Assessment

Broaden Achievement Definition for NAEP, Panel Urges

By Millicent Lawton — April 09, 1997 3 min read

The nation’s report card needs to branch out beyond measuring paper-and-pencil skills to assess such abilities as how well students work in groups, a panel of scholars and education leaders has concluded.

Putting a greater emphasis on the active use of knowledge would make the congressionally mandated National Assessment of Educational Progress a better measure of how students reason, the panel of the National Academy of Education at Stanford University says in a new report.

“Many jobs in the future, as well as education, depend upon being able to work with others and take on various roles ... and part of assessing how children are doing would be to learn how they’re doing in that regard,” said Robert L. Linn, a panel co-chairman and a professor of education at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“It’s not in any way a rejection or a minimization of knowledge and skills as measured by NAEP now,” he said, “but a belief that we need to know more.”

A 15-member committee of the national academy has been studying NAEP for six years and was expected to issue the last of its five reports on the assessment late last week in Washington. The report, Assessment in Transition: Monitoring the Nation’s Educational Progress, envisions what NAEP should be by the year 2015. The U.S. Department of Education paid for the report.

The assessment should, in the next 20 years, break down its reporting of student scores into categories of knowledge and skills, problem-solving and interpretation, and performance in groups--provided they can be shown to be valid and reliable, the report says.

AEP, which has been given since 1969, is the only nationally representative and ongoing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do in various academic subjects. The assessment is a project of the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics. The independent National Assessment Governing Board sets policy for NAEP.

Currently, NAEP examinations use multiple-choice and open-ended answers, measuring students’ basic and critical-thinking skills. The program does not assess group work.

Courting the Press

The academy panel also urged the Education Department to orchestrate a more ambitious public information campaign following the release of assessment results. The report suggests the secretary of education and the commissioner of education statistics “encourage the major television networks, leading national newspapers, and other publications to do extended feature stories” on the results.

The panel recommended that officials who run NAEP can meet some of the goals by using technology to create and score NAEP exercises. This “will allow the measurement of higher-order thinking skills and contributions to group problem-solving in ways not currently available,” the report says.

To that end, the academy group proposed that NAEP officials undertake a research and development program to apply technology to aiding the national assessment’s goals and objectives. Recommended topics include the use of computers in NAEP and adaptations for students with disabilities.

William T. Randall, the chairman of the assessment’s governing board, said in a prepared statement that the panel offered “useful recommendations.”

He said the suggestions are consistent with policies adopted by the board last year when it redesigned NAEP: providing a predictable, long-term schedule of assessments; promoting the means by which state and international assessments can be compared with the national assessment; expanding dissemination of and access to NAEP reports and data; and using advances in technology.

For More Information:

Copies of Assessment in Transition: Monitoring the Nation’s Educational Progress are available for $32 each, prepaid, including shipping and handling, from the National Academy of Education, CERAS Building, Room 108, Stanford, Calif. 94305-3084; (415) 725-1003.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
The Fall K-3 Classroom: What the data imply about composition, challenges and opportunities
The data tracking learning loss among the nation’s schoolchildren confirms that things are bad and getting worse. The data also tells another story — one with serious implications for the hoped for learning recovery initiatives
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment Opinion AP Exams Can't Be Business as Usual This Year
The College Board seems unconcerned with the collateral damage of its pandemic approach, writes an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
Pete Bavis
5 min read
Illustration of large boat in turbulent waters with other smaller boats falling into the abyss.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Assessment Federal Lawmakers Urge Miguel Cardona to Let States Cancel Tests, Highlighting Discord
A letter from Democratic members to the new education secretary calls for an end to the "flawed" system of annual standardized exams.
3 min read
Jamaal Bowman speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station inside Yonkers Middle/High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on June 23, 2020.
Jamaal Bowman speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station inside Yonkers Middle/High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on June 23, 2020.
John Minchillo/AP
Assessment How Two Years of Pandemic Disruption Could Shake Up the Debate Over Standardized Testing
Moves to opt out of state tests and change how they're given threaten to reignite fights over high-stakes assessments.
9 min read
Image of a student at a desk.
patat/iStock/Getty
Assessment A Plan for Standardized Test Scores During the Pandemic Has Gotten States' Attention
A testing expert says his idea would provide helpful data with key context, but said other measures about student well-being are crucial.
7 min read
HS class 1257213326
Getty