Catholic Schools Continue to Academically Outperform Public Schools

The most recent national reading and mathematics assessment results show Catholic schools continue to stand out.

Arlington, VA — On April 10, 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for reading and mathematics in grades four and eight. Catholic schools show a consistent level of achievement that surpasses public schools. While these scores are solid for Catholic schools, NAEP determined the sample size of private schools was too small to report.

Based on scale scores and achievement levels of students in public and Catholic schools, the most recent results are shown below.

Math Grade 4

 

Scale Scores

Below Basic (percentile)

At Basic (percentile)

Proficient (percentile)

Advanced (percentile)

Public

239

21

39

32

8

Catholic

245

13

40

39

8



Math Grade 8

 

Scale Scores

Below Basic (percentile)

At Basic (percentile)

Proficient (percentile)

Advanced (percentile)

Public

282

31

36

24

10

Catholic

294

16

40

33

12



Reading Grade 4

 

Scale Scores

Below Basic (percentile)

At Basic (percentile)

Proficient (percentile)

Advanced (percentile)

Public

221

33

31

27

9

Catholic

235

18

33

37

13



Reading Grade 8

 

Scale Scores

Below Basic (percentile)

At Basic (percentile)

Proficient (percentile)

Advanced (percentile)

Public

265

25

41

31

4

Catholic

283

9

36

48

8

 

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) President/CEO Dr. Thomas Burnford praised the hard work of Catholic school teachers and the achievements of Catholic school students. "There is great work being done in Catholic schools," said Dr. Burnford. "Catholic school educators are called to their teaching mission in faith. This report reinforces how well the seamless integration of knowledge with faith is working and we welcome all parents to consider a great Catholic school education for their children."

The scale scores range from 0 – 500. NAEP reports performance using average scores and percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels: basic, proficient, and advanced. The basic level signifies partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work in a grade and subject. Proficient denotes solid academic performance demonstrating competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations and analytical skills. Advanced represents superior performance beyond proficiency. Proficient is not the same as being "on grade level," which refers to student performance based on local standards and curriculum, which varies among school districts.

NAEP, also referred to as the "nation’s report card," is considered the leading indicator of student achievement. First administered in 1969, the assessments are the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in subjects such as mathematics, reading, science and writing. Standard administration practices are implemented to provide a common measure of student achievement and are administered every other year. NAEP is a congressionally mandated project administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

In-depth data on the 2017 NAEP reading and mathematics scores for grades four and eight can be found on the NAEP website.

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In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.