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Trends in Reading Performance on the 2022 Nation's Report Card


Students nationwide experienced across-the-board declines in math and reading on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress compared with 2019. The steepest declines were in math but sagging reading scores also are a concern.

Members of the National Assessment Governing Board believe it is critical to use data to guide decisions related to improving student achievement. Some notable data points from the 2022 NAEP Reading Assessment include:

  • 37% of fourth-graders scored below NAEP Basic in reading, as did 30% of eighth graders.
  • The 26 urban districts with representative district samples in the NAEP held steady in reading.
  • Fourth-grade reading scores declined most sharply among lower-performing students, further widening gaps between children working at high and low achievement levels.
  • In 2022, fourth-graders reported spending less time reading outside of school and expressed less interest in reading than fourth-graders in 2019.

The fourth graders who scored below the NAEP basic level last year are in fifth grade today and will soon be headed to middle school. This is the crisis we need to address. Without urgent attention, these children could lose faith in their ability to succeed in school. We must use every resource at our disposal to revitalize reading instruction, to support teachers with professional development in reading and to strengthen students’ reading muscles.Former National Assessment Governing Board member and long-time English teacher Carol Jago in the Chicago Tribune. Nov. 7, 2022.

What’s Next?

Current and former Governing Board member educators weigh in on how to accelerate reading learning.