Through 1988, NAEP reported only on the academic achievement of the nation as a whole and subgroups within the population. Because the national samples were not designed to support the reporting of accurate and representative state-level results, Congress passed legislation in 1988 authorizing a voluntary Trial State Assessment (TSA). Separate representative samples of students were selected for each state or jurisdiction that agreed to participate in state NAEP.
Trial state assessments were conducted in 1990, 1992, and 1994 and were evaluated thoroughly. Beginning with the 1996 assessment, the authorizing statute no longer considered the state component "trial."
A significant change to state NAEP occurred in 2001 with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act legislation. This legislation requires states who receive Title I funding to participate in state NAEP in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8 every two years. State participation in other state NAEP subjects, science and writing, remains voluntary. See the history of state participation (108 KB). Also see the participation of nonpublic schools at the state level in 1994, 1996, and 1998.
The assessments given in the states are exactly the same as those given nationally. The assessments follow the subject area frameworks developed by the National Assessment Governing Board and use the latest advances in assessment methodology. State NAEP assesses at grades 4, 8, and 12.
States can monitor their own progress over time in the selected subject areas. They can then compare the knowledge and skills of their students with students in other states and with the nation.
Like the national assessment, state NAEP does not provide individual scores for the students or schools assessed. Instead, NAEP provides results about subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences, and school environment, and reports these results for populations of students (e.g., fourth-graders) and subgroups of those populations (e.g., male students or Hispanic students).