NAGB Header Image

12th Grade Preparedness Contract Award

Governing Board Awards $3.2 Million Contract Related to 12th Grade Preparedness


WASHINGTON (October 08, 2010) — The National Assessment Governing Board has awarded a $3.25 million contract to San Francisco-based WestEd to develop cut scores in two areas of the upcoming Nation's Report Card - 12th grade preparedness for college course placement and job training.

The Board is preparing to set cut scores on the Grade 12 Reading and Mathematics 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card, in the following areas for each subject: student preparedness for placement in a college course that counts as credit toward fulfilling general education requirements for the subject; and student preparedness for entry in a job training course for five occupations. The Grade 12 reading and mathematics assessment results will be released later this year.

Panels of subject matter experts will determine the knowledge and skills needed for preparedness and engage in a standard setting process to recommend the NAEP score - i.e. the cut score - that represents the minimum level of performance associated with the performance standards. The contract will make way for WestEd to conduct a series of judgmental standard setting studies to eventually arrive at appropriate cut scores for these two areas of measurement and reporting on preparedness for both reading and mathematics.

This work is an important part of the Board's preparedness research program, which seeks to use NAEP as an indicator of academic preparedness for college coursework and job training. As part of an overall preparedness effort, the Board is conducting a large number of studies of multiple types designed to determine the level of performance on NAEP that serves to reference the academic knowledge and skills students need for placement in higher education courses and job training without remediation.

For this work, the Board provided a design document for the procedures to be implemented. Separate standard setting procedures will be implemented for the 2009 NAEP in mathematics and in reading in each of six different post-secondary activities (placement in non-remedial college credit-bearing courses in each subject and placement in job training courses for each of five different occupational areas). The design calls for replicate panels in each study and a pilot study for each type of study—a total of 28 panels will be engaged in this work.

WestEd, an education research and development agency, has subcontracted with two companies to complete the work: Measured Progress, a K-12 assessment developer will direct the standard setting procedures, and the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC), a research group specializing in career and college readiness, will take the lead in development of the performance level descriptions of preparedness for each study. The contract period is 15 months. The Governing Board has worked with WestEd for several previous projects, but this will be the first that involves standard setting.

Stephaan Harris

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.