Data collection for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) involves a collaborative effort among the participating schools, school districts, states, and NAEP staff. To reduce the burden on the participating schools, NAEP field staff perform most of the work associated with the assessment. The cooperation of the schools involves enlisting a school staff member to assist in coordinating selected students and space in which to administer the assessments.
A large team administers the assessment and gathers the background information. Samples of schools and students are drawn, and participation of the schools is secured. Then assessment activities are carried out by NAEP data collection and field operations staff, working with the cooperation of district and school staff.
NAEP procedures guarantee the anonymity of participants. The names of sampled students are never removed from the schools. The results of NAEP are reported on the national level and by region of the country—not by school district, school, or individual student.
NAEP reports provide information for the nation, as well as specific geographic regions of the country. Since 1990, NAEP has also reported results for participating states. These two components are referred to as the national main assessment and the state assessment. The content of both assessments is the same but prior to 2002, the national main samples were not designed to support the reporting of accurate and representative state-level results. As a result, separate samples were assessed in each of the two components and different data collection activities were used.