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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Florida National Assessment of Educational Prgress (NAEP)

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Description of NAEP Scoring Metrics

NAEP is an assessment of overall achievement rather than a diagnostic test for individuals or groups of students.

NAEP provides results about the following:

  • Subject-Matter Achievement
  • Instructional Experiences
  • School Environment

These results are reported as follows:

  • by populations of students (e.g., fourth-graders)
  • by student groups of those populations (e.g., male students, Hispanic students)

NAEP informs policymakers about relationships between student achievement and the following key background variables:

  • Gender
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Exceptionality (students with disabilities and English language learners)
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Region of the Country
  • Type of School Location (city, suburb, town, rural)
  • Public or Nonpublic School.

NAEP also provides comparative data on the performance of the nation, states, and selected urban districts.

NAEP does not provide scores for individual students or schools. Federal law requires that NAEP data on individual students and schools remain confidential.

Subject-matter achievement is reported in two ways—scale scores and, using that point scale, by achievement levels—so that student performance can be more easily understood.

The scale score range for NAEP Reading and Mathematics is 0 - 500. For NAEP Science and Writing the scale score range is 0 - 300. Scale scores are reported as averages and as percentiles (10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th). Because NAEP scale scores are reported as an average for groups of students, they may obscure progress or problems related to school performance across a distribution of scores.

NAEP achievement levels offer a means of identifying percentages of students who have demonstrated certain subject specific proficiencies. Authorized by NAEP legislation and adopted by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), the three achievement levels are determined by cutpoints based on the collective judgments of experts about what students should know and be able to do. Results show how different groups are performing in relation to each other and over time. The NAEP three achievement levels are as follows:

  • Basic - Partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade
  • Proficient - Solid academic performance and competence over challenging subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter
  • Advanced - Superior performance

Students whose scores fall below the cutscore for basic are considered "below Basic". NAGB believes that all students should reach the Proficient level.

Because NAEP scales and achievement levels are developed independently for each subject, student performance cannot be compared across subjects. However, these reporting metrics facilitate performance comparisons within a subject from year to year and from one group of students to another in the same grade.

Beginning in 2003, NAEP reading and mathematics state assessment scores for the 4th and 8th grades began providing an alternative measure of state educational progress as required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.

Results from NAEP and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT, FCAT 2.0, and End-of-Course (EOC) assessments) will differ for the following reasons:

  • Purpose
  • Testing context
  • Content assessed and item characteristics
  • Score scale
  • Proficiency-level standards
  • Motivation level of the students (FCAT 2.0 and EOC assessments are high stakes test while NAEP is not)
  • Population assessed (FCAT 2.0 assess all students and EOC assessments are for those students enrolled in a particular subject. NAEP assesses only a sample of the student population)


The NAEP contact for the state of Florida is Michele Sonnenfeld. She can be contacted by email at or by telephone at 850-245-0513.