National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)


Families and educators all across America
have one important goal: giving our students the best education possible. To achieve it, we have to understand their
academic progress. That’s why there’s the National Assessment
of Educational Progress. NAEP, as it’s called, is administered by
the National Center for Education Statistics through the U.S. Department of Education. It’s run by a board of officials, educators,
and members of the general public. They come from all over the nation, because students in every state take the same NAEP tests. The results give us an accurate look at how
schools from different states match up…and how we’re doing as a nation. In fact, when you hear public officials mention
“The Nation’s Report Card,” they’re talking about these results. Main NAEP assessments are given every two
years to a selection of students from the Fourth, Eighth, and Twelfth Grades. No other grades are tested during Main NAEP assessments. However, there is also a version of NAEP administered
to examine Long-Term Trends. Every four years a selection of 9, 13 and
17 year-old students will take Long-Term Trend NAEP tests. Only those grades and ages are tested, and
only at certain schools. That’s right, it’s important to remember:
not every school will host NAEP tests in any particular testing year. A sample of schools is selected in each state
that reflects that state’s characteristics. Every school has some chance of being chosen. Larger schools are often selected, but smaller
schools can also be chosen. A previous selection has no bearing on whether
a school is or is not selected in subsequent years. It’s also important to remember that not
every student at a selected school will take NAEP assessments. About 30 students from each particular grade
are chosen at random to take each test. By the year 2017, all subjects will be tested
via personal computers or other devices. Scoring scales in different subjects may feature
unique numerical ranges. Overall, results are classified as Below Basic,
Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Although these terms may be used by some states,
they are defined differently by NAEP. NCES develops all the questions for its tests. After questions are created, they are examined
critically for content and bias. There is also extensive pilot testing to ensure
fairness and accuracy. The goal is to make the assessment process
as accurate as possible. Local schools are key in reaching that goal. So how can they help? Good question! Each school principal will designate a school
coordinator. The school coordinator will work with a field
coordinator from the NAEP assessment team throughout the process. The assessment team arrives early on test
day. They will bring all necessary testing materials
to the school, and they will administer the test to the students. When testing is complete, assessment team
members will remove the testing material and submit all student answers for scoring. Since NAEP assessments measure national and
state trends, student data and individual school data are not collected. Student performance on these tests has no
bearing on that student’s academic advancement. NAEP scores are certified by Congress, as
well as the US Department of Education. An online NAEP Data Explorer, or NDE, is useful
if you want to search for performance of a particular state or jurisdiction. Scores are usually released to the general
public about six months after the test date. Although our nation’s leaders use this data
to inform education initiatives, everyone can take a look…and learn! When you’re measuring what the students
of our nation know and can do, it takes cooperation from everyone in the country, no matter the
size of the state or school. Local participation is vital to a fair and
accurate assessment process. By working together, we can make sure Virginia students get their best results on The Nation’s Report Card. To learn more, and to see actual questions
used on previous NAEP tests, visit us at: nationsreportcard.gov.

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