How Do Idaho Students Fare on the National Assessment of Educational Progress?
View the chart: The National Assessment of Educational Progress
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a set of tests used to compare state and national student performance and to chart changes in performance over time. Unlike many other standardized tests (such as the ISAT – the Idaho Standards Achievement Test), the NAEP is the same for all states. Also, the NAEP is only administered to a sample of Idaho students, and those in the sample each answer questions for only one of the subject areas. Because of this, NAEP results are not available for most individual school districts. The NAEP covers a broad range of subjects, including U.S. history, economics, and arts, although only the results for reading, writing, mathematics, and science are provided at the state level. Students’ tests are given a numerical score and rated as advanced, proficient, basic, or below basic. The NAEP is more difficult than most state standardized tests, including the ISAT.
The relationship between student achievement and state education spending per student may not be surprising, but Idaho’s position among the other states is. While Idaho spends less per student than most other states, Idaho’s NAEP scores are very near the national average. Idaho 8th grade students’ math and reading scores slightly exceed the national average. As this demonstrates, factors other than per student spending influence student achievement. For instance, achievement gaps between different ethnic, linguistic, and income groups suggest that demographic and economic differences between states may influence the differences between them. Since 1990, Idaho’s scores have been slightly higher than the US aggregate scores for most years, subject areas, and grade levels for which data could be obtained. For both Idaho and the U.S., most scores have risen over the past 20 years. It should be noted that after 2001 the way in which the test was administered changed slightly when students with disabilities were given accommodations, such as additional time or questions read aloud.
Among Idaho students there are other striking patterns. Female and male students had similar levels of achievement in most subjects. However, the gaps between English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities, compared with all Idaho students as a group are striking. In most subjects, the percentage of students in these at-risk groups who scored below basic was about three times higher than Idaho students as a whole. The scores of low income students when compared to the all students was not as dramatically different. This is in part because low income students make up a larger proportion of the entire student population than ELL students or students with disabilities.
To explore the data firsthand, visit our The National Assessment of Educational Progress interactive graphic.