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Important Aspects of No Child Left Behind Relevant to NAEP

The exact wording of the No Child Left Behind Act, the legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), cited below, can be found in Public Law 107-110 Title I Part A, section 1111, available on the web at More information about this legislation can be found at The exact wording of the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act, cited below, can be found in the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, Public Law 107-279 Title III, section 303, available on the web at

  1. NAEP Assessment Schedule Under No Child Left Behind

    Required NAEP Assessments: NAEP will conduct national and state assessments at least once every two years in reading and mathematics in grades 4 and 8. These assessments will be conducted in the same year.

    Additional Assessments:

    • NAEP will conduct a national assessment and may conduct a state assessment in reading and mathematics in grade 12 at regularly scheduled intervals.
    • To the extent that time and money allow, NAEP will be conducted in grades 4, 8, and 12 at regularly scheduled intervals in additional subjects including writing, science, history, geography, civics, economics, foreign language, and arts. 
  2. Participation in NAEP

    State Level: Any state that wishes to receive a Title I grant must include in the state plan it submits to the Secretary of Education an assurance that beginning in the 2002-2003 school year the state will participate in the biennial state-level National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8. State participation in NAEP other than reading and mathematics in grades 4 and 8 shall be voluntary.

    • The federal government will pay for the administration of all state NAEP assessments.
    • A state participating in the biennial reading and mathematics assessments is deemed to have given its permission for NCES to release its results and data.
    • State participation in other NAEP assessments is voluntary.
    • There will be no rewards or sanctions to states, local education agencies, or schools based on state NAEP results.
    • Participation in NAEP is not a substitute for the state's own assessment of all students in grades 3-8 in reading and math.

    Local Level: Local education agencies that receive a Title I subgrant must include an assurance in their Title I plans they submit to the state that they will participate in biennial state NAEP assessments of grades 4 and 8 reading and mathematics if they are selected for the NAEP sample. Otherwise, participation in other NAEP assessments is voluntary for students, schools, and local education agencies.

  3. Design of NAEP

    Nature of NAEP Items: NAEP will not assess "personal or family beliefs and attitudes" and all questions are to be "secular, neutral, and non-ideological" and "free from racial, cultural, gender or regional bias."

    Topics for the Long Term Trends Assessment: NAEP is required to administer long-term trend assessments in reading and mathematics at ages 9, 13, and 17, but is not required to continue the science and writing assessments.

    Calculating Results for Subgroups: Whenever feasible, "NAEP is to collect, cross tabulate, compare and report information by disability and limited English proficiency in addition to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and gender."

  4. Public Access

    Access to Data and Questions: Parents and members of the public shall have access to all assessment data, questions, and assessment instruments in a secure setting. However, any unauthorized person who knowingly discloses, publishes, or uses assessment questions may be fined or charged with a felony.

    Complaints: Parents and members of the public may submit written complaints to the National Assessment Governing Board, which will forward complaints to the Commissioner, Secretary of Education, and the state and local education agency from which the complaint originated. The Governing Board in consultation with the Commissioner will review the complaint and determine whether revisions are needed. The Secretary will submit a summary report of all complaints to the chairs of the House and Senate education committees.

    Informing Parents: Parents of children selected to participate in NAEP must be informed before the administration of the assessment that their child may be excused from participating and is not required to complete the assessment or to answer any test question.

    Public Release of NAEP Items: The Commissioner may decline to make available for public release for up to 10 years cognitive questions that he or she intends to reuse. If the Commissioner determines that an additional period is needed to protect the security and integrity of long-term trend data, he or she may decline to make cognitive questions available for more than 10 years.

Last updated 10 August 2005 (MM)