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. At grade 12, the average score was 2 points lower in comparison to 2015. Average scores at grades 4 and 8 were higher compared to the first reading assessment in 1992; however, the average score at grade 12 was lower in comparison to 1992.
A summary of results from the most recent reading assessments can be found in the Report Card Highlights.
More detailed reading assessment results are available throughout this Report Card.
What reading skills did lower- and higher-performing twelfth-graders demonstrate in 2019?
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 NAEP reading framework specifies the use of literary and informational texts to measure students' comprehension skills. The proportion of literary and informational texts varies by grade, with more literary texts at grade 4 and more informational texts at grade 12.
- 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.
|GRADE 4||GRADE 8||GRADE 12|
|Assessment period||January to March 2019||January to March 2019||January to March 2019|
|Cognitive testing time||60 minutes||60 minutes||60 minutes|
|Reported results||Based on student performance on digitally based assessment||Based on student performance on digitally based assessment||Based on combined student performance on paper-based assessments and digitally based assessments|
|Survey questionnaires||Administered to students, teachers, and school administrators||Administered to students, teachers, and school administrators||Administered to students and school administrators|
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 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.