In an effort to make National Assessment of Educational Progress tests more meaningful to nonresearchers, federal researchers have published a report that shows how scores on NAEP might translate to real-life outcomes for students.
For their study, researchers from the National Center for Education Statistics meld 12th grade scores from the NAEP program with data from another federal study known as the National Education Longitudinal Study, which tracked a nationally representative group of students from 1988, when they were in 8th grade, until 2000, when students were about 26 years old.
The findings shed some light on debates over whether federal policymakers have set the NAEP levels too high. For instance, only 13 percent of the seniors who took calculus would have made it to the highest level on the NAEP test, according to the NCES report. On the other hand, 5 percent of students with C averages in high school would have scored at proficient or advanced levels on the test.