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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the national representative assessment of what America's students know and can do in core subject areas. Teachers, administrators, parents, policymakers and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in America. Performance is reported by groups of students, e.g. by total, by gender, by racial and ethnic groups, and by participation in special programs such as those servicing students with special needs and limited English proficiency. Students' performance on the assessment is described in terms of the percentages of students attaining three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient and Advanced. The achievement levels are collective judgments of what students should know and be able to do. Each of these assessments/studies is based on a representative sample of the student population of the state and the nation. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education is responsible by law for carrying out the NAEP project. The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), appointed by the Secretary of Education but independent of the Department, sets policy for NAEP and is responsible for developing the frameworks and test specifications that serve as the blueprint for the assessments.

How are Pennsylvania Schools Selected?

Participants are selected through a scientific sampling method (multistage stratified random sampling). First, a representative sample of Pennsylvania public and nonpublic schools is selected to participate in the state and national assessments. Secondly, individual students from these schools are randomly selected to be tested. For the state assessment, NAEP selects students for each grade and subject. About 10% of the nation's fourth- and eighth-graders will participate in NAEP assessments biennially. Students with disabilities and limited-English-proficiency are included in the NAEP samples. Detailed information about sampling procedures.