Explore Results for the 2019 NAEP Reading Assessment

In 2019, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) administered the reading assessment 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. The reading assessment was delivered on digital devices and assessed students’ reading comprehension skills. Students also answered survey questions about their opportunities to learn and their engagement with reading in and outside of school.

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.

The average score of 220 in 2019 at grade 4 was 1 point lower than the average score of 222 in
  2017. The 2017 score is significantly different from the score in 2019. The average score of 220
  in 2019 at grade 4 was 4 points higher than the average score of 217 in 1992, the first year of the
  reading assessment. The average score in 1992 is significantly different from the score in 2019.

  The average score of 263 in 2019 at grade 8 was 3 points lower than the average score of 267 in 2017.
  The 2017 score is significantly different from the score in 2019. The average score of 263 in 2019 at
  grade 8 was 3 points higher than the average score of 260 in 1992, the first year of the reading
  assessment. The average score in 1992 is significantly different from the score in 2019.
* Significantly different (p < .05) from 2019.
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Solid line  Accommodations permitted

A summary of the results from the 2019 reading assessment can be found in the Report Card Highlights.

Detailed Reading Assessment Results
About the Reading Assessment

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.

Assessment Design and Administration:
  • 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 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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