Vol. 44, No. 27

Director, Public Information

March 24, 2010


4th and 8th-graders Show Important Gains on “NAEP” Reading Tests 

Missouri is one of nine states in which eighth-grade students made significant gains in reading scores between 2007 and 2009, state education officials announced today. 

According to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released today,  Missouri students made gains in reading at both the fourth- and eighth-grade levels.  Eighth-graders, however, showed the greatest progress.

“Our goal is for Missouri to rank in the Top 10 of all states in terms of academic performance, and NAEP results will be one of the key indicators for our progress.  Although we still have much to do, these NAEP scores for reading are very encouraging,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

“Missouri did make headway last year in reducing performance gaps for minority and free- and reduced-price lunch students.  This continues to be a challenge for every school and district in our state,” Nicastro said.

Grade 4 Highlights

  • In grade 4, Missouri’s average scale score for 2009 was 224 – slightly above the 2007 score of 221, but statistically higher than the national average scale score of 220 for public school students. 

  • The percentage of Missouri fourth-graders who scored at the “proficient” level improved significantly – from 32 percent in 2007 to 36 percent last year.  This rate also is significantly better than the 2009 national average of 32 percent. 

  • Female students and Hispanic students scored among the top 10 states in terms of the average scale scores for their groups – tenth and sixth position, respectively.

Grade 8 Highlights

  • The average scale score of Missouri eighth-graders was 267 – significantly higher than the national average (262) and significantly higher than the state score in 2007 (263). 

  • Missouri was one of only nine states to show a statistically significant increase in the average scale score for eighth-graders.

  • 34 percent of Missouri students scored at the “proficient” level – significantly better than the national average of 30 percent. 

  • Missouri’s Hispanic eighth-graders scored among the top 10 states (fifth position) in terms of average scale score for the group.

  • Missouri students scored significantly higher than the nation in several subgroups:  male, female, Hispanic, students with disabilities, and students eligible for free or reduced price meals.  Female eighth graders and students with disabilities also scored significantly higher than in 2007.

The NAEP exams are given every other year by every state to measure achievement and progress in reading and mathematics.  Also known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” the NAEP is the largest and longest-running representative measure of academic achievement by America’s elementary and secondary students.  The most recent NAEP results for mathematics were released last October.  

The NAEP reading assessment was administered early in 2009 to a sample of Missouri students. Approximately 3,000 students at each grade level were tested.