The primary purpose of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, is to measure the educational achievement and progress of the nation’s students at established grades and ages in relation to the content of NAEP frameworks. NAEP results also enable comparisons of what representative students know and can do among states and jurisdictions, among various demographic groups, and over time.
Because assessment results are based on samples of students, there are a number of factors to consider when drawing conclusions about NAEP data. Guides on how to understand specific assessments (e.g. mathematics, reading, etc.) are also accessible in this section.
Student performance on NAEP assessments is presented in two ways:
Results are provided for groups of students defined by shared characteristics—race/ethnicity, gender, eligibility for free/reduced-price school lunch, highest level of parental education, type of school, charter school, school location, region of the country, status as students with disabilities (SD), and/or status as English learners (EL).
Scores among groups of students may or may not be meaningful, depending on whether or not they are statistically significant. The numbers of students who participate in an assessment determines what performance differences across years or among groups are statistically significant. As a sample size increases, smaller differences between years or groups are found to be more statistically significant than would have been detected in a smaller sample size.Learn More
Some SD and EL students may be able to participate in NAEP, with or without accommodations. Others are excluded from NAEP assessments because they cannot participate with allowable accommodations. The percentage of SD and EL students who are excluded from the NAEP assessments varies both from one jurisdiction to another and within a jurisdiction over time.