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Education in the News: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

posted Jan 18, 2012, 7:58 PM by Wade King PTA Drive

The long-awaited national figures have been released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.  This report is more commonly known as the Nation's Report Card (  Contrary to what we often hear, reading is a concern.  Early literacy, specifically screening for phonological awareness and direct, explicit, research-based classroom reading instruction in the K-3 years is our Washington State PTA's No. 3 priority, while math and science is our No. 2 priority.

The NAEP tests a sampling of students from each state, this allows states to gauge student achievement in relation to one another.  Students take the same test rather than their state's standardized test.  The test is given every two years to measure student achievement in math and reading. 


Nationally, math scores are the highest ever; reading scores are mixed, with 4th grade reading scores remaining flat. Here is a press release giving a short overview of the national scores: 


Washington State:

In Washington State, reading and math scores remained flat, with the 4th grade reading gap widening between high poverty and non-high poverty children.  Flat reading achievement has been flagged as a concern since reading is the foundation in school improvement. In Washington, 4th grade reading stayed the same as 2009, but that average was down from 2007. Between 2003 and 2011, our 4th grade reading gap widened for kids getting free and reduced price lunch.  About 1 in 3 Washington 4thgraders are BELOW BASIC in reading:


4th Grade Reading Average Score, WA State:

2003       2005       2007       2009       2011

221         223         224         221         221

(National average for 2011: 220)


4th Grade Reading Scale, WA State:

Below basic: 33% (34% national)

Basic: 32% (34% national)

Proficient: 26% (25% national)

Advanced: 8% (7% national)


About 1 in 6 Washington 4th graders are BELOW BASIC in math. Washington is slightly above national average.  Achievement gaps for the kids in 4th grade getting free and reduced price lunch in math remain – neither wider nor narrower than before.


4th Grade Math Average Score, WA State:








2011: 243

     (National average: 240)


4th Grade Math Scale, WA State:

Below basic: 17 % (18% national)

Basic: 39 % (42% national)

Proficient: 36% (33% national)

Advanced: 9% (6% national)