How Did Students Perform in Reading?
In 2019, average reading scores were lower for both fourth- and eighth-grade students compared to 2017: scores were lower by 1 point at fourth grade and lower by 3 points at eighth grade. Average scores were higher at both grades compared to the first reading assessment in 1992.
A summary of the results from the 2019 reading assessment can be found in the Report Card Highlights.
More detailed reading assessment results are available throughout this Report Card.
How NAEP Assesses Reading
The NAEP reading assessment framework defines reading as a dynamic cognitive process that involves understanding written text, developing and interpreting meaning, and using meaning appropriately for text type and purpose. The assessment derived from this framework uses literary and informational texts to measure students' comprehension skills. Students read grade-appropriate texts reflecting many content areas and respond to both multiple-choice and open-ended questions about the texts they read. By design, the texts used in the assessment require interpretive and critical skills. The reading skills assessed are those that students use in all subject areas in school, as well as in their out-of-school reading. Learn more about the NAEP reading framework.
- The reading assessment was administered between January and March of 2019.
- Approximately 150,600 fourth-graders from 8,300 schools and 143,100 eighth-graders from about 6,950 schools across the nation participated in 2019.
- Total cognitive testing time per student was 60 minutes.
- Survey questionnaires were administered to students, teachers, and school administrators.
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.