About the NAEP Long-Term Trend Assessment
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has monitored student performance since the early 1970s through its long-term trend (LTT) assessments. Results from the 2022/2023 LTT assessments in reading and mathematics are based on nationally representative samples of 9- and 13-year-olds. Since its beginning in 1969, the primary mission of NAEP has been to measure academic progress by regularly administering various subject-area assessments to nationally representative samples of students. The existence of two national assessment programs—LTT and main NAEP—makes it possible to meet two major objectives: (1) to measure students' educational progress over a long period of time (LTT), and (2) to measure students' knowledge and skills based on the most current curricula and standards (main NAEP). It should be noted that results from the LTT assessments cannot be directly compared to those from the main NAEP assessments because the LTT assessments use different questions and because students are sampled by age rather than by grade. Learn more about the differences between the LTT and main NAEP assessments.
Several changes were made to the LTT assessment in 2004 to align it with current assessment practices and policies applicable to the main NAEP assessments. A bridge study was conducted to ensure that the trend line could be continued over time. The 2004 bridge study involves administering two assessments: one that replicates the assessment given in the 1999 and prior assessments (a bridge assessment or the original assessment format), and one that represents the new design (a modified assessment or the revised assessment format). Results for 1997 through 1999 presented in this report are from the original assessment format, and results for 2004 through 2023 are from the revised assessment format. In addition, results for both the original and revised assessment formats are presented for the 2004 LTT assessment. Read more information about the two assessment formats and changes made to the LTT assessment.
The Long-Term Trend Assessment in Mathematics
The LTT assessment in mathematics (first administered in 1973) requires students to respond to a variety of questions designed to measure
- knowledge of basic mathematical facts;
- ability to carry out computations using paper and pencil;
- knowledge of basic formulas, such as those applied in geometric settings; and
- ability to apply mathematics to daily living skills, such as those involving time and money.
Students participating in the assessment responded to questions in three 15-minute sections. Each section contained approximately 21 to 34 questions. The majority of questions students answered were presented in a multiple-choice format. Some questions were administered at more than one age.
The Composition of the Long-Term Trend Mathematics Assessment
The 2022 LTT mathematics assessment at age 9 included 135 questions and the 2023 assessment at age 13 included 152 questions. The majority of these questions were multiple choice. Some constructed-response questions were included in each of the sections administered at each age.
Number of questions in NAEP long-term trend mathematics assessment, by student age group and question type: 2022 and 2023
Some of the mathematics assessment questions were administered across more than one age group. For example, of the 152 questions that made up the mathematics assessment for 13-year-olds, 13 percent were also administered at age 9.
Percentage distribution of NAEP long-term trend mathematics assessment questions at and across student age groups: 2022 and 2023
|Age 9 only
|Ages 9 and 13
|Ages 9, 13, and 17
|Ages 9 and 17
|Age 13 only
|Ages 13 and 17
|Age 17 only
† Not applicable.
NOTE: The age 17 information is based on the planned 2025 long-term trend mathematics assessment. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
The 1973 Mathematics Results
The mathematics trend scale was developed in 1986 for all the assessment years up to that point. Because the 1973 mathematics assessment had too few questions in common with the 1978, 1982, and 1986 assessments, results from the 1973 assessment were placed on the same 0 to 500 mathematics scale using mean proportion correct extrapolation. Estimates were extrapolated from the data so that average mathematics scores could be reported for the nation at all three ages. The extrapolated estimates for each age level were obtained by assuming a linear relationship between a student group's average scale score and the logit transformation of the group's average percentage of correct responses. The same linear relationship was assumed to hold across assessment years and student groups within an age level. For more information, see the Mathematics Data Analysis chapter in Expanding the New Design: The NAEP 1985-86 Technical Report. Because of the need to extrapolate the average scale scores, caution should be used in interpreting the patterns of trends when comparing results from other assessment years to 1973. Only the overall average mathematic score results for the nation are presented in this long-term trend report for the 1973 extrapolated data.