NAGB Header Image

National Assessment Governing Board Approves an Updated Science Framework for the 2028 Nation’s Report Card

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2023
Stephaan Harris, (202) 357-7504

National Assessment Governing Board Approves an Updated Science Framework for the 2028 Nation’s Report Card
Updates prioritize greater focus on applying knowledge in the real world

WASHINGTON - The National Assessment Governing Board adopted an updated Science framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which will guide the development of the Science assessment to be administered in 2028.

Last updated in 2005, the newly approved Science Framework for NAEP, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, includes a greater emphasis on three areas, or pillars, across Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Sciences, including: (1) Disciplinary concepts, or well-tested theories and explanations; (2) Science and engineering practices, or the ways in which scientists develop scientific explanations of phenomena or design engineering solutions to problems; and (3) Crosscutting concepts, or concepts used across science disciplines that allow scientists to apply knowledge to new phenomena or problems.

These pillars provide actionable insight into how students understand phenomena and solve real-world problems, which is central to the scientific discipline. These concepts also align to large-scale trends in students’ science learning and are included in most state science standards, which have been guided by the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education.

“The innovations that impact our daily lives are grounded in science,” said Board Chair Hon. Beverly Perdue, former North Carolina governor. “With this update, we will understand students’ science skills and knowledge and can support their achievement and success in this important subject.”

“Science is a nuanced and difficult topic to assess when it comes to learning, and this revised framework recognizes that students need to develop these core foundational skills and knowledge of the principles of science to be successful in the future,” said Board member and Director of Government Affairs for the Palmetto State Teachers Association, Patrick Kelly, who leads the Assessment Development Committee, which oversees assessment frameworks.

The process of revising the framework began more than two years ago with the Governing Board’s recommendation to update the NAEP Science Framework after seeking feedback from the public and consulting with experts in the field. The Governing Board invited experts across education, science, research, and policy to serve on the Steering and Development Panels. The panelists represented diverse geographies, industries, grades in K-12 education, as well as depth of experience and expertise with science education, assessments, and knowledge. Several rounds of feedback from the Governing Board, stakeholders, and a formal public comment process led to the version adopted today.

With adoption of the revised framework, NCES will begin development of NAEP tasks and questions. The process will involve several rounds of testing and review before the updated assessment is administered in 2028. 

The full 2028 NAEP Science Framework and background materials can be viewed at:

Downlaod the PDF version of the release here.


About The National Assessment Governing Board

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