NEWS RELEASES 2015-16

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NC'S 4TH GRADE NAEP READING SCORES CLIMB IN 2015

North Carolina fourth grade students' performance on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading topped the national average and increased four points from 2013 and 14 points from 1992 while scores in 4th grade math held steady according to The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). At the 8th grade level, reading scores fell below the national average and dropped from 265 in 2013 to 261 in 2015. The state’s math scores in 8th grade also decreased from 2013 but remained in line with the national average.

"A recent national report found that North Carolina was one of only a few states in the nation with standards and assessments that are closely aligned with the rigor of the NAEP. Thanks to this alignment, NAEP is a useful national barometer that can help us identify where we need to strengthen instruction and make improvements,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We need to take a closer look at 8th grade math and reading in North Carolina while at the same time, we can be very proud of the significant boost in 4th grade reading scores and the fact that 4th grade math scores were above the national average.”

According to *The Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: Results from the 2013 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessment* report released in July 2015, North Carolina’s proficiency standards on its state-developed end-of-grade tests are among the most challenging in the nation and rate well compared to the rigor on the NAEP. The study found that only three states have higher proficiency standards in grade four reading as well as grade four math while only two states have grade eight reading proficiency standards that were higher.

North Carolina's NAEP reading scores for 2015 show fourth grade students earning an average score of 226, which was higher than the national average of 221. At the eighth grade level, North Carolina's average reading score was 261, which was lower than the national average of 264.

North Carolina's average fourth grade reading score was higher than 23 other states/jurisdictions, lower than only four others and in the same performance category as 24 others. Eighth grade scores placed North Carolina lower than 32 other states/jurisdictions, higher than four others and the same as 15 others.

In mathematics, North Carolina's fourth graders received an average score of 244, topping the national average of 240 and holding steady with the state’s 2013 math score of 245. For eighth graders, the state and national average mathematics score was 281, which represents a decrease from the state’s 2013 score of 286.

Compared to other states, North Carolina's average fourth grade mathematics score was higher than 26 other states/jurisdictions, lower than six others and in the same performance category as 19 others. Eighth grade mathematics scores placed North Carolina lower than 16 other states/jurisdictions, higher than 12 others and the same as 23 others.

In addition to providing the average scores for each grade and subject, the NAEP performance also is reported by the percentage of students scoring at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient and Advanced. Students who do not reach the Basic level are considered Below Basic. The NAEP proficiency levels are set at a very rigorous level, and the Proficient level is defined as mastery over challenging subject matter.

For fourth grade reading, the percentage of students in North Carolina who performed at or above the Proficient level was 38 percent in 2015. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2013 (35 percent).The percentage of students in the state who performed at or above the Basic level was 73 percent in 2015. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2013 (69 percent).

For fourth grade math, the percentage of students performing at or above the Proficient level was 44 percent in 2015. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2013 (45 percent). The percentage of students scoring at the Basic level was 85 percent in 2015, which was not significantly different from that in 2013 (87 percent).

For eighth grade reading, the percentage of students performing at or above the Proficient level was 30 percent in 2015. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2013 (33 percent). The percentage of students in North Carolina who performed at or above the Basic level was 72 percent in 2015, which was smaller than that in 2013 (76 percent).

For eighth grade mathematics, the percentage of students performing at or above the Proficient level was 33 percent in 2015, which was not significantly different from that in 2013 (36 percent). The percentage of students at or above the Basic level was 69 percent in 2015, which is smaller than that in 2013 (75 percent).

NAEP is given in reading and mathematics every other year. The NAEP assesses reading in both literary (fiction, literacy nonfiction, and poetry) and informational texts (exposition, argumentation and persuasive texts, and procedural texts and documents). The assessments are given to a representative sample of North Carolina students selected by the NCES.

The NAEP assesses mathematics in five content areas: number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics and probability; and algebra.

NAEP results for the nation reflect the performance of students attending public schools (including charter schools), private schools, the Department of Defense schools and Bureau of Indian Education schools. Only national- and state-level data are available because the NAEP is only given to a sample of students in each state. Individual student scores are not provided. The NAEP assessments are conducted in reading, mathematics, science, writing, civics, economics, geography, U.S. history and the arts. Reading and mathematics are assessed every two years with state-level results reported.

Comparisons between North Carolina students' performance and the nation are made using public school scores only.

2015 NAEP NC Fourth Grade Reading Snapshot

(pdf, 124kb)

2015 NAEP NC Eighth Grade Reading Snapshot

(pdf, 125kb)

2015 NAEP NC Fourth Grade Mathematics Snapshot

(pdf, 124kb)

2015 NAEP NC Eighth Grade Mathematics Snapshot

(pdf, 125kb)