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NAEP Instruments → Cognitive Items and Instruments → Development of the Long-Term Trend Cognitive Items and Instruments

Development of the Long-Term Trend Cognitive Items and Instruments

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The NAEP long-term trend assessment was developed to give information on the changes in the basic achievement of students in the United States. It has been used to monitor trend lines first established in 1971 in reading, reporting results for students at ages 9, 13, and 17. The long-term trend assessment in mathematics was first administered in 1973. Learn about the differences between the long-term trend assessment and the main NAEP assessment.

In 2004, a number of changes were implemented to revitalize the long-term trend assessments. The changes implemented in 2004 were intended to reflect changes in NAEP policy, maintain the integrity of the long-term trend assessments, and increase the validity of the results obtained.

Changes to the assessment instruments included

  • removal of science and writing items,
  • inclusion of students with disabilities and English language learners,
  • replacement of items that used outdated contexts,
  • creation of a separate background questionnaire (439K PDF),
  • elimination of "I don't know" as a response option for multiple-choice items, and
  • use of assessment booklets that pertain to a single subject area (whereas in the past, a single assessment booklet may have contained both reading and mathematics items).

Because it was important to know that any changes in assessment results could be attributed to actual changes in student performance rather than to changes in the assessment, a special bridge study was conducted to evaluate how the change to the assessment design and administration procedures would affect assessment results.

Explore sample items and related student performance data from both the main NAEP and long-term trend assessments.

Last updated 15 February 2011 (GF)
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education