Assessment

NAEP Exclusion Rates Continue To Bedevil Policymakers

By Lynn Olson — May 28, 2003 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The board that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress continues to grapple with how to report scores for states that exclude large numbers of students from naep because they have disabilities or limited fluency in English.

Results from the assessment’s 2002 reading tests, to be released next month, will not flag the scores of states with relatively high exclusion rates, said Peggy G. Carr, the associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the arm of the U.S. Department of Education that administers NAEP. But, she said in an interview last week, the report will provide additional information to help the public interpret the data, where necessary.

In the long term, said Charles E. Smith, the executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, “a top agenda item” will be how to interpret and communicate information about differences in exclusion rates across states to the general public.

“What’s missing,” he said during the quarterly meeting of NAGB in Kansas City, Mo., held May 15-17, “is a research- based mechanism—widely accepted—by which exclusion rates may be gauged and interpreted. Current methodologies have not yet achieved that goal.”

Puzzling Trend

Often called “the nation’s report card,” NAEP is the leading national barometer of what a representative sample of students know and can do in core subjects.

Under NAEP guidelines, schools selected for the sample may exclude certain students with disabilities or limited English proficiency, if officials deem them unable to participate meaningfully in the assessment. For example, students who have not had at least three years of academic instruction in English may be excused from the exam.

Since the mid-1990s, NAEP has offered a wide range of accommodations for those categories of students, such as more test-taking time, in an effort to reduce exclusion rates. Even so, those rates vary widely across states and have been rising in some, for reasons that are not entirely clear. (“NAEP Board Worries States Excluding Too Many From Tests,” March 19, 2003.)

Those increases have elicited concerns about the fairness or validity of comparing results across states with large differences in their exclusion rates.

In the next few weeks, Mr. Smith said, NAGB staff members will be looking for ways to examine the issue “totally separate and apart from any release of NAEP assessment results.”

In addition, the NCES has formed a working group to consider how NAEP could take a more active approach in standardizing local decisions about whether students take part in the tests and what, if any, accommodations they receive.

When it comes to the 2002 reading results, Mr. Smith said, “there is a sense of comfort that every effort has been made by NCES and its staff to properly interpret and to report” the scores.

World History Delayed

During the Kansas City meeting, the board also voted to delay a world history test for 12th graders until 2010 and to move up U.S. history tests in grades 4, 8, and 12 from 2010 to 2006.

The world history test originally was scheduled for 2006. But the board decided it needed more information about world history instruction before moving forward with the design of an assessment. Meanwhile, board members expressed strong support for testing U.S. history, which was last assessed in 2001.

David Northrup, the president-elect of the World History Association, said that while there is concern in the field that if the subject isn’t tested, it will not be valued, coming up with a sound test should be the first priority.

“The time frame is not the most important consideration,” Mr. Northrup, a professor of history at Boston College, said in an interview. “There is nothing to be gained by rushing.”

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
Teaching Profession Webinar
How Does Educator Well-Being Impact Social-Emotional Awareness in Schools?
Explore how adult well-being is key to promoting healthy social-emotional behaviors for students. Get strategies to reduce teacher stress.
Content provided by International Baccalaureate
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
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.

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 What the Digital SAT Will Mean for Students and Educators
The college-admissions test will be fully digital by 2024. Priscilla Rodriguez from the College Board discusses the change.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Assessment Opinion Searching for Common Ground: What Makes a Good Test?
Rick Hess and USC Dean Pedro Noguera discuss standardized testing—what it’s for, where it’s gone wrong, and how to improve it.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment in 2022
This Spotlight will help you understand how to use assessment data to guide student learning and examine the debate over standardized tests.
Assessment State Test Results Are In. Are They Useless?
While states, districts, and schools pore over data from spring 2021 tests, experts urge caution over how to interpret and use the results.
9 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2016 file photo, a sign is seen at the entrance to a hall for a college test preparation class in Bethesda, Md. The $380 million test coaching industry is facing competition from free or low-cost alternatives in what their founders hope will make the process of applying to college more equitable. Such innovations are also raising questions about the relevance and the fairness of relying on standardized tests in admissions process.
A sign is posted at the entrance to a hall for a test-preparation class. Assessment experts say educators should use data from spring 2021 tests with caution.
Alex Brandon/AP