About NAEP

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is known as the “nation’s report card.” It is the only assessment with comparable results for all 50 states. The Main NAEP assessment, which provides results for individual states, began in 1990. State participation was optional until 2003, the year all states were required to participate. The latest available data are for the 2013 school year.

Every two years, a sample population of fourth and eighth-graders in each state take the reading and math NAEP assessments. The sample is designed to be representative of the student population in each state. For each subject and grade, results are reported for students overall, as well as for each student group, including low and higher income students, students of different races/ethnicities, students with disabilities, and English-language learners.

Each NAEP assessment is scored on a scale of 0 to 500. The results are called “scale scores.” In the State Academic Performance and Improvement Tool, we use the average scale scores for each state on a given assessment to see which states are doing better for a group of students, and which are doing worse. Similarly, we calculate how much each state’s score has improved or declined since 2003 (the first year results were available for all states), and compare these changes to gauge which states are improving the fastest, and which are lagging behind.

For more information about NAEP, as well as additional ways of viewing NAEP data, see The National Center for Education Statistics website.