Each National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is built around an organizing framework, which is the blueprint that guides the development of the cognitive assessment items and determines the content to be assessed. The National Assessment Governing Board oversees the creation of the NAEP frameworks, while the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) oversees the development of the cognitive items and scoring rubrics. The instruments created for each assessment consist of two major components:
subject-specific cognitive items, which measure the achievement of students in a broad range of academic subjects; and
non-cognitive items, also referred to as background questions, which collect information from students, teachers, and school administrators about background variables that are related to student achievement.
The Governing Board and NCES begin with a developmental process and continue with extensive reviews by multiple groups. The Governing Board also oversees the development of the content framework and item specifications for background items. Background items are developed through a process similar to that used for developing the cognitive items. The process includes reviews by external advisory groups and field testing. Information from the background items gives context to NAEP results and/or allows researchers to track factors associated with academic achievement.