Printed Materials for
The first step in processing NAEP assessment materials is the printing of student booklets, questionnaires, and tracking forms. Printing preparations begin with the design of the booklets, typically in the summer preceding the assessment. This is a collaborative effort involving
A primary goal early in planning is to design one format for use with all of the documents. This planning, including such details as the design of the booklet covers, is typically finalized several months before the assessment.
For new student booklets, test developers create camera-ready blocks of items electronically. These data are sent to the materials staff's office on disks, along with a paper version of each block showing the page layout of text and artwork as it should appear in the printed document. Test development staff make copies of the printed version of each block to be used in the review conducted by materials staff. The materials staff coordinate this review procedure and refer any questions and suggestions to the designated test developer for resolution. Suggestions for changes to the instruments are analyzed at this stage. If minor, the changes are made by the materials staff. If extensive changes are required, these revisions are made by the test developers and a revised version of the entire block is sent on disk to the materials staff. After a block has passed quality control checking, the camera-ready data on disk is sent to the printing facility, along with a guide indicating the number of times each block should be repeated in the assessment battery.
Testing instruments that are intended to measure trends across assessment years are reprints of previously created testing instruments. The printing facility staff either rescan a camera-ready copy from the prior assessment or update the block name, and place the older cognitive materials in the current year's block template.
The actual "building" of booklets begins after all blocks needed for a particular booklet are received, and the government's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has given its approval to print. The test developers supply booklet maps, which specify the order of blocks in each booklet. Using these booklet maps and actual printouts of booklets as guides, the printer assembles electronic components into complete booklets. Generally, four weeks elapse between receipt of final copy and delivery of printed booklets. The printer sends laser proofs (which replaced blue-line proofs beginning with the 2001 assessment) to the item developers and materials staff for review and approval to print. After approval is given, the printer makes any changes or corrections required and prints the booklets and forms. As booklets and forms are printed, pallets of documents are sent to the materials staff to enter into their inventory control system.