Understanding NAEP: Inside the Nation's Education Report Card

Margery Yeager
Education Sector
October 2007

A better title for this report might be NAEP for Dummies. In a concise (13 page) presentation, Yeager gives readers a no-nonsense overview of the merits and shortcomings of using NAEP as a tool for understanding how students in America are performing academically. The report puts forth an overall favorable impression of the assessment: "NAEP, with its recent commitment to release math and reading data within six months of test administration, is an increasingly timely source of students' achievement information." The author asks only that the test's limitations be understood and not overlooked. Even when describing complicated topics such as the difficulty of comparing NAEP scores across grade levels or subjects, or how the varying numbers of ELL and special-education students that states choose to include and exclude from the assessment affect overall NAEP scores, the report keeps the discussion clean and jargon-free. For education policy types without a background in the difficulties of test design and results interpretation, this straightforward guide will make for good reading. Find it here.

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