Puerto Rico’s mathematics scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress can be accurately reported on the same scale that is now used to record individual U.S. states’ results, despite initial questions about the validity of the test as administered in the island commonwealth, a federal study has found.
Federal officials reached that conclusion after making adjustments to NAEP, known as “the nation’s report card,” following two trial assessments in Puerto Rico in 2003 and 2005. When officials examined scores from the 2003 test, they found that students skipped or incorrectly answered an unusually high number of questions, casting doubt on the validity of the results.
Officials from the National Center for Education Statistics, which oversees NAEP and published the analysis, made changes to the 2005 trial test, including changing the context and language of some math items to account for the “unique linguistic and cultural characteristics” of Puerto Rico, and allowing an extra 10 minutes for each of two timed sections of the test.
To be eligible for federal Title 1 money, all jurisdictions, including Puerto Rico, are required to participate in NAEP for 4th and 8th grade math and reading. The U.S. Department of Education decided that Puerto Rico did not have to participate in the NAEP reading test because that assessment measures reading ability in English, and Spanish is the language taught in Puerto Rican schools. Federal officials plan to fully integrate Puerto Rico into the math NAEP for the 2009 test, according to the analysis.
A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2008 edition of Education Week