The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, released fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores from the January through March 2017 administration. While still lower than the national public school scores, Arkansas’ scores held steady, with no statistically significant increases or decreases compared to 2015 scores.

A random sample of 4,600 Arkansas public school fourth graders and 4,700 eighth graders in 244 Arkansas public schools took the assessments in 2017, compared to 294,300 of the nation’s fourth graders and 283,800 eighth graders in 13,590 schools. (National numbers also reflect the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Education Activity Schools and Puerto Rico.) National scores remained stable, with a statistically significant increase in eighth-grade reading. While not significantly different, Arkansas' eighth-grade reading score increased slightly. (See tables below.)

“Arkansas’ scores show we have work to do to ensure every student graduates high school prepared for college, career and community engagement, but the 2017 scores do not reflect new initiatives and programs that will help us accomplish our vision of transforming Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. “With Arkansas’ Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E. Arkansas), announced in January 2017, as well as implementation this fall of Arkansas’ Every Student Succeeds Act plan, I anticipate our 2019 scores reflecting these initiatives. With ESSA, we will see an increased focus on strong academic standards, parent and community engagement and equitable access to highly-effective teachers. It’s an exciting time for education in Arkansas.”

The NAEP 2017 scores reflect the transition to a digital administration of the test, the first for the assessment. With the expanding role of technology in the classroom and at homes around the country, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics stated that digital administration would enhance data collection, be more efficient and increase reporting accuracy.

Fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading assessments are administered every two years, with the next administration occurring between January and March 2019. Results from the fourth- and eighth-grade U.S. history, civics and geography 2018 administration are scheduled for release this fall.

To view the reading and math scores, go to http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/learning-services/assessment/national-assessment-of-educational-progress-naep.