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Frequently Asked Questions about NAEP Survey Questionnaires

What are NAEP survey questionnaires?

NAEP survey questionnaires are given to students, teachers, and school administrators who participate in a NAEP assessment. The survey questionnaires provide vital information that helps policymakers, researchers, educators, and the public understand the context of student achievement results and allows meaningful comparison between student groups.

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What kinds of questions and topics do NAEP survey questionnaires include?

NAEP survey questionnaires include questions about students’ opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom as well as questions about students’ educational experiences, such as their study habits. NAEP ensures that the questions are grounded in educational research and that the responses can provide information relevant to the subject being assessed.

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How does NAEP decide which questions to ask in the survey questionnaires?

NAEP survey questions are developed and reviewed by survey experts, education researchers, teachers, and statisticians to ensure that the information collected is relevant and valid in helping policymakers, researchers, educators, and the public understand student achievement results. Draft questions are tested first among small groups of student, teacher, and school administrator participants and then piloted in larger samples of participants before final selection. Questions are also carefully reviewed to avoid inclusion of unfair content.

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How much time will students spend completing NAEP survey questionnaires?

Students are given 15 minutes to complete NAEP survey questionnaires.

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Do students have to complete NAEP survey questionnaires?

Students do not have to complete NAEP survey questionnaires.

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Can students skip questions that they do not want to answer?

Yes, students can skip questions they do not want to answer.

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How will students' responses on NAEP survey questionnaires be reported?

NAEP is not designed to report on individual student or school responses. After survey questionnaires have been completed, individual student responses are combined with other student responses by grade level (4, 8, and 12) and subject. Whenever feasible, NAEP reports include information on student groups (e.g., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, disability, and English language learner status).

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How does NAEP ensure the privacy and anonymity of students, teachers, and school respondents?

All participants in the NAEP assessment are assigned a unique identification number to ensure that they cannot be linked to any personally identifiable information such as name or address.

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How do students', their teachers', and school administrators' responses to NAEP survey questionnaires contribute to improving education in the United States?

Knowing how students perform on NAEP assessments and exploring patterns such as how different student groups perform over time are important steps in measuring educational equity. NAEP survey questionnaires provide information to help better understand the context in which students learn which aids in improving the educational system.

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Where can I see the questions that are being asked in the survey questionnaires?

All NAEP survey questionnaires are available on the NAEP website.

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Why does NAEP ask students about their race/ethnicity?

NAEP asks students to provide information about race and ethnicity to better determine how well education is meeting the needs of all students and to fulfill reporting requirements of federal legislation.

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Why does NAEP ask students questions about how far in school their parents went, whether their parents are working, and their home (e.g., zip code, who lives in the home, whether there is a computer or a dishwasher in the home)? 

NAEP asks students to provide information about a variety of topics to better determine how well education is meeting the needs of all students. NAEP also asks students to provide information about socioeconomic status (SES) to fulfill reporting requirements of federal legislation. SES is made up of three main components: income/wealth, education, and occupation. NAEP does not directly ask about income, but uses multiple questions about home possessions instead. These questions, when considered together, allow estimating a family’s wealth, which allows us to better understand the relationship between economic advantage/disadvantage and student achievement.

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Last updated 14 January 2016 (JM)