Catholic Schools Continue to Outpace Public Schools in National Assessments

The Nations Report Card confirms that Catholic schools consistently achieve academic excellence.

Arlington, VA – On October 30 the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, released its findings for math and reading for grades 4 and 8. NAEP is considered the most consistent measure of U.S. student achievement over time. While most of the nation is facing tough questions on assessment scores in decline for public schools, Catholic school scores continue to trend higher.

Math Grade 4
  Scale Scores Below Basic (percentile) At Basic (percentile) Proficient (percentile) Advanced (percentile)
Public 240 20 40 32 9
Catholic 246 13 40 39 9

Math Grade 8
  Scale Scores Below Basic (percentile)  At Basic (percentile)  Proficient (percentile)  Advanced (percentile) 
Public  281 32  35  23  10 
Catholic  293  18  38  31  13 

Reading Grade 4

Scale Scores  Below Basic (percentile)  At Basic (percentile)  Proficient (percentile)  Advanced (percentile) 
Public  220  35  31  26 
Catholic  235  19  32  35  14 

Reading Grade 8
  Scale Scores  Below Basic (percentile)  At Basic (percentile)  Proficient (percentile)  Advanced (percentile) 
Public  262  28  39 
Catholic  278  12  40  43 

“The NAEP results prove what the families of nearly 1.8 million Catholic school students already know,” said Dr. Thomas Burnford, NCEA President/CEO, “that Catholic schools meet and exceed parents’ expectations of academic excellence in a community of faith.“

The reading assessment is given every two years to students at grades 4 and 8 and measures reading comprehension by asking students to read selected grade-appropriate materials and answer questions based on what they have read. The results present a broad view of students’ reading knowledge, skills, and performance over time in public and non-public schools. Aside from Catholic schools, other private schools do not meet the minimum standard of responses to be included in the assessment.

NAEP is part of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Since 1990, it has been the primary federal entity collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally. To view the details of the full report go to:

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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.