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How Was the NAEP Arts Assessment Developed?

The NAEP arts assessment is based on the NAEP Arts Education Assessment Framework, which describes the goals of the assessment. The framework provides

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

The framework was the result of a national consensus effort under the auspices of the National Assessment Governing Board. The framework is a broadly accepted outline of what hundreds of arts educators, arts curriculum experts, policymakers, business representatives, and members of the general public thought the arts assessment should test.

After the completion of the initial framework, the 1997 NAEP Arts Committee worked with measurement specialists to create assessment questions and scoring criteria according to the framework's specifications. All exercises and scoring criteria were carefully reviewed to ensure that the assessment met the requirements of the arts framework. Because questions from the 1997 arts assessment were used in the 2008 assessment, the arts committee did not meet to select assessment questions for the 2008 assessment.

In addition to testing cognitive abilities, NAEP collects information that helps to put student achievement in context. Four kinds of questionnaires provide context for NAEP assessment results:

  • student questionnaires, which examine background characteristics, subject-area experience, and motivation on the assessment;
  • teacher questionnaires, which gather data on the background and training of teachers and classroom-by-classroom information;
  • school questionnaires which ask principals about school size and other characteristics; and
  • SD/ELL questionnaires (students with disabilities or English language learners) which ask the person most familiar with the student about accommodations normally permitted.

These questionnaires are developed using a framework and process review similar to that used for developing the cognitive questions. This process includes reviews by external advisory groups and field-testing. When developing the questionnaires, NAEP ensures that the questions do not infringe on respondents' privacy, that they are grounded in educational research, and that the answers can provide information relevant to the subject being assessed.

The questionnaires appear in separately timed blocks of questions in the assessment booklets, such as the student questionnaires, or they are printed separately, such as the teacher, school, and SD/ELL  questionnaires.

Last updated 05 May 2009 (JL)