NAEP completes the following tasks prior to each school's assessment:
obtaining a list of eligible students for sampling;
selecting a sample of students to participate;
updating lists of selected students, if necessary;
distributing school, teacher, and special-needs student questionnaires;
making assessment day arrangements.
NAEP needs participating schools or their districts or states to provide a complete list of grade-eligible (for the long-term trend national component, age-eligible) students in order to draw a random sample of students to participate in the assessment. Student lists may be submitted in either electronic or hard-copy format. The submission method determines when and how student sample selection occurs. Student lists submitted electronically (e-filed) that pass all data quality checks are sampled by NAEP within 24 hours of submission. Student lists provided in hard copy are manually sampled by field staff during an in-person preassessment visit with the NAEP state coordinator or school coordinator. The student sample information is then pre-printed on administration schedules which are sent to field staff for use in preparing for and conducting the assessment.
During a preassessment visit to the school, field staff review lists of sampled students with school coordinators to identify and remove students identified as withdrawn or graduated, ineligible because they do not attend campus, or who are neither enrolled in nor attending the school in the grade to be assessed. Next, field staff ensure that all required information for each eligible sampled student is recorded on the administration schedule. If any student's information was previously unavailable or otherwise not recorded, field staff seek to obtain and update the information on the administration schedule. Field staff then inquire about any eligible students who may have been inadvertently omitted from the original list of students submitted for sampling or who enrolled at the school after the initial student sample was selected. If there are any newly identified students, field staff select a sample of these students and add them to the administration schedule.
Also during the preassessment visit, field staff distribute questionnaires or inquire about the completion status of questionnaires previously shipped to the schools. These questionnaires are designed to collect information about the school, teachers, and students with disabilities and English language learners. In addition, field staff work with school coordinators to plan for accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners.
Finally, field staff make assessment arrangements with the school coordinator, including the date, time, and location for each assessment session. Field staff also remind the school coordinators that the assessment cannot occur if the parents/guardians of students in the sampled grade have not been notified about the assessments.