Explore Results for the 2019 NAEP Mathematics Assessment

In 2019, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment was administered to representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade students in the nation, states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and 27 participating large urban districts. At grade 12, the assessment was administered only at the national level. The assessments measured students' knowledge and skills in mathematics and their ability to solve problems in mathematical and real-world contexts. Students also answered survey questions asking about their opportunities to learn about and engage in mathematics inside and outside of school.

How Did Students Perform in Mathematics?

In 2019, average mathematics scores for the nation were higher by 1 point at fourth grade and lower by 1 point at eighth grade compared to scores in 2017. At twelfth grade, the average score was not significantly different compared to the score in 2015. Average scores at grades 4 and 8 were higher compared to the first assessment in 1990; at grade 12, the average score was not significantly different compared to 2005.

A summary of results from the most recent mathematics assessments can be found in the Report Card Highlights.

Detailed Mathematics Assessment Results

More detailed mathematics assessment results are available throughout this Report Card.

What mathematics skills did lower- and higher-performing twelfth-graders demonstrate in 2019?

About the Mathematics Assessment

How NAEP Assesses Mathematics

The NAEP mathematics assessment measures students' knowledge and skills in mathematics and students' ability to apply their knowledge in problem-solving situations.

  • The NAEP mathematics assessment framework specifies the mathematical content assessed at grades 4, 8, and 12. At grades 4 and 8, the assessment measures five content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra. At grade 12, the measurement and geometry content areas are combined into one for reporting purposes to reflect the fact that most measurement topics suitable for grade 12 students are geometric in nature. Changes to the grade 12 NAEP mathematics framework in 2005 necessitated the start of a new trend line beginning with the 2005 mathematics assessment.
  • The assessment was administered as a digitally based assessment on tablets and also as a paper-based assessment. Students were randomly assigned to take either the digitally based or paper-based assessment. Digitally based assessment questions included features for performing mathematical tasks such as an on-screen calculator and virtual scratchpad.
  • The assessment included selected-response and constructed-response questions. Short constructed-response questions required students to give either a numerical result or the correct name or classification for a group of mathematical objects, draw an example of a given concept or write a brief explanation for a result. Extended constructed-response questions have more parts to the response and required students to provide more than a numerical response or a short verbal communication.
Assessment Design and Administration:
GRADE 4GRADE 8GRADE 12
Assessment periodJanuary to March 2019January to March 2019January to March 2019
Student participation149,500147,40025,400
School participation8,2806,9601,770
Cognitive testing time60 minutes60 minutes60 minutes
Reported resultsBased on student performance on digitally based assessmentBased on student performance on digitally based assessmentBased on combined student performance on paper-based assessments and digitally based assessments
Survey questionnairesAdministered to students, teachers, and school administratorsAdministered to students, teachers, and school administratorsAdministered to students and school administrators
NAEP as an Indicator of Academic Preparedness

Grade 12 is a critical transition point for most American students. Since NAEP is the only source of nationally representative results of twelfth-grade student achievement, the National Assessment Governing Board (the Governing Board) has been conducting research on the potential of NAEP at grade 12 to serve as an indicator of academic preparedness for college. The research results to date support inferences about NAEP performance and academic preparedness for college at the national level. Read more about the Governing Board’s preparedness research.

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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