Governing Board Approves Updated Assessment Schedule to Reflect Congressional Waiver Postponing NAEP in 2021 Due to Pandemic

Governing Board Approves Updated Assessment Schedule to Reflect Congressional Waiver Postponing NAEP in 2021 Due to Pandemic


For immediate release: March 5, 2021

Contact: Stephaan Harris, (202) 357-7504,

Reading and Math Assessments for grades 4 and 8 now in even years, starting in 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of the National Assessment Governing Board voted today to revise the assessment schedule for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to align with a congressional waiver postponing the NAEP administration in 2021 because of COVID-19.

The updated schedule calls for legislatively mandated NAEP Mathematics and Reading in grades 4 and 8 to formally move to 2022 and now be conducted in even numbered years, retaining the requirement that these subjects and grade levels be administrated every two years. The schedule also calls for continuing to provide results for the nation, states, and urban districts that are part of NAEP’s Trial Urban District Assessment program.

The updated schedule, approved by the 26-member Board that oversees NAEP, also postpones NAEP Mathematics and Reading in grade 12 from 2023 to 2024, with administration to follow at least every four years thereafter. The changes for reading and math necessitated adjusting administration years for other subjects on the schedule. Corresponding changes include:

  • Moving the administration of NAEP Science; Technology and Engineering Literacy; and transcript studies from 2023 and 2027, to 2024 and 2028.
  • Moving the long-term trend assessments from 2024 and 2028, to 2025 and 2029.
  • Moving NAEP Civics and U.S. History from 2025 and 2029, to 2026 and 2030.
  • Moving NAEP Writing from 2029 to 2030.

Throughout 2020, the Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)—which administers NAEP—monitored the evolving conditions related to the pandemic and the consequences on schools and students, as well as the states and districts that would be involved in testing. After exploring all avenues to attempt to conduct the 2021 assessments, it was determined NAEP could not be feasibly conducted in 2021. After its November meeting, the Board submitted letters to Congress that supported postponing the 2021 administration to 2022. Congress then passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included a waiver for 2021 NAEP administration.

Through this waiver, Congress acknowledged the operational limitations of conducting NAEP in 2021 during COVID-19, allowing the Governing Board and NCES to postpone the legislatively mandated 2021 administration of NAEP Mathematics and Reading in grades 4 and 8.

“We appreciate Congress’ waiver and financial support of the NAEP program. When NAEP administration returns in 2022, the results will provide useful and relevant information on student achievement to the public in this unique and challenging time,” said Gov. Haley Barbour, the chair of the Board. “This updated schedule reflects the realities posed by the pandemic while retaining the breadth and depth of important assessments that are the hallmark of The Nation’s Report Card.” 

Download the PDF version of the release here.

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The National Assessment Governing Board is an independent, nonpartisan 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 set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. For more information, visit