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National Assessment of Educational Progress
Mathematics Study 2000

By National Center for Education Statistics

In Nation's Report Card Website <>

ABSTRACT (from Executive Summary <> ):
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the nation's only ongoing representative sample survey of student achievement in core subject areas. In 2000, NAEP conducted a national mathematics assessment of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students. State-level results were also collected at the fourth and eighth grades within participating states and jurisdictions.

Authorized by Congress and administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education, NAEP regularly reports to the public on the educational progress of students in grades 4, 8, and 12. This report presents the results of the NAEP 2000 mathematics assessment for the nation and the states. Results in 2000 are compared to results of previous NAEP mathematics assessments. Students' performance on the assessment is described in terms of average scores on a 0 - 500 scale and in terms of the percentages of students attaining three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. The achievement levels are performance standards adopted by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) as part of its statutory responsibilities. The achievement levels are collective judgments of what students should know and be able to do. The Governing Board is an independent, bipartisan group created by Congress in 1988 to set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The results presented in this report are based on representative samples of students for the nation and for participating states. In the national sample, approximately 14,000 fourth-graders from 742 schools, 16,000 eighth-graders from 744 schools, and 13,000 twelfth-graders from 558 schools were assessed. In the state assessments, approximately 100,000 students at each of grades 4 and 8 were assessed.

Major Findings for the Nation:

  • Fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students had higher average scores in 2000 than in 1990, the first assessment year in which the current mathematics framework was used. Fourth- and eighth-graders showed steady progress across the decade. Twelfth-graders made gains from 1990 to 1996, but their average score declined between 1996 and 2000.
  • In 2000, the percentage of students performing at or above Proficient -- identified by NAGB as the level that all students should reach -- was 26 percent at grade 4, 27 percent at grade 8, and 17 percent at grade 12. At each grade, the percentage of students performing at or above this level was higher in 2000 than in 1990. There were gains over the decade at the Basic and Advanced levels as well. However, from 1996 to 2000, the percentage of twelfth-graders reaching the Basic level declined.
  • Score increases are evident across the performance distribution -- higher-, middle-, and lower-performing students have made gains since 1990 at each grade. At grade 12, however, the decline in the average score between 1996 and 2000 was reflected mostly in the scores of students in the middle- and lower- performance ranges: scores declined only at the 50th, 25th, and 10th percentiles.

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