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NAEP Data Available for Secondary Analysis

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Watch a module: Getting Started with NAEP Data.

The National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) administers a broad range of items to assess student performance in various subject areas. In addition, NAEP collects information on background variables from students, teachers, and schools that provides context for student performance.

There are numerous opportunities for secondary analysis because of NAEP's large scale, the regularity of its administration, and its stringent quality control processes for data collection and analysis.

Explore the following sets of data to become familiar with the NAEP database before requesting a license to access restricted-use datasets: 

  • data from 1990 to present in the NAEP Data Explorer (NDE);
  • a list of available restricted-use variables, and
  • NAEP results prior to 1990. 

Data Available to the Public

Most NAEP data from 1990 to date are available online in the NAEP Data Explorer (NDE). This database allows researchers to familiarize themselves with NAEP and test their preliminary hypotheses before requesting a license for further exploration.

The NDE provides results from national (public and private school) and state (public school only) levels. NAEP assessments can be viewed by grade and subject assessed. You can customize the data displays according to your interests. Special versions of the NDE focus on the long-term trend assessment, the High School Transcript Study (HSTS) and the National Indian Education Study (NIES).

Other NAEP data tools are available that present different views of the data, including the Questions Tools, Items Maps, State Profiles, and District Profiles.


Restricted-Use Data

Micro-level NAEP data in raw format (i.e. respondent-level data, including weights) are available on CD-ROM for the purpose of secondary analysis only after your organization applies for and receives a restricted-use data license from NCES. The license is intended to protect the confidentiality of individual students and schools. These restricted-use data are available beginning with the 1990 assessment, and include respondent-level data and weights. Files listing the variables available for each year may be downloaded in Excel and text (CSV) format without a license.

Data Prior to 1990

Several sets of NAEP data from 1970 to 1980 and from the 1987 High School Transcript Study are available online from the University of Michigan Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Data may be downloaded after agreement to ICPSR terms. See membership information for details.


Last updated 08 March 2018 (AA)