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NAEP Technical DocumentationNAEP Instruments


Development of NAEP Frameworks

Cognitive Items and Instruments

Contextual Items (Survey Questionnaires)

Accommodations for Students With Special Needs

Each National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment is built around an organizing framework, which is the blueprint that guides the development of the cognitive assessment items and determines the content to be assessed. The National Assessment Governing Board (the Governing Board) oversees the creation of the NAEP frameworks, while the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) oversees the development of the cognitive items and scoring rubrics. The instruments created for each assessment consist of two major components:

  • subject-specific cognitive items, which measure the achievement of students across a broad range of academic subjects (see Assessments for more information); and
  • contextual items, which collect information from students, teachers, and school administrators about key factors that are related to student achievement.

The Governing Board and NCES begin with a developmental process and continue with extensive reviews by multiple groups. The Governing Board also oversees the development of the content framework and item specifications for contextual items. NCES oversees the development of the contextual items through a process similar to that used for developing the cognitive items. The process includes reviews by external advisory groups and field testing. Information from responses to these questions gives context to NAEP results and allows researchers to examine factors associated with academic achievement.

Last updated 13 June 2022 (PG)