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About the Reading Assessment

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 reading assessment was designed to measure students' knowledge of reading across two types of texts: literary and informational.

Results are reported for the nation, states, and participating urban districts at fourth and eighth grades. 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.

As prescribed in the 2011 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 education when developing the current reading framework. The current framework was revised in 2009 and replaced the framework first used for the 1992 reading assessment and subsequent assessments through 2007.

The series of tables on the target 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 2011 reading assessment:


Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in Reading

The primary goal of TUDA is to focus attention on urban education and measure educational progress within large urban districts. Read more about the TUDA program on the NAEP website. When comparing the results for urban districts to results for the nation and large cities, it is important to consider how the demographics of the jurisdictions are different. For example, large cities and participating urban districts differ from the nation in the proportion of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (an indicator of lower family income). The percentages of lower-income students eligible for free/reduced-price school lunch in the nation in 2011 were 52 percent at grade 4 and 48 percent at grade 8; the percentages of lower-income students in the districts ranged from 51 to 100 percent across the two grades. In Cleveland, all students were categorized as eligible.

Representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade public school students from 21 urban districts participated in the 2011 reading assessment. The 18 districts listed below participated in the 2009 and 2011 assessments.

Atlanta Public Schools
Austin Independent School District
Baltimore City Public Schools
Boston Public Schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Chicago Public Schools
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Detroit Public Schools
District of Columbia Public Schools

Fresno Unified School District
Houston Independent School District
Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY)
Los Angeles Unified School District
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Milwaukee Public Schools
New York City Department of Education
San Diego Unified School District
School District of Philadelphia

The following three districts participated for the first time in 2011:

Albuquerque Public Schools
Dallas Independent School District
Hillsborough County (FL) Public Schools

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. 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 most districts (Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Fresno, Hillsborough County, Houston, Jefferson County, Los Angeles, and Miami-Dade) include some schools not classified as large city schools.