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 2020 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 1971–99 presented in this report are from the original assessment format, and results for 2004–20 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.
Long-Term Trend Reading
The Long-Term Trend Assessment in Reading
The LTT assessment in reading (first administered in 1971) requires students to read a variety of short texts (expository pieces, poems, riddles, advertisements, and story excerpts) and to respond to questions about what they read. Assessment questions are designed to measure reading comprehension skills, primarily to
- locate specific information in the text provided;
- make inferences based on information in two or more parts of the text; and
- identify the main idea in the text.
Students participating in the assessment read passages and responded to questions in three 15-minute sections. Each section contained three or four short passages and approximately 10 questions.
The Composition of the 2020 Long-Term Trend Reading Assessment
The 2020 long-term trend reading assessment was composed of 31 and 37 short passages at ages 9 and 13, respectively, and between 78 and 95 questions at each age. The majority of these questions were multiple choice. One constructed-response question was included in some, but not all, of the nine sections administered at each age.
Number of reading passages and questions in NAEP reading assessment, by student age group and question type: 2020 and 2022
|Age group||Reading passages||Multiple-choice questions||Constructed-response questions|
Some of the reading assessment questions were administered to students at more than one age. For example, of the 78 questions that made up the reading assessment for 9-year-olds, 22 percent were also administered at age 13.
Percentage distribution of NAEP long-term trend reading assessment questions at and across student age groups: 2020 and 2022
|Age group||Age 9 only||Ages 9 and 13||Ages 9, 13, and 17||Age 13 only||Ages 13 and 17||Age 17 only|
NOTE: The age 17 information is based on the planned 2025 long-term trend reading assessment. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.