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 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

For more than 40 years, information on what American students know and can do has been generated by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  It is the first ongoing effort to obtain comprehensive and dependable achievement data on a national basis in a uniform and scientific manner.  Commonly known as “The Nation’s Report Card”, NAEP is a congressionally mandated project of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). 




Organizational Structure  

  • NCES is responsible, by law, for carrying out the NAEP project and overseeing the administration of the assessment.  NCES publishes the results of the assessments and releases them to the public.
  • The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), appointed by the Secretary of Education, governs and sets policy for NAEP.  NAGB is responsible for selecting subject areas to be assessed, identifying appropriate achievement goals, developing assessment objectives, developing test specifications, designing assessment methodology, and developing guidelines/standards for data analysis and reporting standards and procedures.
  • Many different contractors work with NCES to develop test items, develop background questionnaires, select school and student samples, print booklets, administer the assessment, score student responses, analyze data, and report results.


  • Reading and mathematics assessments with state results are given every two years.  One other subject is usually assessed during the state years also.  The other subjects have included science and writing.  The alternate years have national results only. 
  • Grades 4, 8 and 12 are assessed however results are only calculated in Georgia for grades 4 and 8.
  • Long term trend assessments are given every four years to students aged 9, 13 and 17.  This assessment tracks changes in national achievement over time. 
  • The assessments are administered by contracted employees who are in possession of all test materials at all times.
  • The assessment is given during one day and requires about 90 minutes of students’ time. There are two cognitive blocks which require 25 minutes each.
  • Background questionnaire for students which gathers information about school and home instructional and academic experiences.
  • NAEP will migrate to on-line testing in 2017.

Federal Legislation

  • President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 into law initiating a series of changes to NAEP.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA – formerly NCLB) requires/states that receive Title I funding to participate in the biennial NAEP assessment in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8.

State Legislation

  • The State School Superintendent and the State Board of Education support participation in the NAEP program in State Board Rule 160-3-1.07.
  • The Georgia Legislature supports participation in State Law O.C.G.A. Section 20-2-281.

Types of Results

  • Subject matter achievement at state or national level only
  • Scale score and achievement level results
  • Overall state and subgroup performance by gender, race/ethnicity and SD/ELL status
  • Statewide scores 

 About NAEP

Ways Educators Can Use NAEP Results in Their Work

  • Item Map links released questions (by selected subject and grade) to scale score map
  • About one third of items from each assessment are released each year and reside in the NAEP Questions Tool database
  • Interactive Items from computer based assessments
  • Test Yourself with questions from each of the assessed subjects
  • Released items include answer keys, scoring guides, content and process descriptions, jurisdiction performance and student exemplars

  • Customizable tables and graphics to display results through NAEP Data Explorer


Simple or causal inferences related to subgroup membership, the effectiveness of public/nonpublic schools and state/district level educational systems should not be drawn using NAEP results.  NAEP does not, nor is designed to report scores for individual.  Therefore, student-level inferences should not be drawn from the NAEP data.  The NAEP assessment results are most useful when they are considered in light of other knowledge about the education system, such as trends in educational reform, changes in school-age population, and societal demands and expectations.​​​​​​​​​​​