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Important Implications of the NAEP Results

The most recent NAEP results reveal two important things:

1) The bar that most states set for students is painfully low. 88% percent of students in this country graduate high school, but NAEP shows that far less than half of 12th graders read and write at or above proficient rates. In fact, NAEP’s assessment are better aligned with international assessments like TIMSS and PISA than most state tests. It’s no wonder Americans turn in a middling performance on these exams in comparison to their peers in other countries.

2) It’s time to be bold and understand the opportunity-based reforms that are helping subsets of students achieve a higher bar. Despite overall disappointment, NAEP reveals pockets of success in some places—places where even the most disadvantaged students are making it to and through college, or taking advantage of innovative and rewarding post-secondary opportunities that afford them entrance to the middle class. (For more, see Education Transformation, Part 1.)

About the Nation’s Report Card National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—Fast Facts:

What Is It?

NAEP is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.*

When Is It?

NAEP tests different subject areas every year. The first NAEP test was administered in 1969.

How Is It Different?

NAEP assesses the high-level skills and competencies that students have at critical points in their K-12 careers (4th, 8th, and 12th grades). It is not aligned to specific grade-level competencies or standards.

What Can NAEP Tell Us?

NAEP results can tell us about improvements or declines over time in what students know and can do in different content areas. NAEP can also tell us how different sub-groups of fare, how different states compare to one another, and about the progress of large urban districts.

Why Is NAEP Important?

NAEP is known as The Nation’s Report Card because it is the only common measure of what students across the country know and can do. NAEP is more rigorous than state tests and it is “technically sound,” which means it is an extremely reliable assessment.

What Does NAEP Tell Me About The Schools In My State?

NAEP acts as a reality check for states that claim high numbers of proficient students in core subject areas like reading and math. When states claim high proficiency rates but NAEP proficiencies are low, the low standards that most states set become clear.

(For more, visit the NCES website.)

Back to A Nation Still At Risk? Results From The Latest NAEP Recall The Report From 35 Years Ago