NAEP has grown and changed in many ways since the first assessment in 1969–1970. Changes are illustrated in this brief history of NAEP contractors from the present to the beginning.
The NCES Assessment Division currently has nine contractors, plus contracts with individual states and other jurisdictions, working to carry out the NAEP Assessments. Seven major contracts awarded to four contractors comprise the NAEP Alliance that guides the major aspects of assessment design, item development, data collection, processing and scoring data analysis and reporting. Other contractors are responsible for one or more aspects of NAEP operations. The contractors are listed below in alphabetical order. The introductory information presented below has been taken from the respective organizations' websites.
American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is an independent, nonpartisan not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of education, student assessment, statistical and research methods, health, usability, and workforce productivity. Website: http://www.air.org
AIR holds these contracts:
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public. Website: http://www.ccsso.org
CCSSO holds this contract:
CRP is a minority female-owned and operated small business that provides comprehensive research, training, workforce and organization development, evaluation, and other specialized services to government, industry, and other organizational systems. It was founded in 1988, and is located in Washington, DC. Website: http://www.crpcorp.com
CRP holds this contract:
Educational Testing Service (ETS) (Alliance Coordinator)
ETS is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1947. The ETS mission is to advance quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research, and related services. ETS products and services measure knowledge and skills, promote learning and educational performance, and support education and professional development for all people worldwide. ETS has been a NAEP contractor since 1983. Website: http://www.ets.org
ETS currently holds these contracts:
Alliance Coordination: To ensure coordination among Alliance contractors and to maintain data for tracking the program progress.
Design, Analysis, and Reporting: To design all pilot and field tests, operational assessments and special studies; to analyze data to ensure the reporting of valid results; to propose and study psychometric and statistical analyses compatible with previous NAEP methodologies; to determine the data needed to meet the goals for reporting; and to prepare reports.
Item Development: To develop the cognitive variables, cognitive items, and scoring rubrics for all NAEP assessments and to participate in reviews of items.
Fulcrum IT Services Company (Alliance member)
Fulcrum IT Services Company (formerly GMRI) was founded in 2006 and is an ISO 9001:2008 registered information technology (IT) company that provides solutions and services for federal, state, and local government customers. While being a small business, Fulcrum IT offers the kind of experience and knowledge found in larger businesses to deliver best-value solutions for e-business, storage, enterprise operations, and information and infrastructure assurance. Fulcrum IT has been involved in the NAEP program as the web technology experts since 2002, specializing in web content management, e-learning, e-business, and e-collaboration. Website: http://www.fulcrumit.com
Fulcrum IT holds this contract:
Web/Technology Development, Operations, and Maintenance: To acquire, develop, implement, and support web/technology services for NAEP and the NAEP contractors; to identify and deploy emerging technologies and new products to improve NAEP offerings; to ensure timely services and release of quality products using web technologies, and to enhance and expand NAEP web/technology infrastructure and systems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NAEP program.
Hager Sharp is a communications firm with a mission: to help people live healthier, smarter, safer lives by providing strategic communications counsel and designing national public education and social marketing campaigns that get attention and results. Founded in 1973, Hager Sharp is employee-owned, based in Washington, DC, and supports health, education, and public safety clients with "communications that make a difference." Website: http://www.hagersharp.com
Hager Sharp holds this contract:
Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO)
Human Resources Research Organization was founded in 1951. HumRRO's goal is to develop and apply state-of-the-art science and technology to improve the performance of individuals and teams within public and private organizations and educational institutions. HumRRO is a non-profit organization of multidisciplinary professionals, including research scientists who are experts in industrial and experimental psychology and related fields such as management analysis, sociology, operations research, computer science, economics, and educational research, who conduct research, develop products, and provide services to improve individual, team, and organizational performance. Website: http://www.humrro.org
HumRRO holds this contract:
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC
Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC (Optimal) is located at the University of Maryland's M Square Research Park in College Park, MD and is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm. Optimal provides advanced analytics and innovative approaches such as real-time data collection, analysis, and reporting to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Optimal has four research centers: Health, Education, Housing, and Workforce Development and Social Policy. Website: http://optimalsolutionsgroup.com
Optimal Solutions Group holds this contract:
Pearson (Alliance member)
Educational Measurement is a part of Pearson, a global provider of applications, services, and technologies for education, testing, assessment, government, and complex data management. This division, based in Iowa City, it is the largest commercial processor of K-12 tests in the U.S. NCS Pearson operates as a business of Pearson Education, the world’s largest integrated education company, which in turn is part of Pearson. NCS was founded in 1962 and joined Pearson in 2000. NCS Pearson has been a NAEP contractor or subcontractor since 1989. Website: http://www.pearson.com
Pearson holds this contract:
Materials Preparation, Distribution, and Scoring: To prepare and package the assessment and all auxiliary materials; to distribute assessment booklets and materials to the test administrators for each school; to develop training and scoring materials; and to score all assessments.
State Education Agencies (SEAs)
Fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity are jurisdictions that regularly participate in NAEP; currently, 48 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico have Coordinators under contract. The staff that work with NAEP for each jurisdiction are the assessment director and an appointed NAEP Coordinator. Contact information for the NAEP Coordinator and for their education department websites is in State Profiles on this website.
The SEAs are in charge of multiple contracts:
Westat (Alliance member)
Westat is an employee-owned research corporation, founded in 1961. A leading statistical survey research organization with expertise in statistical sample design, Westat also provides custom research and program evaluation studies across a broad range of subject areas and capabilities in survey and analytical methods, computer systems technology, biomedical science, and clinical trials. Westat has been a NAEP contractor or subcontractor since 1989. Website: http://www.westat.com
Westat holds these contracts:
Sampling and Data Collection: To select representative samples; to prepare sample weights for NAEP assessments; to administer assessments and collect data from field tests, operational assessments, and special studies; and to ship completed assessment materials to the scoring sites.
NAEP State Service Center: To support the NAEP State and TUDA Coordinators through training, materials, and resources to ensure their ongoing successful support of NAEP in their states and districts.
Kauffman & Associates, Inc. (KAI)
KAI is a SBA-Certified Small Disadvantaged Business, SBA-Certified 8(a) founded in 1990 and specializing in public health, education and economic development issues. KAI offers management support, research and evaluation, communications, and information technology services to federal, tribal, state, and regional governments, associations, foundations, and private-sector businesses. KAI is contracted to provide support to the National Indian Education Study conducted by NCES. KAI ensures participation of the schools overseen by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) in NAEP, develops brochure and other materials for communication, supports dissemination of the results. Website: http://www.kauffmaninc.com/
KAI holds this contract, from 2010 through January 2015:
Windwalker Corporation held the NIES Support contract from 2004 through 2009. Windwalker is a small American Indian owned business that designs, conducts, and reports on research, assessment, and evaluation projects at international, national, state, and local levels. Windwalker developed brochures, flyers, and other materials to promote participation in the study and use of the data, and represented NIES at conferences and other events until 2009. Website: http://www.windwalker.com
The 2003–2007 assessments were conducted under cooperative agreements by a team of contractors:
Alliance Coordination; Design, Analysis, and Reporting; and Item Development for Mathematics, Reading, Science, and Writing: Educational Testing Service (ETS) was awarded the contract for ensuring coordination among the contractors in the team and maintaining data for tracking the program progress; to design all pilot and field tests, operational assessments, and special studies; to analyze data to ensure the reporting of valid results; to propose and study psychometric and statistical analyses compatible with previous NAEP methodologies; to determine the data needed to meet the goals for reporting; and to prepare reports;and to develop items in mathematics, reading, science, and writing.
Item Development: American Institutes for Research (AIR) was awarded the contract for item development for national-only subjects, including contextual variables, cognitive items, and scoring rubrics; to assist in scoring and the training of scorers; to conduct small-scale pilot tests of the items and rubrics; and to participate in reviews of items.
Materials Preparation, Distribution, and Scoring: Awarded to Pearson, to prepare and package the assessment and all auxiliary materials; to distribute assessment booklets and materials to the test administrators for each school; to develop training and scoring materials; and to score all assessments.
Sampling and Data Collection: Awarded to Westat, Inc., to select representative samples; to prepare sample weights for NAEP assessments; to administer assessments and collect data from field tests, operational assessments, and special studies; and to ship completed assessment materials to the scoring sites.
Web Operations and Maintenance: Awarded to Government Micro Resources, Inc., known as Fulcrum IT Services Company as of 2006, to acquire, develop, implement, and support Internet-related applications and services for NAEP and the NAEP contractors; to identify and deploy emerging technologies and new products to improve NAEP offerings; and to ensure timely services and release of quality products using web technologies.
Another six activities were procured under the U.S. Department of Education's General Services Administration (GSA) schedule or a Multiple Award Task Order (MATO) contract.
Dissemination and Outreach: Awarded to Hager Sharp, to create a “Family of Products” design for all NAEP products; to design and produce a portable convention booth to display materials; to produce a video that showcases and promotes public awareness of NAEP; to provide set-up and staffing of booth for two major conferences/conventions per year; to create dissemination plans for NAEP reports, special studies, and secondary analysis grants.
State Service Center: Awarded to Westat, Inc., to establish a NAEP State Service Center to provide ongoing support, technical assistance, and training for the NAEP State Coordinators; to answer information requests regarding NAEP; and to maintain a NAEP Information Center.
NAEP State Coordinators: Awarded to individual State Education Agencies, to serve as the liaison between the State Education Agency and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); to serve as the state's representative to review NAEP assessment items and processes; to coordinate the NAEP administration in the state; to analyze and report NAEP data; and to coordinate the use of NAEP results for policy and program planning.
State Analysis: Awarded to American Institutes for Research (AIR), to enhance the NAEP's capability to monitor academic progress and the performance trends of states and their identified student groups; portray patterns of achievement gaps between the student groups on NAEP state assessments; explain the NAEP state results; and identify patterns of performance that could affect NAEP assessments in states/jurisdictions.
Meeting Logistics: Awarded to Hager Sharp, to provide support to NAEP and NAEP contractors by planning meetings, staffing meetings, arranging travel, and related activities for meetings within and external to the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
NAEP Quality Assurance: Awarded to Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), to assure the integrity of NAEP assessments and the assessment process through ongoing monitoring and identification of potential technical and operational errors.
For 1996–1998, and then again for the 2000–2002 assessment cycles, cooperative agreements were awarded for
These awards went to ETS and Westat, Inc., respectively.
For the 2000–2002 cycles, ETS conducted the scoring, analysis, and reporting cooperative agreement, with subcontracts to AIR for questionnaire development; to NCS Pearson for printing, mailing, and scoring of test booklets; and to Aspen Systems Corporation for meeting logistics. Westat, Inc., conducted the sampling and data collection cooperative agreement.
In 1994, four cooperative agreements were awarded:
ETS was awarded the cooperative agreements for 1, 2, and 4. National Computer Systems (NCS) was the scoring, printing and distribution subcontractor for these three cooperative agreements.
Westat, Inc., was awarded the cooperative agreement for 3, national sampling and data collection. Westat was also the subcontractor for sampling and monitoring data collection for the state assessment (4).
In 1989, the project was administered as a contract vehicle, which ETS won for 1990–1992. NAEP operations project tasks included sampling, data collection, scoring, analysis, and reporting. ETS subcontracted sampling and data collection tasks to Westat, Inc., and scoring, printing, and distribution responsibilities to NCS.
In 1983, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) won the grant competition and assumed responsibility for administration of the project.
NAEP was administered by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) through 1983 under several grants and, for at least one assessment cycle, a contract.
Learn more about NAEP's history.