Fourth Grade Reading and Math
As the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores show, Virginia fourth-graders as a group have consistently exceeded the national average in reading and math.
Why is This Important?
One way to help gauge the performance of Virginia students is through the NAEP assessment tests -- also known as the "Nation's Report Card" -- which are administered every two years to 4th graders across the country. Performance on fourth grade reading and math assessments help predict success in future grades.
Although proficiency levels (and scores) across the country generally have been rising since the NAEP began its assessments in 1990, there is some concern that gains made by younger students tend to flatten out by the time they reach high school.
How is Virginia Doing?
In 2013, Virginia ranked 6th in reading and 12th in math on the fourth grade NAEP tests. Virginia's scores continue to exceed the national averages, which in 2013 were 222 for reading and 242 for math (out of a possible 500). Virginia's 2013 reading score (229) was an improvement over its 2011 performance (226) -- and better than North Carolina's (222) and Tennessee's (220); Maryland's score was 232. Virginia's score in math in 2013 was 246 -- better than Tennessee (240), North Carolina (245),and Maryland (245).
- See the NAEP Fact Sheet on Virginia's 2013 performance in Reading (pdf)
- See the NAEP Fact Sheet on Virginia's 2013 performance in Mathematics (pdf)
As the Fact Sheets make evident, there are still significant gaps in performance when results are broken down by race, socioeconomic status, and even gender (in Reading); some of these differences have not budged much since the 1990s.
Massachusetts fourth graders were once again in first place for reading with an average score of 232.373 -- although that was just 0.317 of a point ahead of Maryland's 232.056 score. But after nearly a decade of being the leading state for mathematics performance, Massachusetts (253.034) dipped just below new leading state Minnesota (253.421) in 2013; New Hampshire's 4th grade students came in a very close third at 252.994.
What Influences Fourth Grade Reading and Math Scores?
Improvement in the quality of instruction in Virginia's public schools and adoption of the SOL accountability program have both influenced student achievement in all subject areas and on a variety of national tests, including the NAEP.
What is the State's Role?
The state's role in promoting student achievement is to provide rigorous academic standards, promote effective instruction, and encourage accountability for results at every level.
State rankings are ordered so that #1 is understood to be the best.
Data Definitions and Sources
U.S. Dept. of Education, 2013
Both reading and math are scored out of 500 possible points.
State fact sheets and a host of other informative publications can be found under Recent Publications on the NAEP site.
See the Data Sources and Updates Calendar for a detailed list of the data resources used for indicator measures on Virginia Performs.