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Changes in NAEP Urged To Help Monitor Goals

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WASHINGTON--The National Assessment of Educational Progress should serve as the "primary" means of assessing national and state progress toward targets for student achievement by the year 2000, the National Education Goals Panel has decided.

Acting at a meeting here last month, the panel of governors and Bush Administration officials adopted a resolution urging several changes in the federally funded project to make it more useful in gauging progress toward the national education goals.

In particular, the resolution calls On NAEP to alter its testing schedule so that achievement in at least one of the core subjects--English, mathematics, science, history, and geography--is reported each year.

Currently, NAEP assesses the performance of students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in reading, writing, and mathematics every two years; in science every four years; and in history and geography every six years.

"A more frequent inspection of the product is how you improve quality," said Gov. John Ashcroft of Missouri.

The resolution, adopted the same day the panel endorsed a report urging the development of national standards and a national system of assessments, also states that NAEP frameworks and assessments should be "consistent with evolving national content standards."

If such standards are adopted by the soon-to-be-created National Education Standards and Assessments Council and the goals panel, the resolution states, "NAEP should use these content standards as the basis for [its] frameworks and assessments.''

Because the proposed system of assessments would also be based on such standards, Governor Ashcroft suggested that NAEP could be available to states to measure their own students' performance.

But Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado noted that many educators have strong objections to using NAEP to test all students in a state, rather than a sample of students, as it currently does.

"NAEP was not designed to be an individual-student test," Governor Romer said.
--R.R.

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