National Achievement-Level Results

Overall NAEP Achievement Levels
Nine percent of fourth-grade students at NAEP Advanced highest since 1990

In 2019, nine percent of fourth-grade students performed at the NAEP Advanced level on the mathematics assessment in 2019, which was 1 percentage point higher compared to 2017 and 8 percentage points higher compared to 1990. Eighty-one percent of fourth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Basic level in mathematics, which was 1 percentage point higher compared to 2017, and 31 percentage points higher compared to 1990, the first assessment year.

Forty-one percent of fourth-grade students performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level in 2019, which was not significantly different in comparison to 2017, and 28 percentage points higher compared to 1990.

NAEP achievement levels are performance standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. Results are reported as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels (NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced). Students performing at or above the NAEP Proficient level on NAEP assessments demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. It should be noted that the NAEP Proficient achievement level does not represent grade-level proficiency as determined by other assessment standards (e.g., state or district assessments). NAEP achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted and used with caution. Find out more about the NAEP mathematics achievement levels.

Scroll down to explore NAEP achievement-level results for student groups.

Read about NAEP achievement-level setting
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NAEP achievement-level setting is based on the judgments of a broadly representative panel of teachers, education specialists, and members of the general public. The authorizing legislation for NAEP requires that the achievement levels be used on a trial basis until the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) determines that the achievement levels are reasonable, valid, and informative to the public (20 USC § 9622(e)(2)(C)). The NCES Commissioner’s determination is to be based on a congressionally mandated, rigorous, and independent evaluation. The latest evaluation of the achievement levels was conducted by a committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2016. The evaluation concluded that further evidence should be gathered to determine whether the achievement levels are reasonable, valid, and informative. Accordingly, the NCES Commissioner determined that the trial status of the achievement levels should be maintained at this time. Read more about how NAEP achievement levels are set. In 2018, the National Assessment Governing Board issued a revised Policy Statement clarifying that the NAEP Proficient level is not intended to reflect grade-level performance expectations but is specific to performance on NAEP assessments. Read the Governing Board Policy Statement.

The chart below lists the percentages of fourth-grade students performing at each of the NAEP mathematics achievement levels in 2019 and previous assessment years. Set the baseline at either NAEP Basic or NAEP Proficient to see the percentages of students performing at or above that NAEP achievement level. Click "Show NAEP achievement-level details" to see the percentages of fourth-grade students at each of the NAEP achievement levels. Click "Hide NAEP achievement-level details" to the percentages of students at or above the selected baseline NAEP achievement level. Use the slider to change focal years.

NAEP Achievement Levels by Student Group
No significant change in percentages of fourth-grade students at or above NAEP Proficient in mathematics for most student groups compared to 2017

In 2019, the percentages of fourth-grade students who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level in mathematics did not change significantly for most reported student groups compared to 2017, the previous assessment year.

In comparison to 2017, the percentages of students who performed at the NAEP Advanced level in mathematics were higher for male students, students who were not identified as having disabilities, and students who were not identified as English language learners.

In 2019, the percentages of students who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level were higher for several student groups. For example, compared to 2017, the percentages of students who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level were higher for the following student groups:

  • Hispanic students;
  • male students;
  • students eligible for the National School Lunch Program;
  • students attending public schools;
  • students attending public, non-charter schools;
  • students attending schools in the West region of the country;
  • students attending city and suburban schools;
  • students who were not identified as having disabilities; and
  • students who were and were not identified as English language learners.

Compared to the first assessment year in 1990, higher percentages of students performed at or above the NAEP Basic and NAEP Proficient levels and lower percentages of students performed below NAEP Basic in 2019 for the following student groups:

  • White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students;
  • male and female students; and
  • students attending public and Catholic schools.

The chart below lists the percentages of fourth-grade students performing at each of the NAEP mathematics achievement levels in 2019 and previous assessment years. Set the baseline at either NAEP Basic or NAEP Proficient to see the percentages of students performing at or above that NAEP achievement level. Click "Show NAEP achievement-level details" to see the percentages of fourth-grade students at each of the NAEP achievement levels. Click "Hide NAEP achievement-level details" to the percentages of students at or above the selected baseline NAEP achievement level. Use the slider to change focal years.