The 2008 NAEP long term mathematics assessment results have been released. The assessment was designed to measure a student’s knowledge of basic mathematical facts, ability to carry out computations using paper and pencil, knowledge of basic formulas such as those applied in geometric settings, and ability to apply mathematics to daily-living skills such as those involving time and money. The complete 2008 mathematics assessment contained between 103 and 126 multiple-choice questions and between 30 and 36 constructed- response questions at each age. Unlike certain sections in the main NAEP assessment, students were not permitted to use a calculator in the long-term trend mathematics assessment. The results show excellent gains in 9 years olds and 13 year olds but no changes in 17 year olds. A summary is below.
The overall gain in mathematics since 2004 for 9-year-olds was also seen in increases for all but the lowest-performing students. While there was no significant change in the score for 9-year-olds performing at the 10th percentile from 2004 to 2008, the score in 2008 was 27 points higher than in 1978. Scores were higher in 2008 than in all previous assessment years for students at the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles.
While the overall average score for 13-year-olds was higher in 2008 than in both 2004 and 1978, the results varied for students performing at different percentile levels. Scores increased since 2004 for students at the 10th and 50th percentiles, but there were no significant changes for students who scored at the 25th, 75th, and 90th percentiles over the same period. Students performing at all five percentile levels scored higher in 2008 compared to 1978.
As in the overall scale score results for 17-year-olds, there were no significant changes in scores from 2004 to 2008 for students at any of the five percentile levels. Scores for lower- and middle-performing 17-year-olds (at the 10th, 25th, and 50th percentiles) were higher in 2008 than in 1978.