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The Board's Role

The National Assessment Governing Board was created by Congress in 1988 as an independent, nonpartisan board to set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card.

In overseeing The Nation’s Report Card, the Governing Board identifies subjects to be tested, determines the content and achievement levels for each assessment, approves all test questions, and takes steps to improve the reporting of results. The Governing Board is responsible for communicating NAEP results to a wide range of audiences.

The National Assessment Governing Board is committed to maintaining the integrity and independence of The Nation’s Report Card as a trusted yardstick for U.S. student achievement. The Governing Board works closely with the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers NAEP.

Overseeing The Nation's Report Card

View a video that describes the Governing Board's role in setting policy for NAEP through the lens of four members, who describe how their leadership roles inform their service to the Governing Board and help maintain NAEP as the country's gold standard of assessment.

Learn More About the Governing Board

Congress established the Governing Board to ensure that decisions on the content, standards, and reporting of NAEP are made independently of the U.S. Department of Education. The NAEP law states that the Governing Board shall exercise “its independent judgment free from inappropriate influences and special interests … independent of the Secretary and other offices and officers of the Department.”

Governing Board members represent a range of backgrounds. Membership must, by law, include two state governors, who may not be members of the same political party, and two state legislators, who must also belong to different parties. The other members are selected on a nonpartisan basis.

As specified in Public Law 107–279, the Governing Board’s responsibilities include:

  • Selecting subject areas to be assessed
  • Developing appropriate student achievement levels
  • Developing NAEP frameworks, which are assessment objectives and test specifications that produce a valid and reliable assessment and that are based on relevant and widely accepted professional standards
  • Designing the methodology of the assessment
  • Developing guidelines for reporting and disseminating results
  • Developing standards and procedures for regional and national comparisons
  • Approving all cognitive and noncognitive NAEP items
  • Taking appropriate actions to improve the form, content, use, and reporting of results
  • Planning and executing the initial public releases of The Nation’s Report Card

Read the Governing Board’s current bylaws for more information on Governing Board membership, functions, meetings, and committee structure.

The National Assessment Governing Board conducts its work and carries out its responsibilities through five standing committees. The full Governing Board and its committees meet quarterly. Committees monitor external contracts, prepare and recommend procedures for reporting and disseminating NAEP results, review and recommend test content for NAEP, and recommend policies to the full Governing Board to guide other NAEP activities.

The 2023-2024 committee structure can be found here.

The National Assessment Governing Board conducts an extensive, broad-based nationwide search every year for nominees in the Governing Board categories prescribed by law.

The Governing Board’s Nominations Committee receives the nominations, conducts independent ratings of candidates’ resumes, and recommends finalists to the full Governing Board. The finalists’ resumes are submitted to the secretary of education. The secretary’s office conducts a thorough review of the submitted candidates and typically announces Governing Board appointments in the fall, for terms beginning October 1 of that year. Board appointments usually span four years.

An incumbent member who wishes to seek a second term, and who still qualifies in an open category, can request that his or her name be included among the candidates sent to the secretary for consideration. Incumbents may be selected by the secretary for reappointment to a second term. Board members can serve a maximum of two four-year terms.

Learn how to nominate a colleague to serve on the Governing Board.