How do Nevada’s Test Scores Compare to Other States?

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) measures the proficiency of fourth and eighth grade students across the country every two years in reading in math. This infographic examines how Nevada’s results compare to other states in the Intermountain West: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.

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  • In 2015, only 29 percent of Nevada’s fourth grade students scored at or above proficient on  the NAEP in reading. As this figure shows, Nevada’s fourth grade reading proficiency rate has been increasing steadily since 2009.

    Looking at other states in the Intermountain West, fourth grade reading proficiency rates have generally been increasing since 2009. The highest performing states in the region have consistently been Colorado and Utah. Nevada consistently ranks third from the bottom, ahead of California and New Mexico.

    Click on an item in the legend to change the interactive chart.

  • In 2015, only 27 percent of Nevada’s eighth grade students scored at or above proficient on the NAEP in reading. This figure reveals that Nevada’s eighth grade proficiency rate increased from 2009 through 2013 but fell in 2015 by three percentage points.

    The percentage proficient in eighth grade reading also fell in 2015 across all states in the region except for Arizona. As with fourth grade reading, the highest performing states in the region for eighth grade have consistently been Colorado and Utah. In 2015, Nevada’s percentage proficient trailed most other states in the region and was only higher than New Mexico.

    Click on an item in the legend to change the interactive chart.

  • In 2015, only 32 percent of Nevada’s fourth grade students scored at or above proficient on the NAEP in math. As this figure shows, Nevada’s fourth grade math proficiency rate increased in 2009 and 2011 but fell in 2013 and 2015.

    Most states in the region have experienced growth in fourth grade math proficiency since 2009, but proficiency rates fell across the region in 2015 in all states except for Texas. The highest performing states in the region have consistently been Colorado, Texas, and Utah. Since 2013, Nevada has ranked third from the bottom, ahead of California and New Mexico.

    Click on an item in the legend to change the interactive chart.

  • In 2015, only 26 percent of Nevada’s eighth grade students scored at or above proficient on the NAEP in math. This figure shows that Nevada’s eighth grade math proficiency rate increased from 2009 through 2013 but fell in 2015 by two percentage points.

    The percentage of students proficient also fell in 2015 across all states in the region except for Arizona. There has been some change in the highest performing states from 2007 through 2015. Colorado and Texas led the region from 2007 through 2011. However, performance in Texas began falling in 2013. Utah moved into the top spot in 2015. From 2007 to 2015, Nevada ranked in the bottom two or three states in the region in eighth grade math. In 2015, Nevada’s percentage proficient ranked only above New Mexico.

    Click on an item in the legend to change the interactive chart.

  • The next six figures take a closer look at fourth grade reading NAEP proficiency rates. In 2015, the Nevada Legislature approved the Read by 3 initiative (Senate Bill 391), which aims to ensure that all students read proficiently by the end of third grade. The fourth grade NAEP scores help highlight which populations of students will likely need the most intervention to meet this goal.

    This figure shows fourth grade reading proficiency rates for African American students in 2013 and 2015 in each Intermountain West state. In Nevada, the 2015 proficiency rate is only 14 percent and has not changed since 2013. Nevada’s fourth grade reading proficiency rate for African Americans also ranks poorly against other states in the region. The only state with a lower proficiency rate for this population is California.

  • Outcomes for Latinos in Nevada and throughout the Intermountain West are slightly better than for African Americans but are still far lower than the general population. Nevada’s fourth grade reading proficiency rate increased from 16 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2015. All other states in the region had an increase except for Colorado. Nevada’s fourth grade reading proficiency rate is the fourth highest in the region, behind Colorado, Texas, and Utah.

  • It is important to compare fourth grade reading proficiency of minority populations to Whites to understand disparities. This figure shows that the percentage of White fourth graders proficient in reading increased from 39 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2015. This is markedly higher than the 2015 proficiency rates for African Americans (14 percent) and Latinos (19 percent). Looking across the Intermountain West, Nevada’s proficiency rate for Whites is the second lowest in the region, only ranking higher than New Mexico.

  • Building off the previous figures showing proficiency rates by race/ethnicity, this figure illustrates the achievement gap between Whites and African Americans/Latinos in fourth grade reading in each state in the Intermountain West. In Nevada, the difference between the 2015 proficiency rate for African Americans and Whites is 28 percentage points. The achievement gap between Whites and Latinos is slightly lower at 23 percentage points.

    Looking at the Intermountain West region, Nevada has the third highest fourth grade reading achievement gap for African Americans, behind California and Texas. In contrast, Nevada’s fourth grade reading achievement gap for Latinos is the second lowest in the region, behind only New Mexico.

  • Two other populations that should be examined in detail are English Language Learners (ELL) and Free and Reduced Price Lunch students. This figure illustrates that fourth grade reading proficiency rates for ELL students are lower than for all of the racial/ethnic categories across the Intermountain West. From 2013 to 2015, Nevada made minimal progress, increasing reading proficiency rates from 6 percent to 8 percent. While this rate is very low, Nevada ranks second highest in the region, behind only Texas.

  • Low income students eligible for free and reduced price lunch (FRL) also had lower fourth grade reading proficiency rates than the general population. In Nevada, fourth grade reading proficiency rates for FRL students increased from 17 percent in 2013 to 20 percent in 2015. In the Intermountain West region, Nevada ranks third highest, behind Texas and Colorado.

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