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NAEP Technical DocumentationPreparations for the Assessments 


Obtaining Lists of Eligible Students 

Selecting the Student Samples

Updating Lists of Selected Students

Distributing Online Questionnaires

Planning for Accommodations for Students With Disabilities and English Language Learners

Making Assessment Arrangements


NAEP completes the following tasks prior to each school's assessment:

  • obtaining a list of eligible students for sampling;
  • selecting a sample of students to participate;
  • updating lists of selected students, if necessary;
  • distributing login information for school and teacher online questionnaires;
  • planning accommodations for students with disabilities (SD) and English learners (EL); and
  • making assessment day arrangements. 

NAEP needs participating schools or their districts or states to provide a complete list of grade-eligible (age-eligible for the long-term trend assessment) students in order to draw a random sample of students to participate in the assessment. Student lists may be submitted in either electronic or hard-copy format. The submission method determines when and how student sample selection occurs. Student lists submitted electronically (e-filed) that pass all data quality checks are sampled by NAEP within 24 hours of submission. Student lists provided in hard copy to field staff are sampled using an in-field sampling method during an in-person preassessment visit with the NAEP State Coordinator or School Coordinator. The student sample information is then pre-printed on administration forms which are used in preparing for and conducting the assessment.

During preassessment contacts with the school, field staff review lists of sampled students with School Coordinators to identify and remove students identified as withdrawn or graduated, ineligible because they do not attend campus, or who are neither enrolled in nor attending the school in the grade to be assessed. Next, field staff ensure that all required information for each eligible sampled student is recorded. If any student's information was previously unavailable or otherwise not recorded, field staff seek to obtain and update the information. Field staff then determine whether there are any eligible students who may have been inadvertently omitted from the original list of students submitted for sampling or who enrolled at the school after the initial student sample was selected. If there are any newly identified students, a sample is selected and added to the administration form.

Also during the preassessment contacts, field staff inquire about the completion status of online questionnaires previously distributed to the schools. These questionnaires are designed to collect information about the school and teachers. In addition, field staff work with School Coordinators to plan for accommodations for students with disabilities and English learners.

Finally, field staff make assessment arrangements with the School Coordinator, including the date, time, and location for each assessment session. Field staff also remind the School Coordinators that the assessment cannot occur if the parents/guardians of students in the sampled grade have not been notified about the assessments.

Last updated 30 June 2023 (SK)