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Arizona NAEP Scores Show Increased Achievement In Reading

Author: Helios Education Foundation

Posted on: November 27, 2015

With the recent release of 2015 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores, there are several bright spots in Arizona student performance to be celebrated. At the same time, scores indicate a great deal of progress has yet to be made in ensuring Arizona students are prepared to succeed in college and career.

“Performance on NAEP is a key indicator of postsecondary academic preparedness in Arizona students,” said Dr. Paul Perrault, Director of Research and Evaluation, Helios Education Foundation.  “Helios utilizes NAEP data to track Arizona’s academic progress over time and inform its initiatives to bolster college and career readiness among Arizona students.”

From 2013 to 2015, national scores dropped in 4th grade math and 8th grade reading and math while 4th grade reading scores remained relatively flat. Arizona scores, on the other hand, showed positive gains or remained relatively stable with an improvement in 4th and 8th grade reading and 8th grade math scores and a slight decrease in 4th grade math scores. Based on 2015 NAEP results, approximately 1/3 of Arizona students are proficient in reading and math:

•    30% of Arizona 4th graders performed at or above proficient in reading. Nationally, 36% of 4th graders performed at or above proficient in reading.
•    31% of Arizona 8th graders performed at or above proficient in reading. Nationally, 34% of 8th graders performed at or above proficient in reading.
•    38% of Arizona 4th graders performed at or above proficient in math. Nationally, 40% of 4th graders performed at or above proficient in math.
•    35% of Arizona 8th graders performed at or above proficient in math. Nationally, 33% of 8th graders performed at or above proficient in math.

Of note, the gap in 8th grade math performance closed between Arizona and the nation in 2015 with a higher percentage of Arizona students scoring at or above proficient than the nation as a whole.

Most racial/ethnic groups in Arizona showed gains in the percentage of students scoring at or above proficient in reading and math from 2013 to 2015. At the same time, large gaps in achievement continue to exist between White and minority students. The percentage of students scoring at or above proficient by race/ethnicity in 2013 and 2015 are displayed in the table below. 2015 percentages are color coded to reflect an increase in the percentage of students scoring at or above proficient from 2013 to 2015 (green), no change (yellow), or a decrease (red).


  
    

The NAEP exam is administered by the National Center for Educational Statistics to a representative sample of randomly selected students across all 50 states and is considered a national gauge of academic achievement.  Click here to see more information about NAEP scores by state.

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