Evolution of Inclusion in NAEP
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NAEP Focused Reporting:
Implementing the Inclusion Policy

 

Introduction

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) measures student achievement in the nation, across states and jurisdictions, and in 27 large urban districts. All students who can meaningfully participate take the assessments, including students with disabilities (SD) and English language learners (ELL). Inclusion of these students protects the validity of NAEP results by ensuring that those results represent all students. It’s also a civil rights issue: all students must have equal opportunity for their academic performance to be measured.

Evolution of Inclusion in NAEP Assessments

For decades, ELLs and SDs were included in the NAEP student samples. Until the mid-1990s, however, many of these students could not participate in the assessments, because they required testing accommodations that the NAEP program did not offer. Once accommodations were introduced, participation of ELLs and SDs increased.

The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), recognizing variability in inclusion rates among states, adopted an inclusion policy in 2010 which set a goal of 95 percent inclusion for all students and 85 percent of both ELLs and SDs in the assessments. This policy fostered greater participation of ELLs and SDs in NAEP and achieved greater consistency in inclusion rates across states. More recently, NAEP has introduced digitally-administered assessments, incorporating principles of universal design that allow features previously listed as accommodations to be available to all students.

Timeline

1969 – 1994

SDs and ELLs included but no testing accommodations

1994 – 1996

Research conducted on how to include accommodations in NAEP

1996 – 2010

Accommodations allowed on NAEP but prior to Governing Board inclusion policy enactment

2010 – present

Governing Board inclusion policy adopted; NAEP transition to digitally-based assessments and universal design

 

The bar chart below shows that the percent of students identified as ELL or SD has swelled from 1992 to 2017, as indicated by the height of each bar. Yet, as the decreasing size of the red lower portions of each bar indicates, the exclusion rate has declined, until 5 percent or less of all students are now excluded from NAEP. Much of this greater inclusion stems from the greater availability and use of testing accommodations, shown by the expanding middle yellow sections of each bar. The green portion of each bar indicates the percentage of disabled students and English language learners assessed under standard conditions, i.e., without accommodations.

Stacked bar chart title NAEP Grade 4 Reading Assessment: Percentage of Total Sample Identified SD and/or ELL. The bars show the percentage of the total sample in NAEP assessment years from 1992 to 2017 who were identified as students with disabilities (SD) and/or English language learners (ELL). Each bar is further divided into three segments to indicate the percentage of these students who were excluded from NAEP assessments, assessed with accommodations, or assessed without accommodations. The chart shows that the exclusion rate decreased from 6% to 2% over this period, while the percentage assessed with accommodations increased from 0% to 12% and the percentage assessed without accommodations increased from 4% to 10%.

Reading Grade 4

In 2009 (pre-Board policy), exclusion rates in the states ranged from 1 percent to 11 percent. In 2017, no state exceeded 4 percent of all students excluded. Additionally, the percent of excluded ELLs and SDs has decreased in all states. The table below shows the percent of ELLs and SDs excluded in 2009, prior to the Governing Board’s adoption of their inclusion policy, and in 2017. These states exemplify large reductions in exclusion since adoption of the Governing Board policy. Many other states experienced declines in exclusion as well during this time period.

 

Percentage of fourth-grade public and nonpublic school students identified as students with disabilities (SD) and/or English language learners (ELL) excluded from NAEP reading, as a percentage of all students, for the nation and selected states: 2009, 2017
Location 2009 2017
Nation 5 2
Maryland 11 3
Texas 9 4
DC 11 3
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2017 Reading Assessment

 

The following table shows the percentage of ELLs excluded from the grade 4 reading assessment, as a percentage of identified ELLs. Nine years ago, 31 states exceeded the 15 percent goal for ELL exclusion; in 2017, seven states exceeded the goal.

 

Percentage of fourth-grade public and nonpublic school English language learners (ELL) excluded in NAEP reading, as a percentage of identified ELLs, for the nation and selected states: 2009, 2017
Location 2009 2017
Nation 16 7
Maryland 52 12
Ohio 35 6
Texas 28 6
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2017 Reading Assessment

 

State exclusion rates for the 2017 mathematics assessment are available at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2017/#/about/framework?grade=4, and for reading at https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2017/#/about/framework?grade=4. Scroll down to the bottom of these web pages to download detailed tables.