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NAEP Analysis and Scaling → Estimation of NAEP Score Scales → NAEP Scales → Content of the Subject Area Scales

Content of the Subject Area Scales

Item Response Theory (IRT) scales are available for each subject assessed beginning with the 1984 assessment. Content of the subject area scales is specified in the subject area frameworks, which have been developed by the National Assessment Governing Board.

Arts

The 2008 Arts assessment, which was administered only at grade 8, has two areas – Music and Visual Arts – as described in the arts framework. Each area has one scale. Results were reported independently for each area; no overall “Arts” result was reported.

Civics Scales

For grades 4, 8, and 12, one scale, based on three components described in the civics framework, has been used in all main civics assessments since 1998.

Economics Scales

For grade 12, three subscales, as defined by the economics framework, were established in 2006. A composite scale was formed by taking a weighted sum of the economics subscales:

  • Market Economics
  • National Economics
  • International Economics

Geography Scales

For grades 4, 8, and 12, three subscales, as defined by the geography framework, were established in 1994. A composite scale was formed at each grade by taking a weighted sum of the geography subscales:

  • Space and Place
  • Environment and Society
  • Spatial Dynamics and Connections

Mathematics Scales

For grades 4, 8, and 12, five subscales, as defined by the mathematics framework, were established in 1990. A composite scale was formed at each grade by taking a weighted sum of the mathematics subscales:

  • Number Sense, Properties, and Operations
  • Measurement
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense
  • Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
  • Algebra and Functions

Starting in 2005 the grade 12 mathematics assessment contained four subscales. A composite scale was formed by taking a weighted sum of the mathematics subscales:

  • Number Sense, Properties, and Operations
  • Measurement and Geometry
  • Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
  • Algebra

Reading Scales

For grade 4, two subscales, as defined in the reading framework, were established in 1992. At that time, three subscales were established for grades 8 and 12. A composite scale was formed at each grade by taking a weighted sum of the subscales:

  • Reading for Literary Experience
  • Reading to Gain Information
  • Reading to Perform a Task (for grades 8 and 12 only)

Starting in 2009, two subscales were used at grades 4, 8, and 12 for reading.  A composite scale was formed at each grade by taking a weighted sum of the two subscales:

  • Reading for Literary Experience
  • Reading to Gain Information

Science Scales

For grades 4, 8, and 12, three subscales (Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Science) were established in 1996 as defined in the science framework. A composite scale was formed at each grade by taking a weighted sum of these subscales.

Starting in 2009, one overall science scale and three science subscales (Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Science, and Life Science) were used. A composite scale based on the three subscales was not created.

U.S. History Scales

For grades 4, 8, and 12, four subscales, as defined in the U.S. history framework, were established in 1994. A composite scale was formed at each grade by taking a weighted sum of the subscales:

  • Change and Continuity in American Democracy: Ideas, Institutions, Practices, and Controversies
  • The Gathering of Interactions of Peoples, Cultures, and Ideas
  • Economic and Technological Changes and Their Relation to Society, Ideas, and the Environment
  • The Changing Role of America in the World

Writing Scales

For grades 4, 8, and 12, one writing scale, based on three purposes of writing,as described in the writing framework, has been used in all main writing assessments since 1998.

Long-Term Trend Assessment Scales

Longitudinal studies for ages 9, 13, and 17 were conducted in 2004 to track trends for mathematics since 1973 and for reading since 1971. For each long-term trend subject (i.e., mathematics and reading), a univariate scale was used in assessing each age group.


Last updated 12 February 2013 (JL)