Significant Statistics | How is Utah performing on the Nation’s Report Card?

Written by: Shawn Teigen

The National Assessment of Education Progress – or the Nation’s Report Card – has been administered to students around the nation by the U.S. Department of Education for decades. Based upon the scores achieved, students are measured as “advanced,” “proficient,” “basic” or “below basic.”

When looking at whether students are proficient, 2022 was a bad year.

While states and the nation had been trending upward since 2000 with their proficient percentages on the math and reading tests, most states went in the wrong direction in 2022. Utah was no exception.

In Utah, students slipped back to their 2013 scores for the 4th and 8th grade reading tests, and back to their 2011 scores for 4th and 8th grade math tests.

On the bright side, Utah students in 2022 are statistically better than the nation in all but 4th grade math. That said, the difference all but disappears when accounting for household income. The gap between higher and lower income households persists, and even widened in 2022. In fact, the overall 2022 decrease is due in large part to a decline in proficiency by students from lower income households.


Source: NAEP,


And bit of background: The National Assessment of Education Progress – or NAEP – is billed as the “largest nationally-representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas,” including the arts, civics, geography, mathematics, reading, science, U.S. history and writing. NAEP data are available at the state level for grades four and eight. NAEP was administered each odd-numbered year from 2003 through 2019 for the mathematics and reading exams and less often for the writing and science exams. It was not administered originally planned in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, but instead was administered in 2022.

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