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About the 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 2012 LTT assessments in reading and mathematics are based on nationally representative samples of 9-, 13-, and 17-year olds. Over 17,000 public and private school students at each age were assessed in either reading or mathematics during the 2011-2012 school year.
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).

Results from the LTT assessments cannot be directly compared to those from the NAEP main assessments because the LTT assessments use different questions and because students are sampled by age rather than by grade. Read about the differences in content and procedures, and find out about some changes in the past four decades, most recently in 2004.

The long-term trend assessment in reading 

The LTT assessment in reading (first administered in 1971) required students to read a variety of texts (for example, short expository pieces, poems, riddles, advertisements, and story excerpts) and to respond to questions about what they read. The assessment was designed to measure a student's ability 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.

Explore more about what the long-term trend assessment in reading measures.

The long-term trend assessment in mathematics

The LTT assessment in mathematics (first administered in 1973) required students to respond to a variety of age-appropriate questions designed to measure