NAGB Header Image

NAEP Achievement Levels

Understanding NAEP Achievement Levels

The Governing Board’s duties include developing student achievement levels for NAEP. Achievement levels represent what students should know and be able to do. NAEP achievement levels are distinct from those used on state assessments.


High standards for student achievement matters. Download a factsheet on reading and math achievement levels. 

Among the recommendations:

  • Center decisions around data and evidence-based research
  • Keep expectations high
  • Accelerate student learning to ensure students catch up academically
  • Focus on the students already struggling, including students from historically marginalized communities.

Read about our achievement level descriptions for reporting.

Learn more about how the Governing Board sets achievement levels for each subject and grade assessed on NAEP, and read the policy guiding this process.

Review the achievement levels work plan and procedures manual.