Reading: Performance-Level Results

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Reading Performance-level Descriptions

Reporting reading performance-level results

Long-term trend performance levels describe the range of reading skills demonstrated by students when responding to assessment questions. Results are reported in terms of the percentages of students attaining each performance level. Changes in the percentages at or above each performance level reflect changes in the proportion of students who demonstrated the knowledge and skills associated with that level.

The five performance levels are applicable at all three age groups (age 9, age 13, and age 17); however, the likelihood of attaining higher performance levels is related to a student's age. The performance-level results presented for each age are those that are most likely to show significant change across the assessment years. For this reason, only three performance levels are discussed for each age. For age 9, performance-level results are presented for at or above 150, 200, and 250. Read more about the setting of long-term trend performance levels.

See all NAEP LTT reading performance-level descriptions.

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Performance-level trends
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Item map

What 9-year-olds know and can do in reading

The item map below illustrates a range of reading behaviors associated with scores on the long-term trend reading scale. The cut scores for the three performance levels reported at age 9 are highlighted in boxes on the scale. The descriptions of selected assessment questions indicate what students need to do to correctly answer multiple-choice questions or the level of comprehension students demonstrate when responding to constructed-response questions. For example, 9-year-olds with a score of 233 were likely to be able to infer the characters' feelings based on the story dialogue.

Scale scoreQuestion description
304Infer the meaning of a supporting idea in a biographical sketch (MC)
287Generalize from details to recognize the meaning of a description (MC)
279Recognize the significance of a detail in a story excerpt (MC)
274Interpret story details to recognize what happened (MC)
260Recognize the main purpose of an expository passage (MC)
254Recognize the main purpose of an article describing a process (MC)
251Retrieve and provide relevant information about the subject of a biographical sketch (CR)
Level 250: Interrelate Ideas and Make Generalizations
242Locate and recognize a fact in an expository passage (MC)
235Make an inference to recognize generalization of the main topic (MC)
233Infer the characters' feelings based on the story dialogue (MC)
228Recognize the main topic of a short paragraph (MC)
222Make an inference based on explicit information in a biographical sketch (MC)
213Recognize the meaning of a figure of speech in a short poem (MC)
212Recognize a supporting detail in a short document (MC)
209Recognize an explicitly stated fact from a short expository passage (MC)
206Connect explicit details to recognize the main idea (MC)
203Retrieve and provide a relevant fact related to the main idea (CR)
202Recognize an explicitly stated sequence from an expository passage (MC)
Level 200: Demonstrate Partially Developed Skills and Understanding
189Recognize explicit information in an expository passage (MC)
188Use details and prior knowledge to infer a speaker (MC)
174Choose the best description of a text feature (MC)
169Recognize an explicit detail from a poem (MC)
Level 150: Carry Out Simple, Discrete Reading Tasks
NOTE: CR denotes a constructed-response question. MC denotes a multiple-choice question. The position of a question on the scale represents the scale score attained by students who had a 65 percent probability of obtaining credit at a specific level of a constructed-response question, or a 74 percent probability of correctly answering a four-option multiple-choice question.