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The Status of Achievement Levels

The 2001 reauthorization law requires that the achievement levels be used on a trial basis until the Commissioner of Education Statistics determines that the achievement levels are "reasonable, valid, and informative to the public" (see the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425 [2002]). Until that determination is made, the law requires the Commissioner and the National Assessment Governing Board to state clearly the trial status of the achievement levels in all NAEP reports. So far, no Commissioner has made such a determination, and the achievement levels remain in a trial status. The achievement levels should continue to be interpreted and used with caution.

A proven alternative to the current process has not yet been identified. NCES and the Board continue to call on the research community to assist in finding ways to improve standard setting for reporting NAEP results. The National Assessment Governing Board urges all who are concerned about student performance levels to recognize that the use of these achievement levels is a developing process using evolving methods and is subject to various interpretations. The Board and NCES believe that the achievement levels are useful for reporting trends in the educational achievement of students in the United States.

Last updated 06 June 2012 (NB)