The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as "The Nation's Report Card," is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Since 1969, assessments have been conducted periodically in reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and the arts.
NAEP does not provide scores for individual students or schools; instead, it offers results regarding subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences, and school environment for populations of students (e.g., fourth-graders) and subgroups of those populations (e.g., female students, Hispanic students). NAEP results are based on a sample of student populations of interest.
National NAEP reports information for the nation and specific geographic regions of the country. It includes students drawn from both public and nonpublic schools and reports results for student achievement at grades 4, 8, and 12.
These assessments follow the Frameworks developed by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), and use the latest advances in assessment methodology. For example, NAEP assessments include a large percentage of constructed-response questions and questions that require the use of calculators and other materials. Innovative types of questions have been used in assessments such as the arts (theatre, music, and visual arts) and science to measure students' ability to perform hands-on tasks.
Since 1990, NAEP assessments have also been conducted on the state level. Participating states receive assessment results that report on the performance of students in that state. In its content, the state assessment is identical to the assessment conducted nationally. However, because the national NAEP samples were not, and are not currently designed to support the reporting of accurate and representative state-level results, separate representative samples of students are selected for each participating jurisdiction/state.
Illinois' history of NAEP participation is available at http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/.
NAEP long-term trend assessments are designed to give information on the changes in the basic achievement of America's youth. They are administered nationally and report student performance at ages 9, 13, and 17 in mathematics, science, reading and grades 4, 8, and 11 in writing. Measuring trends of student achievement or change over time requires the precise replication of past procedures. Therefore, the long-term trend instrument does not evolve based on changes in curricula or in educational practices.
In addition to the assessments, NAEP coordinates a number of special educational studies related to assessment. Ongoing projects include the High School Transcript Study and a Technology-Based Assessment project designed to explore the use of technology, especially the use of the computer as a tool to enhance the quality and efficiency of educational assessments