Office of Assessment
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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
National, State, and TUDA NAEP Overview
National NAEP is administered every year. State and TUDA NAEP are administered every two years, in odd-numbered years. The frameworks upon which the assessments are based change approximately every decade to reflect changes in curriculum in the nation's schools.
National NAEP reports statistical information about student performance and factors related to educational performance for the nation and for specific student groups in the population (e.g. race/ethnicity, gender). It includes students drawn from both public and private and reports results for student achievement at grades 4, 8, and 12. National NAEP measures the knowledge of students across the nation in the following subject areas:
- The Arts
- Technology and Engineering Literacy
- U.S. History
- World History
Main NAEP assessments are constructed using detailed frameworks that result from a comprehensive national process in which teachers, curriculum experts, policymakers, and members of the general public work to create a unified vision of how a particular subject ought to be assessed. This vision is based on current educational research on achievement and its measurement, as well as sound educational practices. These frameworks are updated approximately every decade in order to keep them current.
National probability samples of schools and students are designed to be representative of the geographical, racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity of the schools and students selected to represent the United States. The number of schools and students selected varies from cycle to cycle depending on the number of subjects and items assessed. This national sample has sufficient schools and students to yield data for public and private schools and four regions of the country (northeast, southeast, central, and west), as well as gender, race, degree of urbanization of school location, parent education, and participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
Students are selected randomly within schools. In each school, 30 to 150 students are selected depending on the size of the school and the number of subjects to be assessed. Some of the students who are randomly selected are classified as students with disabilities (SD) or as English language learners (ELL). NAEP's goal is to assess all students in the sample; consequently, some testing accommodations are available in order to facilitate participation of as many selected students as possible.
The number of schools selected for the assessment ranges from 900 to 2,500 and the number of students from 40,000 to 150,000. Again, the variation depends on the number of subjects to be assessed and the number of assessment booklets developed for each subject. Generally, the requirement is for each booklet to be administered to 2,000 students.
State NAEP allows states to have a uniform measure to chart progress over time and compare student achievement with other states that share similar characteristics (e.g., population, geography, demographics). NAEP introduced state-level assessments in part because different assessments are given in each state, making direct comparisons of state-to-state results invalid. NAEP allows states to monitor their own progress over time in the selected subject areas. They can then compare the knowledge and skills of their students with students in other states and the nation. State NAEP assesses at grades 4 and 8 in 52 jurisdictions. Grade 12 state-level NAEP began in 2009 as a pilot assessment in Florida and 10 other states.
Through 1988, NAEP reported the academic achievement of the nation as a whole and subgroups within the population. Because the national samples were not designed to support the reporting of accurate and representative state-level results, Congress passed legislation in 1988 authorizing a voluntary Trial State Assessment (TSA). Separate representative samples of students were selected for each state or jurisdiction that agreed to participate in state NAEP. Trial state assessments were conducted in 1990, 1992, and 1994 and were evaluated thoroughly. Beginning with the 1996 assessment, the authorizing statute no longer considered the state component "trial."
A significant change to state NAEP occurred with the the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act of 2001 (No Child Left Behind). This legislation requires states that receive Title I funding to participate in state NAEP in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8 every two years. State participation in other state NAEP subjects (science and writing) remains voluntary. The assessments given in the states are exactly the same as those given nationally. The assessments follow the subject area frameworks developed by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and use the latest advances in assessment methodology.
Only a sample of schools is chosen to participate in NAEP. Participants are selected through a scientific sampling method (systematic sampling with probability-proportional size). No Florida officials or educators participate in the selection process, and the results of Florida's private schools are not included in state-level results.
The number of schools and students in Florida selected to participate in state NAEP varies from year to year, depending upon the number of subjects to be assessed. A national sample of nonpublic (private) schools, including nonpublic schools in Florida, is also selected for grades 4, 8, and 12. NAEP requires some administrative assistance from a designated school NAEP coordinator, but the NAEP contractor staff is responsible for the administration of the assessment. The NAEP assessments are designed to minimize classroom intrusion, usually requiring less than 120 minutes of total administration time.
Like the national assessment, state NAEP does not provide individual scores for the students or schools assessed. Instead, NAEP provides results about subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences, and school environment, and reports these results for populations of students (e.g., fourth-graders) and subgroups of those populations (e.g., male students, Hispanic students).
In 2001, after discussion among the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), Congress appropriated funds for a district-level NAEP assessment on a trial basis. A primary goal of the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) is to focus attention on urban education.
The assessments administered in TUDA are exactly the same as those given nationally in main NAEP, using identical administration procedures. Like the national and state main assessments, TUDA does not provide individual scores for students or schools. TUDA districts can monitor their progress over time in the selected subject areas at grades 4 and 8. In addition to comparing TUDA scores to those of the other TUDAs, TUDA district results are also compared to results from large cities nationwide.
In collaboration with NCES and CGCS, NAGB invites districts that meet certain selection criteria to volunteer to participate in TUDA. Selection criteria relate to
- district size,
- percentage of African American or Hispanic students, and
- percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or other appropriate indicator of income status.
Specific eligibility criteria and selection procedures (PDF) are on the NAGB website.
In 2002, NAGB authorized TUDA assessments in reading and writing in six urban districts. In 2003, TUDA continued with reading and mathematics assessments and, in 2005, with reading, mathematics, and science assessments. Eleven large urban school districts participated in 2005 and 2007. For 2009, 18 districts were invited by NAGB to participate in mathematics, reading, and science TUDA assessments at grades 4 and 8. Twenty-one districts participated in the NAEP 2011 and 2013 assessments in mathematics and reading.
The sample of schools drawn for the TUDA assessment is representative of all students in the district. From each sampled school, a random sample of students is selected. The sample of students in the participating TUDA school districts is an extension of the sample of students that would usually be selected by NAEP as part of state and national samples. These extended samples allow reliable reporting of student groups within these districts. Results for students in the TUDA samples are also included in state and national samples with appropriate weighting.
The numbers of students assessed varies across the districts. Students with disabilities (SD) and English language learners (ELL) are included in the samples and provided allowable accommodations, as needed, to enable them to access the assessment. Accommodations cannot change the underlying construct or skill being measured.