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How Was the NAEP Civics Assessment Developed?

The NAEP civics assessment is based on the civics framework, which describes the goals of the 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 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 civics teachers, curriculum experts, policymakers, and members of the general public thought the assessment should test.

After the completion of the framework, the NAEP Civics Committee worked with measurement specialists to create the 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 civics framework. Explore sample questions and related student performance data from the 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, teacher, school, and SD/ELL questionnaires.

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 pilot-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.

Last updated 15 March 2007 (JM)