Fourth-Grade Reading


Early school performance has remained unchanged for years

No significant movement since the last available data

Benchmark: The percentage of Maine students scoring proficient and above on NAEP will reach 50% by 2030.

Overview Fig. A


Fourth-grade reading scores are an indicator of future outcomes like educational attainment, employment, and earnings. Fourth-grade reading proficiency is defined as solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter, application to real-world problems, and appropriate analytical skills. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests representative samples of fourth and eighth graders every other year to allow national and state comparisons.

The proportion of Maine fourth graders meeting NAEP’s proficiency benchmark in reading has not improved over the past decade. In 2019, 36% of Maine fourth graders were proficient in reading, the same proportion as in 2015 and 2017. Maine fourth-grade reading performance was one percentage point above the national average and trails the New England average by four points. Due to COVID, testing was delayed in 2021. As of publication, the results were not yet available.


Fig. A

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Percentage of 4th Graders Scoring Proficient or Above in Reading

National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); New England average is unweighted.