2011 NAEP writing results released

The National Center for Education Statistics just released the 2011 writing results for 8th and 12th graders today and only 27 percent of the students who took the test performed at Proficient level or higher. 80 percent of 8th and 12th graders performed at or above Basic level. According to Education Week, “To reach ‘Advanced’ on the exam, students told well-organized stories with strong details, precise word choices, and varied sentences. Students at the ‘basic’ level would use some detail in their stories, but organization was ‘loose,’ sentence structure unvaried, and word choice limited.”

The data shows a significant achievement gap for Black and Hispanic students. When looking at 12th grade, only 9 percent of Black students performed at or above proficiency and 12 percent of Hispanic students performed at or above proficiency, while 34 percent of White students performed at or above proficiency. There was also a sizable gap between female and male students, with 8th grade girls out-performing boys by 19 points and 12th grade girls outperforming boys by 14 points.

This was the first time the NAEP writing test was conducted via computer, which some believe is the reason for such prominent gaps and the low overall score. According to an Associated Press article, students “who scored below the 25th percentile were less likely to have computers at home: 87 percent said they did, compared to 99 percent were in the top quarter.” In an interview with Education Week, English Professor Beverly Ann Chin said, “These findings support the importance of integrating computers into writing instruction. When teachers encourage students to use word-processing features on a regular basis, students learn how computers can facilitate their writing processes and improve their final product.”

Check out the data here.

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  1. TracyM September 17, 2012

    I don’t find this surprising. Teachers do teach writing, but not to the extent they used to. So many HS kids have cell phones and write like they text. They don’t really know proper grammar. When kids write their assignments on the computer, they get spelling and grammar check.s, instead of checking it themselves. What does that teach them?


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