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NAEP Technical DocumentationRecruitment of Sampled Schools


Recruiting Public Schools

Recruiting Nonpublic Schools

Prior to 2002, NAEP staff recruited all public and nonpublic schools in the national assessment samples. States volunteering for the state assessments delegated responsibility for recruiting these schools to state personnel. NAEP staff supported these state personnel in carrying out their responsibilities.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires any jurisdiction or local education agency receiving federal Title I funds to participate in a biennial state assessment of reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8, beginning with the 2003 assessment. In addition, the Act authorizes federally funded NAEP State Coordinator positions, one for each state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to coordinate NAEP activities with local education agencies and public schools. Currently, NAEP State Coordinators recruit public schools for each assessment, while NAEP field staff recruit nonpublic schools.

NAEP State Coordinators and NAEP field staff typically follow a standard set of procedures for securing the participation of public and nonpublic schools. The process includes:

  • sending initial contact letters to chief state school and testing officers or diocesan and other nonpublic school administrators; and
  • sending a notice of each school's selection for NAEP to the principal or other administrative official, along with an assessment information packet containing introductory information and materials.

While the No Child Left Behind Act requires public schools in jurisdictions that receive federal Title I funding to participate in state reading and mathematics assessments at grades 4 and 8, all other assessments are voluntary. NAEP makes every effort to recruit every public and nonpublic school originally selected for an assessment. In the event that a school chooses not to participate and all subsequent recruitment efforts are unsuccessful, a substitute school located within the same state is recruited to take the place of the originally sampled school.

Beginning with the 2001 assessment, NAEP introduced a restricted-access website to provide assessment information to sampled schools and all districts from which a school was selected. Content is updated throughout the assessment year in accordance with current school-level NAEP activities, such as preparing and submitting lists of eligible students, preparing for assessment day, and completing post-assessment activities.

Last updated 04 November 2022 (SK)