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Digest of Education Statistics: 2007
Digest of Education Statistics: 2007

NCES 2008-022
March 2008

Appendix A.2. National Assessment of Educational Progress

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a series of cross-sectional studies initially implemented in 1969 to gather information about selected levels of educational achievement across the country. At the national level, NAEP is divided into two assessments: main NAEP and long-term trend NAEP. NAEP has surveyed students at specific ages (9, 13, and 17) for the long-term trend NAEP and at grades 4, 8, and 11 or 12 for the main NAEP, state NAEP, and long-term writing NAEP. NAEP has also surveyed young adults (ages 25 to 35).

NAEP long-term trend assessments are designed to inform the nation of changes in the basic achievement of America's youth. Nationally representative samples of students have been assessed in science, mathematics, and reading at ages 9, 13, and 17 since the early 1970s. Students were assessed in writing at grades 4, 8, and 11 between 1984 and 1996. To measure trends accurately, assessment items (mostly multiple choice) and procedures have remained unchanged since the first assessment in each subject. Recent trend assessments were conducted in 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2004 . Nearly 33,000 students took part in the 2004 trend assessment. Results are reported as average scores for the nation, for regions, and for various subgroups of the population, such as racial and ethnic groups. Data from the trend assessments are available in the most recent report, NAEP 2004 Trends in Academic Progress (NCES 2005-464).

The 2004 NAEP long-term trend assessments marked the end of tests designed and administered from 1971, marked the beginning of a modified design that provides greater accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners, and limited the assessments to reading and math. Science and writing are now assessed only in main NAEP.

To ensure that the assessment results can be reported on the same trend line, a "bridge" assessment was administered in addition to the modified assessment. Students were randomly assigned to take either the bridge assessment or the modified assessment. The bridge assessment replicated the instrument given in 1999 and used the same administrative techniques. The 2004 modified assessment provides the basis of comparison for all future assessments, and the bridge links its results to the results from the past 30 years.

In the main national NAEP, a nationally representative sample of students is assessed at grades 4, 8, and 12 in various academic subjects. The assessments change periodically and are based on frameworks developed by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). Items include both multiple-choice and constructed-response (requiring written answers) items. Results are reported in two ways. Average scores are reported for the nation, for participating states and jurisdictions, and for subgroups of the population. In addition, the percentage of students at or above Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement levels is reported for these same groups. The achievement levels are developed by NAGB.

From 1990 until 2001, main NAEP was conducted for states and other jurisdictions that chose to participate (e.g., 47 participated in 1996). Prior to 1992, the national NAEP samples were not designed to support the reporting of accurate and representative state-level results. Separate representative samples of students were selected for each participating jurisdiction. State data are usually available at grades 4 and/or 8, and may not include all subjects assessed in the national-level assessment. In 1994, for example, NAEP assessed reading, geography, and history at the national level at grades 4, 8, and 12; however, only reading at grade 4 was assessed at the state level. In 1996, mathematics and science were assessed nationally at grades 4, 8, and 12; at the state level, mathematics was assessed at grades 4 and 8, and science was assessed at grade 8 only. In 1997, the arts were assessed only at the national level, at grade 8. Reading and writing were assessed in 1998 at the national level for grades 4, 8, and 12 and at the state level for grades 4 and 8; civics was also assessed in 1998 at the national level for grades 4, 8, and 12. These assessments generally involved about 130,000 students at the national and state levels.

In 2002, under the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, all states began to participate in main NAEP and a separate national sample was replaced with the aggregate of all state samples. In 2002, students were assessed in reading and writing at grades 4, 8, and 12 for the national assessment and at grades 4 and 8 for the state assessment. In 2003, reading and mathematics were assessed at grades 4 and 8 for both national and state assessments.

The NAEP national samples in 2003 and 2005 were obtained by aggregating the samples from each state, rather than by obtaining an independently selected national sample. As a consequence, the size of the national sample increased, and smaller differences between scores across years or types of students were found to be statistically significant than would have been detected in previous assessments.

The assessment data presented in this publication were derived from tests designed and conducted by the Education Commission of the States (from 1969 to 1983) and by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) (from 1983 to the present).

Sample sizes and overall participation rates in 2004 for the long-term trend reading assessment for the bridge group were 5,200 9-year-olds (81 percent), 5,700 13-year-olds (77 percent), and 3,800 17-year-olds (55 percent); for those taking the modified assessment, the sizes and rates for the bridge group were 7,300 9-year-olds (80 percent), 7,500 13-year-olds (76 percent), and 7,600 17-year-olds (56 percent). Sample sizes and overall participation rates for the math assessment for the bridge group were 4,600 9-year-olds (80 percent), 4,700 13-year-olds (76 percent), and 4,600 17-year-olds (57 percent); for those taking the modified assessment, the sizes and rates for the bridge group were 7,500 9-year-olds (80 percent), 8,300 13-year-olds (76 percent), and 8,300 17-year-olds (56 percent).

Sample sizes for the reading proficiency portion of the 1999 NAEP long-term trend study were 5,793 for 9-year-olds, 5,933 for 13-year-olds, and 5,288 for 17-year-olds. Overall participation rates were 78 percent, 73 percent, and 59 percent, respectively. Sample sizes for the math and science portions of the 1999 long-term trend study were 6,032 9-year-olds, 5,941 13-year-olds, and 3,795 17-year-olds.

The main NAEP assessments are conducted separately from the long-term assessments. The 2000 mathematics assessment was administered to 13,511 4th-graders, 15,694 8th-graders, and 13,432 12th-graders. The response rates were 96 percent for 4th-graders, 92 percent for 8th-graders, and 77 percent for 12th-graders. The 2003 mathematics assessment was administered to 190,147 4th-graders and 153,189 8th-graders . About 172,000 4th-graders, 162,000 8th-graders, and over 21,000 12th-graders participated in the 2005 assessment.

In 2000, a reading assessment was administered to 77,914 4th-graders. The response rate was 96 percent. In 2002, a reading assessment was administered to 140,487 4th-graders, 115,176 8th-graders, and 14,724 12th-graders. The 2003 reading assessment was administered to 187,581 4th-graders and 155,183 8th-graders. Over 165,000 4th-graders, 159,000 8th-graders, and 21,000 12th-graders participated in the assessment in 2005.

The 1997–98 writing assessment was administered to 19,816 4th-graders, 20,586 8th-graders, and 19,505 12th-graders. The response rates were 95 percent for the 4th-graders, 92 percent for the 8th-graders, and 80 percent for the 12th-graders. The 2002 writing assessment was administered to 139,200 4th-graders, 118,500 8th-graders, and 18,500 12th-graders.

In 1995–96, a science assessment was administered to 7,305 4th-graders, 7,774 8th-graders, and 7,537 12th-graders. The response rates were 94 percent for the 4th-graders, 94 percent for the 8th-graders, and 93 percent for the 12th-graders. In 2000, a science assessment was administered to 16,749 4th-graders, 16,837 8th-graders, and 15,879 12th-graders. The response rates were 96 percent for the 4th-graders, 92 percent for the 8th-graders, and 76 percent for the 12th-graders. More than 300,000 students in grades 4, 8, and 12 participated in the 2005 science assessment.

The 1993–94 geography assessment was administered to 5,507 4th-graders, 6,878 8th-graders, and 6,234 12th-graders. The response rates for the assessment were 93 percent for the 4th-graders, 93 percent for the 8th-graders, and 90 percent for the 12th-graders. The 2000–01 geography assessment was administered to 7,779 4th-graders, 10,037 8th-graders, and 9,660 12th-graders. The response rates were 95 percent for the 4th-graders, 93 percent for the 8th-graders, and 77 percent for the 12th-graders. The next geography assessment is scheduled for 2009–10.

The 2006 U.S. history assessment, the first since 2001, was administered to over 29,000 students in grades 4, 8, and 12 nationwide. Students in public, private, Department of Defense, and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools were assessed.

The 2006 civics assessment was administered to approximately 25,000 students in grades 4, 8, and 12 nationwide. The response rates for the respective grades were 95 percent, 92 percent, and 72 percent. The previous civics assessment was in 1998.

In 2006, an economics assessment was administered at grade 12 for the first time. Results are based on a nationally representative sample of 11,500 12th-graders from 590 public and private schools. The student participation rate was 72 percent for public school students and 87 percent for private school students.

Information from NAEP is subject to both nonsampling and sampling errors. Two possible sources of nonsampling error are nonparticipation and instrumentation. Certain populations have been oversampled to ensure samples of sufficient size for analysis. Instrumentation nonsampling error could result from failure of the test instruments to measure what is being taught and, in turn, what the students are learning.

Further information on NAEP may be obtained from

Suzanne Triplett
State Support and Constituency Outreach
Assessment Division
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Suzanne.Triplett@ed.gov
http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard