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NAEP Picks Subjects For 1987 Examination

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Washington--The 1987-88 National Assessment of Educational Progress will test students' knowledge of citizenship, reading, writing, and U.S. history and geography, naep officials have decided.

The assessment policy committee, which supervises the design and operation of naep, approved the subject areas for the 1987-88 survey at a meeting here this month.

naep, a Congressionally mandated testing program funded by the Education Department, is the only regularly conducted national survey of educational achievement among schoolchildren in grades K-12. First administered in 1969, it has been measuring students' academic progress biennially since 1980.

The government contract to run the testing program, previously held by the Education Commission of the States, was won by the Educational Testing Service in 1983.

The survey has tested students in 10 different subject areas at various times. The Congress has mandated that naep test student progress in certain subjects, such as reading, at regular intervals.

Wilmer Cody, chairman of the policy committee and superintendent of the Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools, said the committee voted to include citizenship and U.S. geography in the next survey because those subjects had only been tested twice previously.

The 1987-88 assessment will mark the first time that naep has tested students' knowledge of American history and geography across all three ages and grade levels surveyed, said Kent Ashworth, a spokesman for the program. A probe of 17-year-olds' knowledge of U.S. history and Western literature is included in the 1985-86 tests, which students will take beginning next month.

The 1985-86 survey will also test reading, mathematics, science, and computer competency at all ages and grade levels.

naep has not conducted a full4fledged assessment of citizenship since 1975-76, Mr. Ashworth said, although questions on previous surveys have established trend data. Citizenship was defined by the policy committee as "political knowledge and attitudes."

Seven Principles

Mr. Cody said the committee also discussed the seven "principles" for changing naep that Secretary of Education William J. Bennett proposed last month. A letter reacting to the seven principles item by item is being drafted and will be sent to Secretary Bennett in the near future, he said. (See Education Week, Sept. 25, 1985.)

"We think that what the national assessment is now doing is sound and solid and should be continued," said Mr. Cody. But he added that committee members reacted positively to some of Secretary Bennett's new ideas.--lo

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