Assessment

NAEP Exclusion Rates Continue To Bedevil Policymakers

By Lynn Olson — May 28, 2003 3 min read

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

School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
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
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. 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 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