Seven Urban Districts and 12th Grade State Pilot Program Added To The Nation's Report Card
WASHINGTON (April 10, 2008) - The Nation's Report Card will now expand to include seven more big-city school districts and a pilot 12th grade state assessment program in reading and math, becoming the latest additions to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
The National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP, approved seven districts-Baltimore City; Detroit; Fresno, Calif.; Louisville, Ky. (Jefferson County); Miami (Dade County); Milwaukee; and Philadelphia-to join 11 others already part of the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), a special, voluntary study that has measured student performance city-wide on math, reading, writing and science since 2002. TUDA tests representative samples of students and reports district-level results from that assessment.
The Board also approved the first-ever 12th grade NAEP assessment in math and reading at the state level. The participating states in this pilot program will include Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Assessments for both the urban districts and the states are slated to be conducted in 2009, and participation is strictly voluntary. Under the pilot, state-representative samples of high school seniors would be assessed and state-level results would be reported.
"We hope the TUDA expansion and the 12th grade state NAEP will lay the foundation for a more detailed look into how students are performing at the local level and in comparison to peers in other urban districts and other states," said Charles Smith, Governing Board Executive Director.
To be eligible for TUDA, districts have to be in cities with a population of 250,000 or more, while having at least half of its student population be African-American or Hispanic, or eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. TUDA districts are also required to be large enough to support testing three NAEP subjects per year in grades 4 and 8. In 2009 for example, NAEP will administer reading, math, and science exams. In 2013, reading, math, and writing will be tested in those grades. The seven districts accepted now join these other TUDA cities: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, and Washington, DC.
The idea for a big-city version of the national NAEP originated in 2000, when the Council of the Great City Schools-a coalition of the nation's large urban public school districts-requested the Governing Board to conduct a trial NAEP assessment for willing large urban school districts.
"The expansion of TUDA is a major step forward in efforts by urban school leaders to improve the academic achievement of our students," said Michael Casserly, the Council's executive director. "The Council and the local school leaders have used the assessment results to shape new teaching strategies, curriculum changes, staff development, and other important reform efforts in the urban districts."
For the 12th grade state NAEP pilot, each of the 11 states will have a representative sample of its high school seniors take part in a reading and math NAEP, a process that will allow for state-by-state comparisons of high school seniors.
"This pilot study comes at an important time as we continue to examine ways to encourage high school participation," said Mark Schneider, Commissioner for the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Education Department. "State-level 12th grade results will give educators, parents, and state policymakers a powerful source of information to understand the knowledge and skills their high school seniors have as they prepare to graduate."
The 12th grade state NAEP and the TUDA extension were made possible after Congress approved an increase in NAEP's budget this fiscal year for these purposes by $10 million, with a further budget increase recommended by President Bush for 2008-2009.
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.