NEWS RELEASES 2015-16 :: JULY 9, 2015

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North Carolina’s proficiency standards on its state-developed end-of-grade tests are among the most challenging in the nation and rate well compared to the Nation’s Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, according to a new study released today by NAEP.

The Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: Results from the 2013 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessment reports that, based on NAEP scale equivalents:

  • only three states – Massachusetts. Wisconsin and New York – have grade 4 reading proficiency standards that are higher than North Carolina’s;
  • only three states – New York, Massachusetts and Texas – have grade 4 math proficiency standards that are higher than North Carolina’s
  • only two states – Wisconsin and New York – have grade 8 reading proficiency standards higher than North Carolina’s
  • one state – New York – has grade 8 mathematics standards that are higher than North Carolina’s.

The NAEP Mapping study is conducted periodically to examine proficiency standards set by every state and to compare each state’s standards to the rigorous proficiency standards set by NAEP in grade 4 and 8 reading and mathematics. Under the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (No Child Left Behind), states develop their own assessments and set their own proficiency standards. The NAEP Mapping Study provides a means of evaluating how rigorous each state’s expectations are for students.

The study also indicates where each state’s proficiency standards are according to the NAEP performance standards. North Carolina’s reading standards equate to the Basic level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, while the mathematics standards equate to the Proficient level on the NAEP’s scale.

“North Carolina has set high expectations for our students,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We know that today’s competitive economy requires more in order for our students to be well-prepared for success. The challenge before us is to ensure that our schools are equipped and staffed to help students reach these goals.”

NAEP’s full report is available at

North Carolina’s mapping snapshot at grades 4 and 8 are available here.
(pdf, 510kb)

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.