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NAEP Instruments → Cognitive Items and Instruments → Development of the Writing Cognitive Items and Instruments

Development of the Writing Cognitive Items and Instruments


The NAEP writing framework and specifications document guides the item development efforts. Items are written by NAEP item development staff. All assessment materials are reviewed by the Writing Standing Committee (see the current committee members), which consists of teachers, academics, and state curriculum experts among others. Items are also reviewed by teachers and specialists around the country. 

For the 2011 NAEP writing assessment, students were presented with two 30-minute writing tasks. These tasks were designed to measure students' writing in one of three communicative purposes:

  • to persuade,
  • to explain, and
  • to convey experience.

Following approval from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the items (one item per block) were loaded into a computer delivery system and distributed to schools for the 2011 administration of the assessment.  In 2011, the NAEP writing assessment was administered on laptop computer brought into schools at grades 8 and 12. Because the 2011 assessment was NAEP’s first computer-based writing assessment based on a new framework, no information regarding common blocks is available.

Click here for more information about what the NAEP writing assessment measures.

NOTE: While the 2002 writing assessment was administered at grades 4, 8, and 12, subsequent writing assessments have been administered only at grades 8 and 12.

Last updated 15 July 2014 (GF)
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education