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About the Reading Assessment

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2009 reading assessment was designed to measure students' knowledge of reading comprehension across two types of texts: literary and informational.

Results are reported for the nation, states, and participating urban districts at fourth and eighth grade. At the national level, results are presented for students in public and nonpublic schools, while state and district results are for public school students only. At twelfth grade, results are reported for a national sample and for 11 states that participated in a pilot assessment. The 11 states that volunteered to participate are Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

Various reasons were cited by NAEP state coordinators for participating in the pilot program.  These included using NAEP results as a common yardstick for comparing twelfth-grade students in their state to students in the nation and in other pilot states, and establishing a benchmark for how their students are performing at the end of their high school careers.

As prescribed in the 2009 reading framework, the assessment measured comprehension skills by asking students to read selected grade-appropriate materials and answer questions based on what they had read. The National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the creation of NAEP frameworks, incorporated the expertise of many individuals involved in reading and reading education when developing the current reading framework, which replaces the framework first used for the 1992 reading assessment and subsequent assessments through 2007. Results from special analyses determined that even with a new framework, the 2009 reading assessment results could be compared to those from earlier assessment years.

The series of tables on the student population and sample, school and student participation rates, and inclusion of students with disabilities and English language learners provide context for interpreting the results of the assessment. Read the NAEP inclusion policy to learn more about NAEP accommodations and the history of the policy.

Learn more about procedures used as part of the 2009 reading assessment:


Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in Reading

Representative samples of between 800 and 2,400 fourth- and eighth-grade public school students from 18 urban districts participated in the 2009 reading assessment. The 11 districts listed below participated in the 2007 and 2005 assessments, and 10 participated in 2003 (Austin participated for the first time in 2005).

Atlanta Public Schools
Austin Independent School District
Boston Public Schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Chicago Public Schools
Cleveland Metropolitan School District

District of Columbia Public Schools
Houston Independent School District
Los Angeles Unified School District
New York City Department of Education
San Diego Unified School District

The following seven districts participated for the first time in 2009:

Baltimore City Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools
Fresno Unified School District
Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY)

Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Milwaukee Public Schools
School District of Philadelphia

Just as the national public sample is used as a benchmark for comparing results for states, results for urban districts are compared to results from large cities nationwide. Referred to as "large central cities" in previous TUDA reports, results for large cities are for public schools located in the urbanized areas of cities with populations of 250,000 or more. Large city is not synonymous with "inner city." Schools in participating TUDA districts are also included in the results for large cities, even though some districts (Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Cleveland, Fresno, Houston, Jefferson County, Los Angeles, and Miami-Dade) include some schools not classified as large city schools.

Comparability of the 2007 and 2009 Samples

Some charter schools that operate within the geographic boundaries of a school district are independent of the district and are not included in the districts' Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report to the U.S. Department of Education under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Beginning in 2009, charter schools of this type were no longer included in the results for TUDA districts as they had been in past NAEP assessments.

School districts vary in whether the charter schools within their boundaries are independent of the districts. In 2007, charter schools were included in the TUDA district results if they were listed as part of the district's Local Education Agency in the NCES Common Core of Data. In 2009, charter schools are included in TUDA district results if they contribute to the district's AYP results as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This change had little or no impact on the 2007–09 average score differences of the TUDA districts.