth-grade student performance by school location, average scores decreased since 2019 for students attending suburban and rural schools while scores did not significantly change for students attending city and town schools. Performance across selected percentile levels showed that scores declined at the lower and higher percentiles for students attending suburban and rural schools.

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Grades 4 & 8Deeper dive into disrupted learning

The selected NAEP grades 4 and 8 reading survey questionnaire results below describe learning disruptions and recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as learning contexts, opportunities, and student and educator perspectives. A special COVID-19 module was added to the 2022 NAEP grades 4 and 8 survey questionnaires to collect self-reported information about students’ learning experiences during the pandemic.

Although comparisons in students’ performance shown below are made based on self-reported student and teacher characteristics and educational experiences, these results cannot be used to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the characteristics or experiences and student achievement. NAEP is not designed to identify the causes of performance differences. There are many factors that may influence average student achievement, including local educational policies and practices, the quality of teachers, and available resources. Such factors may change over time and vary among student groups.

More frequent access to resources for higher performers learning remotely

Grade
Figure Percentage of fourth-grade students in NAEP reading who learned remotely during the last school year by selected percentiles and by various remote learning experiences: 2022
57% of students recalled experiencing remote learning last school year. What supports did those students have?
Proportion of lower-performing students (below 25th percentile)
Proportion of higher-performing students (at or above 75th percentile)
Had a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet all the time 49%*82%
Had a quiet place to work at least some of the time 70%*91%
Had their teacher available to help with schoolwork at least once or twice a week 37%*50%
*Significantly different (p < .05) from students performing at or above the 75th percentile.

All students who took the reading assessments in 2022 were asked if they ever attended school from home or somewhere else outside of school for any duration during the last school year (2020–21) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among fourth-grade students, 57 percent recalled learning remotely during the last school year, 20 percent reported they did not learn remotely, and 23 percent did not remember. Among eighth-grade students, 75 percent recalled learning remotely during the last school year, 16 percent reported they did not learn remotely, and 8 percent did not remember.

Of the fourth- and eighth-grade students who learned remotely during the 2020–21 school year, higher performers (those at or above the 75th percentile) had more frequent access to a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet all the time; a quiet place to work available at least some of the time; and a teacher available to help them with English/language arts schoolwork about once or twice a week or more compared to lower performers (those below the 25th percentile). Additionally, higher-performing grade 8 students reported more participation in real-time video lessons with their teacher every day or almost every day compared to their lower-performing peers.

Most students had teachers who were confident in doing remote instruction tasks; half or fewer had teachers who were confident in their ability to address pandemic-related learning gaps

Teachers of grades 4 and 8 students reported their confidence in teaching their students and addressing their students’ pandemic-related learning gaps in the current school year (2021–22). They also reported their confidence in performing four remote instruction tasks (creating materials to engage students, conducting a distance learning lesson in real-time, providing feedback to students, and helping students with difficulties in distance learning).

Grade
Figure Percentage of fourth-grade students in NAEP reading whose teachers reported how confident they are in performing several tasks related to remote instruction: 2022
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Over 80 percent of students at each grade had teachers who were quite or extremely confident in teaching their students this school year. However, 50 percent of students or fewer at each grade had teachers who were quite or extremely confident in their ability to address learning gaps that may have occurred due to pandemic-related school closures. For each of the four remote instruction tasks, over 80 percent of students at grades 4 and 8 had teachers who reported they probably or definitely can perform them.

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Grades 4 & 8Explore students' reading comprehension

The NAEP reading assessment measures students’ reading comprehension of literary and informational texts. Students read grade appropriate texts and answer questions about them that require both literal and interpretive understanding as well as critical thinking skills. Learn more about the reading assessment.

In 2022, average scores decreased for both literary and informational texts at both grades 4 and 8 compared to 2019. Among the states/jurisdictions with overall average score declines between 2019 and 2022, 18 states/jurisdictions scored lower in 2022 than in 2019 on literary reading while 29 states scored lower on informational reading at grade 4; at eighth grade, 22 states scored lower in 2022 on literary reading and 30 states scored lower for informational reading. Fewer score changes for either subscale occurred at the district level in 2022 but the pattern was similar; for example, of the 9 districts with score declines at grade 4 in 2022, three scored lower in 2022 than in 2019 on literary and 8 of the 9 scored lower on informational reading.

The 2022 digitally based reading assessment at grades 4 and 8 used discrete question sets as well as scenario-based tasks, which consist of connected questions and concepts integrated into a single real-world scenario. To better understand students’ reading comprehension of literary and informational texts, explore student performance on samples of publicly released reading test questions from the 2022 reading assessments at grades 4 and 8.

Explore sample questions, student performance data, and student response data in the NAEP Reading Report Card

Figure Change in average scores between 2019 and 2022 for fourth- and eighth-grade students in NAEP reading, by type of texts
Grade 4
Type of texts2022 score2019 scoreChange
Literary2212222
Informational2142194
Grade 8
Type of texts2022 score2019 scoreChange
Literary2572603
Informational2632663
Score decrease in 2022
Figure Change in average scores between 2019 and 2022 for fourth- and eighth-grade public school students in NAEP reading, by type of texts and by state/jurisdiction and participating district
Type of textsNumber of states/jurisdictions with score declines from 2019 to 2022
Grade 4
(Among those 30 states/jurisdictions with overall score declines)
Grade 8
(Among those 33 states/jurisdictions with overall score declines)
Literary1822
Informational2930
Type of textsNumber of districts with score declines from 2019 to 2022
Grade 4
(Among those 9 districts with overall score declines)
Grade 8
(Among those 4 districts with overall score declines)
Literary32
Informational83
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Grades 4 & 8About the reading assessment

Learn more about the NAEP Reading assessment