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How Was the NAEP Mathematics Assessment Developed?

The NAEP mathematics assessment is based on the NAEP Mathematics Framework (3.47MB PDF) which describes the goals of the assessment. The framework provides

  • the theoretical basis for the assessment, and
  • the 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 comprehensive national process under the auspices of the National Assessment Governing Board. The framework is a broadly accepted outline of what hundreds of educators, curriculum experts, policymakers, and members of the general public thought the assessment should test.

After the completion of the framework, the NAEP Mathematics Standing 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 mathematics framework. To see how questions are scored, 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 Students with Disabilities/English language learner (SD/ELL) questionnaires. SD/ELL questionnaires provide information about students within the sample who have disabilities or are English language learners (previously referred to as limited English proficiency).

These questionnaires are developed using a framework and review process 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 developers ensure 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, as with the student questionnaires, or they are printed separately, as with the teacher, school, and SD/ELL questionnaires.

Last updated 06 October 2011 (JM)