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The National Assessment of Educational Progress

What is NAEP

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has frequently been called The Nation’s Report Card. It is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subjects. NAEP began in 1964 with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation to set up the Exploratory Committee for the Assessment of Progress in Education. The first national assessments were conducted in 1969. Voluntary assessments for states began in 1990 on a trial basis, and, in 2002 and 2003, selected urban districts participated in the assessment on a trial basis. In 2003, the first NCLB-mandated NAEP assessments in reading and mathematics were administered. Since its inception in 1969, assessments have been conducted in numerous academic subjects, including the arts, civics, economics, geography, mathematics, reading, science, United States history, and writing.

Since 1988, the National Assessment Governing Board has been responsible for selecting the subject areas to be assessed. Furthermore, the Governing Board oversees creation of the frameworks that underlie the assessments and the specifications that guide the development of the assessment instruments. The framework for each subject area is determined through a collaborative development process that involves teachers, curriculum specialists, subject-matter specialists, school administrators, parents, and members of the public.

Why Participation of Selected Schools and Students is Vital

Schools and students are carefully selected to be in the NAEP samples according to demographic characteristics that make the samples collectively representative of all the nation's students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in public and private schools. The participation of each school and student selected helps ensure that NAEP truly reflects the great diversity of our nation's student population. For example, NAEP reports results for male and female students, specific student sub-groups, and students in different regions of the country. Because NAEP is a large-group assessment, each student takes only a small part of the overall assessment. In most schools, only a small portion of the total grade enrollment is selected to take the assessment, and these students may not reliably or validly represent the total school population. Only when the student scores are aggregated at the state or national level are the data considered reliable and valid estimates of what students know and can do in the content area. Consequently, school-, district- or student-level results are never reported. NAEP reports results either nationally or by state. Test scores and questionnaire responses are always kept confidential. Results are never reported for individual students or schools. District-level results are only reported for select large urban areas across the nation.

State NAEP

Since 1990, NAEP assessments have been conducted on the state level. Beginning with the 2003 NAEP cycle, the assessments have been conducted every two years. The cycle was broken with the 2021 cancellation of the assessment due to the pandemic but resumed its two-year cycle beginning with the administration of the 2022 assessment. Assessments are administered in mathematics and reading in Grades 4 and 8. A sample of schools and students in each state are carefully selected to participate in NAEP according to demographic characteristics that make the samples collectively representative of each state. Using this representative sample of schools and students, participating states receive assessment results that report on the performance of their Grades 4 and 8 students in these subjects. Since NAEP assessments are administered uniformly to all participating students, using the same test booklets and identical administration procedures across the nation, NAEP results serve as a common metric for states/jurisdictions and the large, urban districts that participate in the assessment. Results from the state assessments are typically released six months after administration, in the fall of the same year that they are administered.

In state years, Grade 12 assessments may also be conducted, along with some pilot assessments and special studies. Results from the Grade 12 assessments are released as national results about one year after administration, usually in the spring of the year following administration. For the pilot assessments, results are not released but are used to inform future NAEP assessments.

National NAEP

In the years when state results are not reported, NAEP reports information for the nation for subjects such as civics, United States History, and writing. National NAEP years include students drawn from both public and nonpublic schools and report results for student achievement at Grades 4, 8, and 12. Pilot tests and special studies are also conducted in national years. As in state years, no individual student, school, or district scores are reported.

Trial Urban District Assessments (TUDAs)

In addition to reporting on student achievement on national and state levels, NAEP also reports on test results in selected urban districts. The decision to report student achievement at the district level came in 2001, after discussion between the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS), and the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). According to NAGB, TUDA’s primary goal is to promote education reform in the schools of the nation’s largest urban school districts and to focus attention on the challenges faced by urban districts.

The TUDA program began in 2002 on a trial basis, much like the trial for state assessments in 1990. Six urban districts participated in that year in NAEP reading and writing assessments. In 2003, TUDA continued with reading and mathematics assessments and, in 2005, with reading, mathematics, and science assessments. The assessments administered in TUDAs are the same as those administered in states and jurisdictions, using identical administration procedures. As with the state and national assessments, TUDAs do not provide individual scores for the students or schools assessed.

Districts invited to participate in NAEP assessments must meet certain criteria. They must have populations over 250,000, and, in addition, one half of the population must be minority students or eligible for free or reduced-price lunch programs.

From its inception in 2002, the TUDA program has grown significantly. In 2009, eighteen districts participated in mathematics, reading, and science assessments, and by 2015 the number had grown to twenty-two. Further growth was seen in 2022 with twenty-seven TUDAs participating in the NAEP assessment. New York City was one of the original six districts chosen for the first trial assessment in 2002 and has participated in all subsequent TUDAs.

New York NAEP News - NAEP 2024

Who will take NAEP?

In New York State, 418 schools were selected by the United States Department of Education (USDOE) to participate in the 2024 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Of these schools, 181 are in New York City. The New York State Education Department will notify selected schools outside of New York City in September 2023, informing them which grades and subjects would be assessed, while the New York City Department of Education will notify the schools selected in their jurisdiction. A sample of students from each selected school will be chosen by the USDOE to participate in the NAEP assessments. Each student will be assessed in only one subject.

What subjects will NAEP assess?

In 2024, NAEP will administer three main assessment programs:

  • State-level assessments
    • Grades 4 and 8: Mathematics and Reading
  • National-level assessments
    • Grade 8: Science
    • Grade 12: Mathematics and Reading
  • Pilots
    • Grades 4 and 8: Mathematics and Reading

For the state-level assessments, results for each state will be released as part of The Nation’s Report Card. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state applications for Title 1 funds must include an assurance that schools in districts selected for NAEP will participate in these biennial NAEP mathematics and reading assessments in Grades 4 and 8 and that state results will be reported.

For the national-level assessments, results will also be released as part of The Nation’s Report Card.

For the pilot assessments, results will not be released but will inform future NAEP assessments. In accordance with ESSA, all districts that receive Title I funds have committed that school(s) within the district selected for NAEP will not only participate in the biennial Grades 4 and 8 NAEP Reading and Mathematics assessments but also in any field or pilot tests related to these assessments.

NAEP representatives provide significant support to schools by administering the assessment and bringing all necessary materials and equipment, including sanitized tablets on which students will take the assessment. NAEP will ask to use school-based Internet, when possible, to conduct the assessments. NAEP will work with districts and schools to determine if this is feasible for each school. The New York State NAEP Coordinator will contact principals to not only provide additional details about the assessments but also to ask the principal to choose a technology coordinator to identify each school’s Internet capabilities.

When will NAEP be administered?

NAEP will be administered in selected schools, countrywide, between January 29 and March 8, 2024.

Where can you find additional information?

Information on NAEP is available at: Additional questions may be addressed to Carolyn Trombe, New York State NAEP Coordinator, at: