Assessment Letter to the Editor

We Need NAEP

July 12, 2022 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In his essay, Al Kingsley, a British school official, encourages Americans to ignore and do away with the National Assessment of Educational Progress biannual math and reading results (“Ignore NAEP. Better Yet, Abolish It,” June 6, 2022).

Perhaps Mr. Kingsley is unaware that NAEP is our country’s only common standard to measure student progress. NAEP results allow us to compare trends across districts and states and gauge student achievement, including changes and gaps in achievement over time. In stark contrast to the U.K. education system—which has a national curriculum and standards used by all primary and secondary schools (aside from private, academy, and free schools) and standardized national assessments like A-levels—the U.S. public education system is primarily a state and local responsibility.

It is crucial that we have one valid and reliable measure to demonstrate how U.S. students are doing compared with their peers both nationally and internationally. While it does not tell us what each individual student knows, NAEP is a powerful snapshot of what students have learned and provides representative estimates of key subgroups. We need this information to make important policy decisions, examine the effects of education interventions across different subnational entities, determine our international competitiveness, and identify inequities and how best to allocate resources.

NAEP is especially important now as our country grapples with the massive disruption to learning that has happened over the past two years. The results provide critical evidence of the pandemic’s impact on students’ education across the country that we can leverage to mitigate learning loss and advance learning. Policy decisions should be based on rigorous evidence, and the United States would face an immeasurable loss without the unique insights and evidence that NAEP provides.

Rachel Dinkes
President & Chief Executive Officer
Knowledge Alliance
Washington, D.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 13, 2022 edition of Education Week as We Need NAEP


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.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Classroom Strategies for Building Equity and Student Confidence
Shape equity, confidence, and success for your middle school students. Join the discussion and Q&A for proven strategies.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
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.
Professional Development Webinar
Disrupting PD Day in Schools with Continuous Professional Learning Experiences
Hear how this NC School District achieved district-wide change by shifting from traditional PD days to year-long professional learning cycles
Content provided by BetterLesson
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

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 A Huge Publisher and a Big Testing Company Are Teaming Up. What This Means for Educators
Four key questions to consider about how the pairing of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NWEA might affect educators.
3 min read
Students testing.
Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment
This Spotlight will help you examine updated testing guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Ed, analyze college-placement test scores, and more.

Assessment Opinion We Are More Than Our Grades: A Student's Perspective
Students have come to believe that their GPA and test scores are the ultimate reflection of their self-worth, writes a college senior.
Bailey Striepling
3 min read
Conceptual illustration of Students emerging from a field of giant discarded letter grades.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images
Assessment Letter to the Editor Grading for Growth Through Competency-Based Education
Competency-based education can better prepare today's children for tomorrow's challenges, writes this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.