National Student Group Scores and Score Gaps

Student Group Score Trends
No significant change in fourth-grade reading scores across student groups compared to 2015

Average reading scores in 2017 for fourth-grade students were not significantly different from 2015 across student groups, including male and female students, racial/ethnic groups, and students attending public and Catholic schools.

In comparison to 1992, however, average fourth-grade reading scores were higher for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students at grade 4 as well as for male and female fourth-graders and students attending public and Catholic schools.

See trends in average scores for selected student groups by clicking on the thumbnails below. Scroll down the page to find out how percentages of student groups have changed over time.

The Type of School dropdown below presents the results for Catholic schools (a subcategory of private schools) and public schools. In 2017, results for private schools overall did not meet the minimum participation rate guideline for reporting and therefore are not included here. See more information about type of school and other student demographic groups reported by NAEP.

Trend in fourth-grade NAEP reading average scores, by selected student groups

Score Gap Trends
No change in score gaps among selected racial/ethnic groups in reading at grade 4 compared to 2015

In 2017, the average reading score for White fourth-grade students was 26 points higher than their Black peers and 23 points higher than their Hispanic peers. The 26-point score difference between White and Black students was not significantly different compared to 2015, the previous assessment year; however, it was smaller than the 32-point gap in 1992, the first assessment year. For Hispanic fourth-graders, the 23-point score difference between White and Hispanic students in 2017 was not significantly different in comparison to the 24-point difference in 2015 or in comparison to the 27-point gap in 1992. In 2017, the average score for Asian/Pacific Islander students at grade 4 was 7 points higher than the average score for their White peers. This 7-point score gap was not significantly different from the 6-point gap in 2015. Whereas in 1992, White fourth-grade students outperformed Asian/Pacific Islanders on average by 8 points, in 2017 the Asian/Pacific Islanders outperformed their White peers by 7 points.

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Group Population Percentages
Demographic changes in student populations

Compared to previous assessment years, the racial/ethnic makeup of fourth-grade students who take the NAEP reading assessment has changed. For example, the percentage of White fourth-grade students was lower in 2017 compared to 2015. In comparison to the first assessment year in 1992, the percentages of White and Black students were lower while the percentages of Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander students were higher. Select a student group from the drop-down menu to view changes in the percentage distribution for that group over time.

Read about changes in NAEP's reporting for racial/ethnic groups.

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