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National Assessment of Educational Progress

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Overview of NAEP

The Student Experience

Do all students in a school selected for NAEP participate in testing?

No. In 2015, in schools participating in the paper and pencil version of NAEP, roughly one-third of the sampled students will take a reading test, another 30 will take a math test, and another 30 will take a science test. In schools selected to take the NAEP technology-based assessment, 50 students will be sampled.

If a student is selected for NAEP, must he/she participate?

Student participation in NAEP is voluntary. Under federal law, parental notification by schools prior to testing is required to inform families that students who are sampled for the assessment may opt not to participate. To ensure that Massachusetts is part of NAEP, and that educators, parents, policymakers, and citizens can learn how Massachusetts performs compared to other states and the nation as a whole, it is very important that all students selected for NAEP actually participate.

How much time is required of students participating in NAEP?

Students selected to participate in the NAEP pencil and pencil version will take a 50-minute test in one subject area. Students also complete a short background questionnaire. In all, no more than 90 minutes is required for the entire experience. Students selected to take the test on a NAEP supplied tablet may take a little longer to complete the assessment.

Does each student take the entire NAEP test?

No. Each student selected for NAEP takes only a portion of the entire test in one subject area. For instance, in 2013, a 4th grade student chosen for NAEP reading was administered two 25-minute sets, or blocks, of reading items. The entire NAEP reading assessment consisted of ten 25-minute blocks of items.

NAEP uses matrix sampling, where selected students take a subset of the entire set of test items for that grade level, in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the subject area tested while also reducing the burden on each individual student.

Do students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency participate in NAEP?

Yes, students with disabilities and LEP students who are chosen for NAEP do participate in the tests. Students with disabilities are provided testing accommodations similar those provided on MCAS.

According to NAEP's policy, LEP students are assessed unless the student has received instruction in English for fewer than three school years and the student cannot demonstrate his or her knowledge of reading or mathematics in English even with permissible accommodations.

Do students receive a score or report card of their performance on NAEP?

No. Individual student and school results on NAEP are never reported. Only state-level results for Massachusetts and district-level results for the Boston Public Schools will be reported for the 2015 NAEP assessments in reading and mathematics.

Who administers the NAEP to students?

NAEP field staffs, hired by the U.S. Department of Education, visit schools and administer all assessment sessions. School officials, including classroom teachers, may sit in to observe the assessments.

Schools Chosen for NAEP

Additional Information

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Last Updated: August 20, 2014
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