Parents' Frequently Asked Questions About NAEP
What is the NAEP Assessment?
NAEP, or the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is often called the "Nation's Report Card." It is the only measure of student achievement in the United States where you can compare the performance of students in your state with the performance of students across the nation or in other states. NAEP, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, has been conducted since 1969. The results are widely reported by the national and local media. Learn more about NAEP.
Does NAEP replace the state tests that my child takes every year?
No. The achievement tests that your state requires each year are different from NAEP assessments.
Why do we need both the state achievement tests and NAEP?
Most state tests measure student performance on the state's own curriculum standards (i.e., what the state considers important for their students to know and be able to do). State tests allow comparisons of results over time within the state, and in most cases give individual student scores so that parents can know how their child is performing. State tests do not provide comparisons of results with other states or the nation.
NAEP is the only assessment that allows you to compare results from one state with those of another, or with results for the rest of the nation. NAEP helps states answer such questions as the following: How does the performance of students in my state compare with the performance in other states with similar resources or students? How does my state's performance compare with the region's? Are my state's gains in student performance keeping up with the pace of improvement in other states?
Together, state achievement tests and NAEP help educators and policymakers have a comprehensive picture of student performance.
Why does my state participate in NAEP?
One reason a state chooses to participate in NAEP is that it considers NAEP data to be a valuable source of information. Some states use NAEP results to supplement the information they get from their own tests. NAEP permits your state to directly compare how it performs relative to the nation and other states. Since 1992, more than 40 states have participated in every state NAEP assessment.
Another reason for state participation, beginning with the NAEP 2003 assessment, came about with the passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. The NCLB was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2001, and requires that states receiving federal "Title I" education funds participate in NAEP reading and mathematics assessments at grades 4 and 8 every two years (view the assessment schedule).
You can see your state's participation history and performance by selecting your state from the NAEP State Profiles. Within your state's profile you will find visual displays that permit you to compare your state's performance with that of the nation and other states.
How many schools in my state have been selected?
In a typical state, 100 schools are selected in grade 4, and 100 schools in grade 8. These schools are selected to represent the demographic and geographic composition of the state. Get more information about how schools are selected and how NAEP is administered.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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