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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
Contact:Jonathan Palumbo

Massachusetts Eighth Grade Students Rank Second in the Nation on the 1998 National Writing Assessment (NAEP)

Malden - Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll announced today that Massachusetts Grade 8 students' writing performance ranked second in the nation on the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

In Massachusetts 2,399 randomly selected public school students, from 92 schools, took the test. The writing assessment was comprised of three different types of writing: narrative, informative, and persuasive.

Results are reported by achievement levels and scale score. Massachusetts students had a scale score of 155, higher than the national average of 148. Only Connecticut students' score of 165 was higher than Massachusetts, whose grade 8 writing score ranked second in the nation along with six other states: Colorado (151), Maine (155), Oklahoma (152), Texas (154), Virginia (153), and Wisconsin (153).

"This is a positive report about our 8th grade students' writing," Commissioner Driscoll said. "It confirms that we do well compared to other states. But it also reinforces that we have a long way to go, to get more students to higher levels of proficiency."

The achievement levels for the test are: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. In Massachusetts 31% of students who took the test performed at or above the Proficient level, compared to 24% across the nation.

The 1998 NAEP assessment marks 30 years of a Congressional mandate to assess students nationwide. NAEP periodically assesses students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in writing, reading, mathematics, science, history, geography, arts, and other areas. The 1998 administration is the first year in which NAEP assessed writing at the state level as well as the national level. The next NAEP state assessment will be in February 2000, with mathematics and science in grades 4 and 8.

For more information on the 1998 Massachusetts NAEP performance, go to the Department of Education website at To view the full 1998 NAEP report go to

Last Updated: September 28, 1999
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