National reading, math scores up slightly

National reading, math scores up slightly

The performance of 12th graders nationwide in reading and mathematics has improved since 2005, according to new results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). However, the average score for reading was lower compared to 1992, and significant achievement gaps among major racial/ethnic groups remain in both subjects.

The 2009 NAEP tested representative samples of 12th graders from 1,670 schools across the nation. About 52,000 students were assessed in reading and 49,000 in mathematics. The reading results are compared to results from five previous assessments conducted since 1992; the mathematics results are compared only to 2005, when a new framework was adopted, starting a new trend line.

The average reading score for 12th graders overall was 2 points higher than in 2005, but 4 points lower than in 1992. Thirty-eight percent of students performed at or above Proficient in reading in 2009-an increase of 3 percentage points from 2005, but not significantly different from assessment years prior to 2005. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic was not significantly different from the percentage in 2005, but it was lower than in 1992. There was no change in the percentage scoring at the Advanced level since 2005, although it increased by 1 percentage point from 1992.

The average mathematics score for 12th graders overall was 3 points higher than in 2005. About one-quarter of students performed at or above Proficient, and two-thirds performed at or above Basic. Students who took more advanced mathematics courses scored higher on average than students who took lower-level courses, with those taking calculus scoring highest.

The full report is available at