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Board Approves Updated NAEP Assessment Schedule

Governing Board Approves Updated NAEP Assessment Schedule

Changes include postponement of grade 12 in four subjects, long-term trend exams 

For Immediate Release: November 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The National Assessment Governing Board approved an updated schedule for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at its quarterly meeting in November. Responding to budget constraints and priorities for the NAEP program, the vote postpones the administration of grade 12 in four subjects and the next long-term trend exams by four years.

The updated schedule calls for grade 12 to be removed from the 2017 assessment of writing — which will just include grades 4 and 8 — and the 2018 assessment of U.S. history, geography, and civics, which will be conducted at grade 8 only. Grade 12 assessments in those subjects could be administered again in 2021 and 2022, respectively, provided sufficient funds. And NAEP’s long-term trend assessment, which tests the reading and mathematics achievement of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students over time on a national level, will be postponed from 2020 to 2024.

NAEP, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, is given to a representative sample of students and provides a snapshot of student achievement, across subjects and demographic groups by nation, state, and 21 large urban districts that are part of NAEP’s Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). The Governing Board sets policy for NAEP, and one of its duties is to determine the assessment schedule.

In light of budget estimates provided by the National Center for Education Statistics — which administers NAEP through funds from Congress — that projected a funding deficit, Board members postponed the upcoming assessments to protect its priorities for the NAEP program, including:

  • Transitioning NAEP to completely digitally-based assessments by 2017. This goal includes conducting studies to ensure the transition from a paper-and-pencil format to a digital format maintains the accuracy of state trends and results;
  • Continuing to assess broad-based curricular areas with a priority for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); and
  • Providing state-level data in curricular areas beyond reading and mathematics.

In its meeting, the Board noted that its fourth priority to include more districts in the TUDA program is not currently feasible, given the budget forecast for the NAEP program.

“I believe the Board made the best decision it could to both reflect the budget realities that face NAEP, and maintain its standing as the nation’s gold standard in assessment,” said Board Chair Terry Mazany. “Without a change in funding outlook, there could be more cuts to the assessment schedule, and upholding the breadth and depth of these valuable measures of educational progress would be compromised. NAEP offers vital student achievement data that many policy makers, researchers, educators, and parents rely on, and important information about educational progress will be lost if these assessments are diminished.”

At its August 2015 meeting, the Governing Board unanimously approved the Resolution on the Imperative for Increased NAEP Funding to make a public statement advocating the need to protect the program. Download the updated NAEP schedule of assessments and the funding resolution.

Download a pdf version of this release.