National Average Scores

Overall Score Results
Lower average reading score for fourth-graders than in 2017

The average reading score for fourth-grade students in 2019 was approximately 1 point lower compared to 2017, the previous assessment year; however, the 2019 average score was 4 points higher in comparison to the first reading assessment in 1992. Average scores are reported on the NAEP reading scale that ranges from 0 to 500.

The chart below shows the trend in average reading scores beginning in 1992 and the cut scores indicating the lower end of the score range for each NAEP achievement level: NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced. Read a description of each NAEP achievement level by clicking the question mark icons. Read more about how NAEP achievement levels are set. Please note, NAEP achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted and used with caution.

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Scores by Percentile
Lower scores at all selected percentiles except the 90th compared to 2017

NAEP scores are reported at five selected percentiles to show the progress made by lower- (10th and 25th percentiles), middle- (50th percentile), and higher- (75th and 90th percentiles) performing students. In comparison to 2017, the 2019 reading scores were lower for fourth-grade students at the 10th, 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles. In comparison to 1992, however, reading scores were higher in 2019 for students at all the selected percentiles with one exception: the score for lower-performing students at the 10th percentile was not significantly different from 1992.

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