Reading Results: Executive Summary for Grades 4 and 8

National Reading Results

On a 0 to 500 point scale, fourth-graders’ average score was 1 point higher and eighth-graders’ average score was 1 point lower in 2005 than in 2003. Average scores in 2005 were 2 points higher than in the first assessment year, 1992, at both grades 4 and 8.

Between 1992 and 2005, there was no significant change in the percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above *Basic,* but the percentage performing at or above *Proficient* increased during this time. The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above *Basic* was higher in 2005 (73 percent) than in 1992 (69 percent), but there was no significant change in the percentage scoring at or above *Proficient* between these same years.

Reading Results for States

Examining the short-term changes between 2003 and 2005, when all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense (DoD) schools were assessed, showed mixed results for grades 4 and 8. At grade 4, average scores increased in 7 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 2 states. The percentage of students performing at or above *Basic* increased in 3 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 2 states.

At grade 8, no state had a higher average score in 2005 than in 2003, and 7 states had lower scores. The percentage of students performing at or above *Basic* increased in 1 state and decreased in 6 states.

Turning to the longer trends at grade 4, there were 42 states and jurisdictions that participated in both 1992 and 2005. The District of Columbia and 19 states had higher average scores and 3 states had lower average scores, in 2005 than in 1992. Over the same period, the percentage of students performing at or above *Basic* increased in 15 states and decreased in 3 states.

At grade 8, the first state assessment was given in 1998 in 38 states and jurisdictions. Three states had higher average scores in 2005 compared to 1998, and 8 states had lower average scores. The percentage of students performing at or above *Basic* increased in 3 states and in the DoD schools and decreased in 11 states.

Reading Results for Student Groups at Grade 4

The average scores for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students increased between 1992 and 2005. Looking at the short-term trend, Black and Hispanic students each scored higher on average in 2005 than in 2003. The White-Black and White-Hispanic score gaps narrowed during this same time.

Students who were eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch and those who were not eligible had higher average scores in 2005 than in 1998. In the short term, students who were eligible showed a 2-point increase from 2003 to 2005.

In 2005, female students scored higher on average than male students. Male students’ average score increased by 3 points from 1992 to 2005.

Reading Results for Student Groups at Grade 8

White, Black, and Hispanic students scored higher, on average, in 2005 than in 1992.

The average score for students who were not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch decreased by 1 point between 2003 and 2005. The longer trend between 1998 and 2005 showed no statistically significant changes regardless of free-lunch eligibility.

Both male and female students’ average scores showed decreases between 2003 and 2005. In the longer term, the average score for male students was 3 points higher in 2005 than in 1992.