Nation's Report Card Home

Summary of Major Findings

Nationally representative samples of about 213,000 fourth-graders and 168,000 eighth-graders participated in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading. At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure their reading skills across two types of texts: literary and informational.

Between 900 and 2,700 students from 21 urban districts participated in the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Eighteen of the districts participated in earlier assessment years, and three districts (Albuquerque Public Schools, Dallas Independent School District, and Hillsborough County (FL) Public Schools) participated for the first time in 2011.

The performance of students in each urban district is compared to the performance of public school students in the nation and in large cities (i.e., cities with populations of 250,000 or more). The comparison to the nation's large cities is made because students in these cities represent a peer group with characteristics that are more similar to the characteristics of students in the 21 TUDA districts. Comparisons in performance over time are made for those districts that participated in earlier assessment years.

National Results
State Results
District Results

 Scores of students at grade 4 unchanged from 2009 and improve at grade 8Trend in fourth-grade NAEP reading average scores. Trend in eighth-grade NAEP reading average scores

  • The average fourth-grade reading score in 2011 remained unchanged from 2009, but was 4 points higher than in 1992.   
  • The average eighth-grade reading score in 2011 was 1 point higher than in 2009, and 5 points higher than in 1992. 
See all the average scores for students in grade 4 and grade 8.

Higher percentage of eighth-graders perform at or above Proficient than in 2009.

  • At grade 4, the percentages of students performing at or above Basic, at or above Proficient, or at Advanced did not change significantly from 2009 to 2011, but were higher in 2011 than in 1992.
  • At grade 8, the percentage of students performing at or above the Basic level did not change significantly from 2009 to 2011, but was higher in 2011 than in 1992. The percentage of students at or above Proficient in 2011 was higher than in 2009 and 1992.
See all the achievement level results for grade 4 and grade 8.

Scores of White, Black, and Hispanic eighth-grade students higher in 2011

  • Scores were higher in 2011 than in 2009 for White, Black, and Hispanic students at grade 8.
  • Scores for Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native eighth-grade students did not change significantly in 2011 from 2009.


Find out how to interpret NAEP reading results.

For more information, browse the report online or download a copy of the report.

NOTE: See complete data for grade 4 and grade 8.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1992-2011 Reading Assessments.