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New Test System Should Be Tied to NAEP, Panel Says

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The National Assessment of Educational Progress should be an integral part of any new national student-assessment system, NAEP'S governing board has stated.

But the board emphasized that it is not recommending that NAEP be expanded to become an "individualized" test of students.

The National Assessment Governing Board's policy statement, adopted at a meeting this month in San Diego, notes that "there already is great consistency between NAEP and proposals for a national examination system."

Like such proposals, the statement points out, NAEP tests students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in core subjects. In addition, it states, beth systems involve developing a consensus on curriculum content, as well as setting standards for student performance.

If a new system is created, the statement suggests, NAEP test frameworks could be "a basis for development'' of curriculum standards, and NAEP's achievement levels could inform the setting of student- performance standards.

"Given the integrity and success of the consensus process [for developing frameworks]," the statement says, "the board encourages and supports the use Of NAEP assessment frameworks as a basis for development should a national examination system be established."

The board recommended, however, that curriculum standards, test frameworks, and student-performance standards be set by separate agencies.

The statement also suggests that NAEP could be a basis for linking state and local districts' tests to national standards. It urges that NAEP and any national examination system be based on similar standards and have common reporting systems.

'Unique' Function

"It makes little sense to report individual student results and not be able to compare them with state and nationally representative NAEP results," the statement says. "Linda Jones's parents will better understand their daughter's 4th-grade mathematics results if they are set in the context of school, state, and national results."

But while NAEP must change to be compatible with any new system, it must also retain its "unique" function as a monitor of student achievement over time, the board affirmed.

An "individualized student NAEP exam would require significant changes in design and methodology which could affect the integrity of NAEP as a monitor of education performance; such changes are not being recommended here," the beard said.

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