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Title:  The NAEP Primer
Description: The purpose of the NAEP Primer is to guide educational researchers through the intricacies of the NAEP database and make its technologies more user-friendly. The NAEP Primer makes use of its publicly accessible NAEP mini-sample that is included on the CD. The mini-sample contains real data from the 2005 mathematics assessment that have been approved for public use. Only public schools are included in this subsample that contains selected variables for about 10 percent of the schools and students in this assessment. All students who participated in NAEP in the selected public schools are included. This subsample is not sufficient to make state comparisons. In addition, to ensure confidentiality, no state, school, or student identifiers are included.

The NAEP Primer document covers the following topics:
  • Introduction and Overview: includes a technical history of NAEP, an overview of the NAEP Primer mini-sample and its design and implications for analysis, and a listing of relevant resources for further information.
  • The NAEP Database describes the contents of the NAEP database, the NAEP Primer mini-sample and the types of variables it includes, the NAEP database products, an overview of the NAEP 2005 Mathematics, Reading, and Science Data Companion, and how to obtain a Restricted-Use Data License.
  • NAEP Data Tools: provides the user with the information on the resources available to prepare the data for analysis, and how to find and use the various NAEP data tools.
  • Analyzing NAEP Data: includes recommendations for running statistical analyses with SPSS, SAS, STATA, and WesVar, including addressing the effect of BIB spiraling, plausible values, jackknife, etc. Worked examples and simple analyses use the NAEP Primer mini-sample.
  • Marginal Estimation of Score Distributions: discusses the principles of marginal estimation as used in NAEP and the role of plausible values.
  • Direct Estimation Using AM Software: presents an approach to direct estimation using the AM software including examples of analyses.
  • Fitting of Hierarchical Linear Models: presents information and examples on the use of the HLM program to do hierarchical linear modeling with NAEP data.
  • An appendix includes excerpted sections from the 2005 Data Companion to give the reader additional insight on topics introduced in previous sections of the Primer.
Please note that national results computed from the NAEP Primer mini-sample will be close to—but not identical to—published results in NAEP reports. National estimates should not be made with these data, and these data cannot be published as official estimates of NAEP.

Also note that the NAEP Primer consists of two publications: NCES 2011463 and NCES 2011464
Online Availability:
Cover Date: June 2011
Web Release: August 4, 2011
Print Release:
Publication #: NCES 2011463
General Ordering Information
Center/Program: NCES
Type of Product: Data File
Survey/Program Areas: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
Questions: For questions about the content of this Data File, please contact:
Emmanuel Sikali.