Minority students have made significant gains over the past four decades in both math and reading, according to the 2012 long-term NAEP results. While most white students made significant gains as well, achievement gaps narrowed considerably since minority students made much larger gains than their white peers. However, large achievement gaps still remain.

**Reading Results**

**9 Year olds**

- U.S. 9 year old have made significant gains.
- Since the first year of NAEP in 1971, student achievement in reading has increased significantly from 208 to 221 (13 points, or just over a year’s worth of learning). There was also significant growth from 2004 to 2012 (5 points), but it remained relatively flat from 2008 until the present.
- Gains were made by students at all performance levels.
- Students scoring in the 10
^{th}and 25^{th}percentiles each saw gains of 19 points, thus strengthening the lower percentile performance overall. - Students performing at the 50
^{th}, 75^{th}, and 90^{th}percentiles each saw gains from 1971 to 2012 by 15, 9, and 6 points, respectively. - These increases indicate an overall trend of improvement across all performance subgroups.

- Students scoring in the 10

- Racial achievement gaps have narrowed significantly over the past four decades.
- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed from 44 points in 1971 to 23 points in 2012.
- Black students increased there scores 36 points over this time period, while White students improved their scores 15 points.

- The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed from 34 points in 1975 (the first year for which data was available for Hispanic students) to 21 points in 2012.
- Hispanic students increased their scores 25 points from 1975 to 2012, while White students nudged up 12 points in the same time period.

- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed from 44 points in 1971 to 23 points in 2012.
- Nine year-olds were the only age group to see a significant decrease in the gender gap from 1971 to 2012.
- In 1971, boys earned an average score of 201, while girls scored 214. By 2012, this 13-point gap shrunk to a 5-point deficit with boys scoring 218 and girls scoring 223.

*13 Year Olds*

- U.S. 13 year olds have made significant long- and short-term gains.
- Since 1971, student scores in reading has increased significantly from 255 to 263 (8 points, or nearly a year’s worth of learning). Scores also improved from 2008, the last time NAEP was administered.
- Students made improvements in reading scores across the spectrum of performance levels, with significant gains from 1971 as well as short-term gains since 2008.
- Lower-achieving students made the most modest gains (up 6 points from 1971), while each of the other higher-performing quintiles gained 8 or 9 points on average since 1971.

- Racial achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between initial testing and 2012.
- The Black-White achievement gap diminished from 39 points (1971) to 23 points (2012).
- Black students increased their scores by 25 points (roughly 2.5 years of learning), while White students achieved a 9-point gain over this time.

- The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed from 30 points in 1975 to 21 points in 2012.
- Hispanic students increased their scores by 17 points from 1975 to 2012, while White students achieved an 8-point gain over this time.

- The Black-White achievement gap diminished from 39 points (1971) to 23 points (2012).
- The percentage of 13- and 17-year-olds who read for fun has diminished over time
- The percentage of 13-year-olds reported they read for fun dropped from 35 (1984) to 27 (2012) percent, while 17-year-olds saw their percentages drop off from 31 (1984) to 19 (2012).

*17 Year olds*

- On average U.S. 17 year olds have made little progress since 1971.
- Overall scores were not significantly different between the first NAEP reading testing in 1971 (score of 285) and 2012 (score of 287).
- Lower performing students have made modest gains
- Scores at the 10
^{th}percentile were 7 points higher in 2012 than in 1971. - Scores that 25
^{th}percentile increased by 4 points between 1971 and 2012, while scores at the 50^{th}percentile increased by 1 point. - Students at the highest percentiles (75
^{th}and 90^{th}) saw modest decreases in both long-term (since 1971) and short-term (since 2008) average scores.

- Scores at the 10

- Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between 1971 and 2012.
- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 27 points (from a 53 to a 26 point gap) between 1971 and 2012.
- Black students increased their scores by 30 points (roughly 3 years of growth) since 1971, while White students saw a 4-point improvement.
- Black students also showed short-term growth (from 2008) with a 3-point increase, while White students’ average reading scores remained constant.

- The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed by 20 points (41 to 21 point gap) from 1975 to 2012, while Hispanic enrollment was rapidly expanding.
- Hispanic students increased their scores by 22 points from 1975 to 2012, while White students saw only a 2-point gain in the same time period.

- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 27 points (from a 53 to a 26 point gap) between 1971 and 2012.

**Math Results**

*9 Year olds*

- U.S. 9 year olds made significant gains.
- Since the first year of NAEP in 1973, student achievement in math has increased by two and half years’ worth of learning (25 points). However, there as been no significant improvement since 2004.
- Similar gains were made by students at all performance levels.
- In fact, students currently scoring at the 10
^{th}percentile score about the same as students at the 25^{th}percentile did in 1973. - Furthermore, students currently scoring at the 75
^{th}percentile score about the same as students at the 90^{th}percentile did in 1973.

- In fact, students currently scoring at the 10

- Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly over the past four decades.
- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed from 35 points in 1973 to 25 points in 2012.
- Black students increased there scores by 36 points while at the same time White students improved their scores by 27 points.
- Today’s Black students score as well as White students did in 1986.

- The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed from 23 points in 1973 to 17 points in 2012 while the Hispanic enrollment increased from 5 percent in 1978 to 26 percent in 2012.
- Hispanic students increased there scores by 32 points from 1973 to 2012.
- Hispanic students score similarly as White students did in 1992.

- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed from 35 points in 1973 to 25 points in 2012.

**13 Year Olds**

- U.S. 13 year olds have made significant long- and short-term gains.
- Since 1973, student scores have increased by 19 points which is nearly two years’ worth of learning. Scores also improved from 2008 the last time NAEP was administered.
- While students at all levels made improvements, lower-achieving students made greater improvements.
- Scores at the 10
^{th}percentile were 27 points higher in 2012 than in 1978. - While scores at the 90
^{th}percentile increased 16 points between 1978 and 2012.

- Scores at the 10

- Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between 1973 and 2012.
- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 18 points (46 to 28 point gap).
- Black students increased there scores 36 points while at the same time White students improved their scores 19 points.
- Black students acquired about three and half more years of learning than they did in 1973.

- The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed by 14 points (35 to 21 point gap), while the Hispanic enrollment increased from 6 percent in 1978 to 21 percent in 2012.
- Hispanic students increased their scores by 32 points from 1973 to 2012.
- Hispanic students acquired about three more years of learning than they did in 1973.

- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 18 points (46 to 28 point gap).
- More 13 year olds are taking Algebra than ever before.
- In 2012 34 percent of 13 year olds took Algebra compared to just 16 percent in 1986.
- Nearly three-quarters of 13 year olds had taken at least Pre-Algebra in 2012, up from just 39 percent in 1986.

*17 Year olds*

- On average U.S. 17 year olds have made little progress since 1973.
- Overall scores were not significantly different between 1973 and 2012.
- However, lower performing students have made modest gains.
- Scores at the 10
^{th}percentile were 12 points higher in 2012 than in 1978. - Scores at the 25
^{th}percentile increased 11 points between 1978 and 2012 while scores at the 50^{th}percentile increased by 6 points.

- Scores at the 10

- Achievement gaps have narrowed significantly between 1973 and 2012.
- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 14 points (40 to 26 point gap) between 1973 and 2012.
- Black students increased their scores 18 points while at the same time White students improved their scores 4 points.
- Black students acquired about two more years of learning than they did in 1973.

- The Hispanic-White achievement gap narrowed 14 points (33 to 19 point gap) while the Hispanic enrollment increased from 4 percent in 1978 to 22 percent in 2012.
- Hispanic students increased their scores by 17 points from 1973 to 2012.
- Hispanic students acquired nearly three more years of learning than they did in 1973.

- The Black-White achievement gap narrowed by 14 points (40 to 26 point gap) between 1973 and 2012.
- Nearly four times as many students took Calculus or Pre-Calculus in 2012 than in 1978.
- In 2012 23 percent of students took Calculus or Pre-Calculus compare to 6 percent in 1978. Just two decades ago just 10 percent did so.
- In 2012 just 22 percent of students’ highest math course was geometry compared to 53 percent in 1978. In 1992 44 percent of students did so.

*For more information on NAEP, check out the Center’s report The Proficiency Debate: A guide to NAEP achievement levels.*