Chapter 8: State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Select Indicator:

Quartiles | Findings | Description

Fourth grade mathematics performance: 2003

Fourth grade mathematics performance: 2003

Fourth Grade Mathematics Performance: 2003.


Quartile groups for fourth grade mathematics performance, by state: 2003*

1st Quartile
2nd Quartile
3rd Quartile
4th Quartile
Connecticut Delaware Alaska Alabama
Indiana Michigan Colorado Arizona
Iowa Montana Florida Arkansas
Kansas Nebraska Georgia California
Maine New York Idaho District of Columbia
Massachusetts Oregon Illinois Hawaii
Minnesota Pennsylvania Maryland Kentucky
New Hampshire South Carolina Missouri Louisiana
New Jersey South Dakota Rhode Island Mississippi
North Carolina Texas Utah Nevada
North Dakota Wisconsin West Virginia New Mexico
Ohio     Oklahoma
Vermont     Tennessee
*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress. See table 8-1.

Top of page.Top of page


  • Nationwide, fourth grade students in public schools showed improvement in mathematics mastery as average scale scores for testing with accommodations rose from in 222 in 1996 and 224 in 2000 to in 234 in 2003.

  • Within the limits of statistical significance, 24 states exceeded the 2003 national average mathematics score, 11 had average scores, and 15 fell below the national average.

  • All states for which 2000 and 2003 mathematics scores were obtained showed increases in 2003 when the results of testing with accommodations were compared.

  • Gains in scores between 2000 and 2003 were detected throughout the entire student sample at all levels of performance.

Top of page.Top of page


Mathematics achievement at the fourth grade level lays the foundation for future mathematics education. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a federally authorized ongoing assessment of student performance in various subjects on a state and national scale. All 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in the 2003 assessment of fourth grade achievement in mathematics. This indicator reports the average score in mathematics for fourth grade students in public schools across each state.

National and state results are reported for only public school students. Beginning in 2002, NAEP obtained the national sample by aggregating the samples from each state rather than by selecting an independent national sample. In 1996, NAEP started permitting students with disabilities or limited English proficiency to use certain accommodations (e.g., extended time, small-group testing). National data with and without accommodations were published beginning in 1996, but state-level data with accommodations were not published until 2000. In math, only accommodations-permitted data are available at the state level for 2003. These data are not comparable with data from students who were not permitted accommodations.

Student performance is described in terms of average scores on a scale from 0 to 500.

Top of page.Top of page
National Science Board.