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Goal: Ensure that all students are on track to graduate from high school on-time and ready for college and careers.
Objective: Elementary school students will be Proficient in reading.
How progress is measured: The percent of public school 4th graders Proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading
Why is this measure important? The educational system must consistently deliver the excellent classroom instruction necessary to prepare elementary students for college, enabling them to reach their full potential. As a country, we must ensure that, at each stage in the system, students are obtaining the knowledge and skills they need. By 4th grade, students should have a solid literacy foundation that they will rely on as they progress through their education and into a career.
What do the data tell us at the national level? The percentage of 4th-graders who scored at or above the Proficient level in the United States was not significantly different in 2009 (32 percent) than it was in 2007 (32 percent).
What are the limitations of the indicator? When scores significantly increase or decrease from one assessment year to the next, we are confident that student performance has changed. However, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is not designed to identify the causes of these changes. Further, the many factors that may influence average student achievement scores also change over time. These include educational policies and practices, the quality of teachers, available resources, and the demographic characteristics of the student body. The NAEP 4th- and 8th-grade reading assessments are administered to a state-representative sample every 2 years and are subject to sampling error and may reflect differences in the inclusion/exclusion rules applied in each state for students with disabilities and English language learners.  
Documentation for the indicator: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Since NAEP assessments are administered uniformly using the same sets of test booklets across the nation, NAEP results also serve as a common metric for all states and selected urban districts. NAEP periodically assesses performance in several subjects in grades 4, 8, and 12. Four of these subjects (mathematics, reading, science, and writing) are also reported at the state level, usually for grades 4 and 8. Results are reported in two ways. Average scores are reported for the nation, for participating states and jurisdictions, and for subgroups of the population. In addition, the percentage of students at or above Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement levels is reported for these same groups. NAEP assessments provide accommodations for students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency to ensure that assessments are as representative of all students as possible. For additional information on NAEP, visit http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/. For information on the most recent NAEP reading assessment, see: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2010458.
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