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NAEP Technical DocumentationGeography Achievement Levels

The process of developing achievement levels involves the judgments of informed, well-qualified people from throughout the nation and its territories. Approximately 30 persons served on each of three grade-level panels to develop NAEP geography achievement levels. These 90 people included teachers (about 55 percent), other educators (about 15 percent), and members of the general public (about 30 percent). To the extent possible, the panels were proportionally representative of the nation's population with respect to region, race/ethnicity, and gender.

The panels for geography were convened in November 1994, and the National Assessment Governing Board set the geography NAEP achievement levels in August 1995. The achievement levels set for the geography assessment were used in reporting results for the 1994 assessment and subsequent assessments. They will be used until the Governing Board determines that a new framework is needed to guide the development of the assessment. At that time, new achievement levels may be developed and set.

Two reports provide details on the geography achievement levels:

  • The Board's complete report on achievement levels for geography includes descriptions of achievement levels and cut scores, sample items illustrating achievement levels, and performance data.

  • Appendix G of the 1994 NAEP Technical Report (Allen, Kline, and Zelenak 1997) provides detailed information related to the process for developing the achievement levels, selecting exemplar items, evaluating and validating the levels, mapping the levels onto the NAEP scale, as well as panel meeting participants and affiliations.

NOTE: At this time, these achievement levels are used on a trial basis.

Last updated 03 June 2016 (GF)