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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

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Red Arrow NAEP: Overview [Summary]

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what American students know and can do in various academic subjects in grades 4, 8, and 12. Authorized and funded by Congress, it is commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card. Its surveys have been conductedon a national sample basis since 1969 in reading, mathematics, science, writing, history, geography, and other elementary and secondary school subjects. NAEP state-by-state assessments – also based on a representative sample of schools – began in 1990. Starting in 2002, NAEP also conducts the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) to study the feasibility of district-level reporting as a component of the NAEP program.

Since 1982, the NAEP High School Transcript Study has been undertaken in conjunction with the national NAEP to examine the changes in high school course offerings and student course-taking over time. A key feature of this special NAEP study is to examine the relationship between the courses selected by twelfth-grade students and their performance on NAEP.

NAEP’s national samples include both public and private schools. In contrast, the NAEP biennial state-by-state and TUDA samples are of public schools only. Under P.L. 107-110, the No Child Left Behind(NCLB) Act of 2001, all states accepting Title I funds are required to participate in NAEP reading and mathematics assessments in the fourth and eighth grades, starting in 2003. However, student participation and parental consent remains voluntary for all NAEP assessments.

The National Assessment Governing Board, sets policy and provides oversight of NAEP. The National Center for Education Statistics is responsible for administering the project.

Since 1969, NAEP has produced more than 200 reports in 11 instructional areas.

By making objective information on student performance available to policymakers at the national, state, and local levels, NAEP is an important part of our nation’s evaluation of the condition and progress of education.