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Board Awards Contract to Standards Work, Inc.

Governing Board Awards Contract to Standards Work, Inc. To Improve School and Student Participation in 12th Grade NAEP

The National Assessment Governing Board has awarded a $187,000 contract to StandardsWork, Inc., of Washington, DC, to prepare recommendations for ways to improve participation of high schools and 12th grade students selected to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

In recent years, fewer high schools have been agreeing to participate in the 12th grade assessments. Also, concerns have been raised that the 12th grade students selected for the NAEP sample may not be putting forth their best effort on the assessment, coming as it does in the early spring of their senior year. These two factors raise a crucial problem for NAEP—the possible underestimate of 12th grade student achievement.

To address this problem, the Governing Board established a national commission to suggest ways to improve school participation and foster students to "try hard" on NAEP. The commission recommended that NAEP

"develop and implement bold and dramatically new incentives to increase the participation of high schools and 12thgrade students in NAEP and the motivation of 12th grade students to do their best on NAEP."

The contract with StandardsWork, Inc. is designed to help the Governing Board find new and effective ways to improve school and student participation in NAEP at the high school level. Through focus groups and interviews with high school principals, 12th grade students, teachers, and others, StandardsWork, Inc. will develop recommendations for a communications plan and possible incentives to use in gaining their full cooperation in the assessment.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only assessment given to a nationally representative sample of 12th graders across the United States. In fourth and eighth grades NAEP is administered both to a national sample and to representative samples of public school students in each state.

StandardsWork, Inc., is a nonprofit education consultancy concerned with advancing standards-based education reform. Since 1992, StandardsWork, Inc. has worked with states and communities throughout the country to improve student performance through the development and implementation of grade-by-grade standards, results-based evaluation systems, and other quality tools and processes.

The 26-member National Assessment Governing Board, established by Congress in 1988, sets policy for the National Assessment. It is composed of state and local officials, educators, and business and public representatives. By statute, the Board is responsible for determining the content of NAEP assessments and for setting "appropriate student achievement levels" for each grade and subject tested.

The assessment is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.

Ray Fields

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only nationally representative, continuing evaluation of the condition of education in the United States. It has served as a national yardstick of student achievement since 1969. Through the Nation's Report Card, NAEP informs the public about what American students know and can do in various subject areas and compares achievement between states, large urban districts, and various student demographic groups.
The National Assessment Governing Board is an independent, bipartisan board whose members include governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives and members of the general public. Congress created the 26-member Governing Board in 1988 to oversee and set policy for NAEP.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Center for Education Statistics, within the Institute of Education Sciences, administers NAEP. The Commissioner of Education Statistics is responsible by law for carrying out the NAEP project.