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Three Major NAEP Proposals

Governing Board Approves Three Major NAEP Proposals: Grade 8 Science Assessment, Technology Framework, and Policy for SD, ELL Students


WASHINGTON (March 9, 2010) — The National Assessment Governing Board approved several initiatives related to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — a science assessment for grade 8 that will allow international comparisons, an innovate framework for new student testing in technology and engineering, and a new policy to increase the participation of students with disabilities (SD) and English language learners (ELL) in NAEP.

The Board, which met on March 4-6 in Washington, D.C., approved adding 8th grade science to the NAEP schedule for next year. Both NAEP science and mathematics results would then be linked to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMMS, the major international assessment used to compare how students in different countries perform in these two subjects.

The Board also approved a technology and engineering literacy framework — the basis for a NAEP computer-based assessment in this area in 2014. Additionally, the Board approved a policy (PDF) for SD and ELL students that aims to increase inclusion in NAEP and reduce state-to-state differences in testing students for these two groups. The Board plans to monitor inclusion rates and report on progress.

"The Board took a historic step forward by unanimously approving these important actions that will maintain NAEP's strong standards and increase its usefulness to the nation," said Board Chair David Driscoll.

The technology and engineering framework covers a broad range of content and skills related to design and systems; information and communication technology; and technology and society. The document was developed by a wide panel of experts in fields such as education, engineering, policy, business, and digital communication, with their recommendations of what knowledge and skills students at the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades should have to demonstrate literacy in technology and engineering areas.

Because of its innovation and complexity the first assessment under the new framework was set for 2014, two years later than originally planned. The grade to be assessed will be decided by the Board in May. The Board is responsible for developing the content and design of all assessments in NAEP.

The varying inclusion rates across states of SD and ELL students who take NAEP led the Board to create an Ad Hoc Committee of Board members to comprehensively examine the issue and reduce the variability in NAEP participation across states. The process also included gathering feedback from two expert panels and soliciting public comments in several cities, including Los Angeles; El Paso, Texas; and Washington, D.C.

The policy approved by the Board offers recommendations designed to maximize SD and ELL student participation and provide greater uniformity in inclusion practices and accommodations used for NAEP. For example, the policy calls for bilingual versions of NAEP in Spanish and English to be prepared in all subjects, other than reading and writing. And the policy clarifies that only SD students with an Individualized Education Program or a Section 504 plan under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are eligible for accommodations on NAEP. The policy sets a goal that exclusions should not exceed 5 percent of all students selected for any NAEP sample.

"The Board felt it was time to set reasonable goals and put forth a logical process that will bring as many students into NAEP as possible," said Driscoll, who was also the 22nd Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts from 1998 to 2007.

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.