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NAEP Instruments → Cognitive Items and Instruments → Development of the Geography Cognitive Items and Instruments

Development of the Geography Cognitive Items and Instruments


Student Booklets: 2010
Student Booklets: 2001

Number of items: 2010
Number of items: 2001

Common blocks: 2010
Common blocks: 2001

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The instruments used in the NAEP geography assessment are composed of blocks of cognitive items from the previous NAEP assessment, as well as blocks that are newly developed for the current assessment. Administering the same blocks of items across years allows for the reporting of trends in geography performance. At the same time, developing new sets of items makes it possible to release some items for public use. In all assessment years, one or more blocks at each grade are released to the public and can be accessed via the NAEP Questions Tool.

The NAEP geography framework guides the item development efforts. Items are written by the NAEP item development staff, members of the Geography Assessment Standing Committee (See the current committee members), and elementary, secondary, and postsecondary teachers around the country. All assessment materials are reviewed by specialists in geography education, measurement, assessment development, and bias. The cognitive items are then assembled into 25-minute blocks, with one 50-minute block at grades 8 and 12. The blocks contain a range of questions covering three content dimensions:

  • space and place,
  • environment and society, and
  • spatial dynamics and connections.

Following approval from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the blocks are assembled into booklets and distributed to schools for the administration of the assessment.

Explore sample items and related student performance data from the assessment.

Last updated 15 July 2014 (GF)