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NAEP Testing for Twelfth-Graders: Motivational Issues

NAEP Testing for Twelfth-Graders: Motiviational Issues

This commissioned paper draws on theory and research on motivation in education to identify principles that might guide the National Assessment Governing Board’s decision-making concerning twelfth-grade NAEP.  It draws on three major areas of motivational theory to analyze the motivational challenges that need to be faced and identify principles that might guide efforts to address these challenges.  It summarizes the motivational aspects of both the negative case (abandon twelfth-grade NAEP testing) and the positive case (continue or expand it).  In elaborating the positive case, it identifies several strategies that might be employed in recruiting twelfth-graders not only to participate in NAEP but to engage in it with optimal motivational orientations.  Most of these strategies would require departures from traditional NAEP procedures, however. 

Given the nature and purposes of the NAEP program, successful implementation of twelfth-grade NAEP would require not only recruiting an appropriate sample of students to participate, but enticing these students to do so with high levels of engagement that feature desired motivational orientations.  In particular, it would be important to encourage the students to perceive participating in NAEP as a worthwhile thing to do, to feel that they are acting autonomously when choosing to do so, and to understand the purpose. 

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