Explore NAEP Long-Term Trends in
Reading and Mathematics

Since the 1970s, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has monitored the academic performance of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students with what have become known as the long-term trend (LTT) assessments. Although the LTT assessments are typically administered every four years, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted this administration of the LTT assessments ahead of schedule to provide data on post-pandemic student performance. The reading and mathematics assessments at age 9 were administered from January to March of the 2021–2022 school year and the assessments at age 13 were administered from October to December of the 2022–2023 school year. The primary focus of this report is to enable long-term comparisons to performance on the first assessment year in each subject assessed. For a focus on short-term comparisons to 2020, the most recent data collection prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, see the highlights reports. Results in this report are based on the performance of nationally representative samples of 9- and 13-year-old students. Results for 17-year-olds are available for 2012 and previous assessment years

How Did Students Perform on LTT Assessments?

The average scores in LTT reading and mathematics for 9-year-olds in 2022 were higher than the earliest assessments in the 1970s, but lower compared to the previous assessments in 2020. The 2022 reading score for 9-year-old students was 7 points higher than 1971, but 5 points lower than 2020. The 2022 mathematics score for 9-year-olds was 15 points higher than 1973, but 7 points lower than 2020. 

Read the 2022 highlights for age 9

Figure Trend in NAEP long-term trend reading and mathematics average scores for 9‑year‑old students

Display As
*Significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.
¹Extrapolated data. See the About page for more information.

Detailed LTT Assessment Results

More detailed reading and mathematics long-term trend results are available throughout this Report Card.


  1. Average Scores and Percentiles
  2. Student Group Scores
  3. Performance-Level Results
  4. Student Experiences

About the LTT Assessment

The NAEP long-term trend assessments in reading and mathematics, which date back to the 1970s, are distinct from the main NAEP assessments, which date back to the early 1990s. The existence of two national assessment programs—LTT and main NAEP—makes it possible to meet two major objectives: to measure student progress over an extended period of time (LTT) and to measure students’ knowledge and skills based on the most current curricula and standards (main NAEP). Results from the two assessments cannot be directly compared because they use different questions and have different levels of difficulty, and because LTT is sampled by age whereas main NAEP is sampled by grade. Read more about the differences between NAEP LTT and main NAEP assessments

Figure Assessment design and administration information in the NAEP long-term trend reading and mathematics assessments: 2022 and 2023

Age 9Age 13
Assessment periodJanuary to March, 2021–2022 school yearOctober to December, 2022–2023 school year
Student participation7,400 in each subject8,700 in each subject
School participation410460
Cognitive testing time45 minutes45 minutes
Reported resultsBased on national level student performance on a paper-based assessmentBased on national level student performance on a paper-based assessment
Survey questionnairesAdministered to students and to school administratorsAdministered to students and to school administrators

The Story of NAEP

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a continuing and nationally representative measure of trends in academic achievement of U.S. elementary and secondary students in various subjects. It is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation's students know and can do in select subjects. It was first administered in 1969 to measure student achievement nationally. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States.

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