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NC’s fourth grade NAEP reading scores increase

North Carolina’s students beat the national average for reading in fourth grade, but not eighth.

The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress found that the fourth graders of North Carolina had reading scores at an average of 226, five points higher than the national average. But at the eighth grade level, the average reading score was three points lower than the national average at 261.

The state tied with 24 other states and jurisdictions for fifth place among the country’s scores for the fourth grade reading score.

Chaunte’ Garrett, director of accountability and assessment for the Rowan-Salisbury School System, said since reading and literacy are a big focus for North Carolina schools, it is nice to see a success.

“Overall, to see improvement, that’s definitely what we want to see. As a state we’ve been working really hard, our schools and our districts,” she said.

Garrett also said there is still work to be done.

“Of course, that still means we all have a lot of work to do, but we celebrate the success,” she said.

For mathematics, fourth graders again beat the national average with an average score of 244, four points above the national average. Eighth graders matched the national average with an average score of 281.

North Carolina’s fourth grade reading score put the state in seventh place in the nation, along with 19 other states and jurisdictions.

The NAEP also found that 38 percent of fourth grade reading students in North Carolina performed at or above the Proficient level this year, which was not too different from last year’s percentage. Thirty percent of eighth grade students were performing at or above the Proficient level, and 72 percent performed at or above the Basic level.

Performing at or above the Proficient level is defined as the student possessing mastery over challenging subject matter. Proficient is the second level of achievement, above the Basic level and under the Advanced level.

Forty-four percent of fourth grade math students were found to be performing at or above the Proficient level, while 85 percent were scoring at a Basic level.

Thirty-three percent of eighth grade math students were found to be performing at or above the Proficient level and 69 percent performed at or above the Basic level.

According to the Public Schools of North Carolina website, North Carolina has been participating in NAEP assessments since they started in 1990. The assessments measure math, reading, science and writing for the fourth and eighth grade.

Instead of testing individual students or schools, NAEP results are based on a representative sample of students. NAEP tests subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences and school environment for populations and subgroups of those populations of students.

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