Reading Performance of Students in Grades 4, 8, and 12
National average reading scores of 4th- and 8th-graders have varied little over time, though both were 2 points higher in 2005 than in 1992. During this time, however, the reading scores of 12th-graders declined 6 points.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has assessed the reading abilities of students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in both public and private schools since 1992. Reported on a scale of 0–500, national average reading scores of 4th- and 8th-graders varied little between 1992 and 2005, though both were 2 points higher in 2005 than in 1992. The reading scores of 12th-grade students, however, decreased 6 points during this period.
Achievement levels (Basic, Proficient, and Advanced) identify what students should know and be able to do at each grade. The percentage of 4th-graders performing at or above Basic (indicating partial mastery of fundamental skills) in 2005 (64 percent) was not measurably different from the percentage in 1992; however, the percentage performing at or above Proficient (indicating solid academic achievement) increased from 29 to 31 percent during this time. Between 1992 and 2005, the percentage of 8th-graders performing at or above Basic increased from 69 to 73 percent, while the percentage performing at or above Proficient in 2005 (31 percent) was not measurably different from the percentage in 1992. The percentage of 12th-graders performing at or above Basic decreased from 80 to 73 percent, and the percentage performing at or above Proficient decreased from 40 to 35 percent between 1992 and 2005.
Reading results varied by sex and race/ethnicity. For example, females outperformed males in each grade in 2005 (see table 11-1). White and Asian/Pacific Islander students generally outperformed their peers in all three grades. Between 1992 and 2005, average scores increased for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander 4th-graders (ranging from 5 to 13 points) and for White, Black, and Hispanic 8th-graders (ranging from 4 to 6 points), while scores decreased for White and Black 12th-graders (4 and 6 points, respectively).
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Education Statistics.
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