Skip Navigation
Skip to main content
  • Home
  • Authorization and Oversight

About the National Assessment Governing Board


The National Assessment Governing Board sets policy for NAEP and is responsible for developing the framework and test specifications that serve as the blueprint for the assessments.

The 26-member Governing Board, created by Congress in 1988, is an independent, bipartisan group whose members include governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives, and members of the general public. Members are appointed by the Secretary of Education but remain independent of the Department. The current membership is available on the Governing Board's website.

How the National Assessment Governing Board Works

The Board conducts its work and carries out its responsibilities through five standing committees. Committees monitor external contracts, prepare and recommend procedures for reporting and disseminating NAEP results, review and recommend assessment and questionnaire questions, and recommend policies to the full Board to guide other NAEP activities. The Governing Board and its committees meet quarterly. Upcoming meetings are listed on the Governing Board's website.

The Governing Board's Responsibilities

The Governing Board policies and resolutions provide much important and useful information for the conduct of NAEP as set forth by federal law.

Frameworks and Item Development

The Board is responsible for developing and maintaining frameworks to guide the development of each NAEP subject assessment. The framework provides

  • the theoretical basis for the assessment; and
  • the direction for what kinds of exercises should be included in the assessment, how exercises should be designed, and how student responses should be scored.

The Governing Board reviews and approves all cognitive and non-cognitive assessment questions that appear on the NAEP assessments to ensure that they are in accordance with the assessment frameworks.

In addition to testing subject knowledge, NAEP collects information that helps to put student performance in context. The Governing Board also maintains a framework for the development of student, teacher, and school questionnaires which help NAEP collect information to put student achievement in context.

NAEP Achievement Levels

The Governing Board develops the NAEP achievement levels that provide information about what students should know and be able to do at the three grade levels tested. A broadly representative panel of teachers, education specialists, and members of the general public help to define and review achievement levels.

There are three achievement levels for each subject and grade assessed by NAEP (4, 8, and 12): Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.


NAEP Schedule of Assessments

The Governing Board sets the NAEP assessment schedule. Also see the chronology of all NAEP assessments since 1968.

For additional responsibilities of the Governing Board, see the specifications set forth in P.L. 107-110.

News and Publications on the Governing Board Website

The Governing Board website home page has news of recent events, information about recent releases, and the latest publications. For all Governing Board publications, including achievement level reports, frameworks, conference proceedings, and research papers, select the Publications tab at the top, and download or order those you need.

Contacting the Governing Board

To contact the Governing Board about policy-related questions, send an e-mail to or write to the Governing Board at:

National Assessment Governing Board
800 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 825
Washington, D.C. 20002-4233.


Last updated 05 September 2012 (NB)