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


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 Cardona Says Standardized Tests Haven't Always Met the Mark, Offers New Flexibility
The U.S. Department of Education is seeking to reinvigorate a little-used pilot program to create new types of assessments.
7 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office at the Department of Education on Sept. 20, 2023 in Washington.
Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Assessment Opinion The 4 Common Myths About Grading Reform, Debunked
Grading reformers and their critics all have the same goal: grades that truly reflect student learning. Here’s how we move forward.
Sarah Ruth Morris & Matt Townsley
5 min read
Venn diagram over a macro shot of A- on white results sheet. Extremely shallow focus. Letter grades are highlighted.
E+/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week
Assessment If ChatGPT Can Write Virtually Anything, What Should a National Writing Exam Test?
That's a question the board that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress is confronting amid AI's rapid ascendance.
6 min read
Image of a person using a computer, with glasses, papers, and pencil on the desk too.
Assessment From Our Research Center Few Educators Say A-F and Numeric Grades Offer 'Very Effective' Feedback for Students
Fewer than 1 in 6 educators—13 percent— say that A through F or numeric grades are a “very effective way” to give feedback to students.
3 min read
Cropped image of teacher standing in front of a blurred classroom of students with test results in hand showing the letter A in red.