NAEP

[Click on the NAEP category in the sidebar of the home page for posts on NAEP results for Iowa on more recent NAEP assessments.]

NAEP is a project of the US Department of Education.  Iowa is required to participate in NAEP state assessments for reading and mathematics every two years.  NAEP assessments are given to a representative sample of students, rather than the entire student population.  Private school students are not included in the state-level assessments.  In 2009, 2800 Iowa 4th graders from 180 schools and 2600 Iowa 8th graders from 130 schools participated in the NAEP mathematics assessment.  In 2007, 2900 Iowa 4th graders in 140 schools and 2800 Iowa 8th graders in 130 schools participated in the NAEP reading assessment.

Cut Off Scores

The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), as directed by the NAEP legislation, has been developing achievement levels for NAEP since 1990.  The Board defined three levels for each grade tested: BasicProficient, and Advanced. The Basic level denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade. The Proficient level represents solid academic performance. Students reaching this level demonstrate competency over challenging subject matter. The Advanced level signifies superior performance at a given grade. For each grade, the levels are cumulative; that is, abilities achieved at the Proficient level presume mastery of abilities associated with the Basic level, and attainment of the Advanced level presumes mastery of both the Basic andProficient levels. Adopting three levels of achievement for each grade signals the importance of looking at more than one standard of performance. The Board believes, however, that all students should reach the Proficient level; the Basic level is not the desired goal, but rather represents partial mastery that is a step toward Proficient.  (emphasis added)

Basic     Proficient     Advanced

4th grade math          214            250            282

8th grade math          262            299            333

4th grade reading       208            238            268

8th grade reading       243            281            323

Click on the links above to see the item maps of knowledge and skills associated with various scores on the NAEP exam and links to sample questions.  The sample questions include data on what percentage of children selected each answer and the average scores for those choosing each answer, which can be viewed at the national or state level.

Iowa’s Scores

4th Grade Math (2009)

Iowa’s average scale score is 243.  Six states have scores that are significantly higher:

  • Massachusetts (252),
  • New Hampshire (251),
  • Minnesota (249),
  • Vermont (248),
  • New Jersey (247), and
  • North Dakota (245).

Twenty-one states have scores that are not significantly different from Iowa’s:  Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas,  Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

8th Grade Math (2009)

Iowa’s average scale score is 284. Fourteen states have scores that are significantly higher:

  • Massachusetts (299),
  • Minnesota (294),
  • New Jersey (293),
  • North Dakota (293),
  • Vermont (293),
  • Montana (292),
  • New Hampshire (292),
  • South Dakota (291),
  • Connecticut (289),
  • Washington (289),
  • Maryland (288),
  • Pennsylvania (288),
  • Wisconsin (288), and
  • Idaho (287).

Sixteen states have scores that are not significantly different from Iowa’s:  Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

4th Grade Reading (2007)

Iowa’s average scale score is 225.  Four states have scores that are significantly higher:

  • Massachusetts (236),
  • New Jersey (231),
  • New Hampshire (229), and
  • Vermont (228).

Twenty-one states have scores that are not significantly different from Iowa’s: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas,  Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

8th Grade Reading (2007)

Iowa’s average scale score is 267.  Three states have scores that are significantly higher:

  • Massachusetts (273),
  • Vermont (273), and
  • Montana (271).

Eighteen states have scores that are not significantly different from Iowa’s:  Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

Matthew Ladner at Jay P. Greene’s Blog notes that “[a] rough rule of thumb is that 10 points approximately equals a grade level worth of learning on NAEP exams.”  This means that in math, Massachusetts students are scoring, on average, 1 to 1.5 grade levels ahead of Iowa students.  In reading, Massachusetts students are scoring, on average, 0.5 to 1 grade levels ahead of Iowa students.