National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Years Available
1969 to present
Assessments in mathematics and reading at grades 4 and 8 are administered every two years; assessments at grade 12 and in other subjects are administered less frequently.
Mode of Collection
Sample survey and assessment.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card, is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. The NAEP is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (ED, NCES). The assessment is given to a representative sample of students in grades 4, 8, and 12 across the country. Results are reported for groups of students with similar characteristics (e.g., gender, race and ethnicity, school location), not individual students. National results are available for all subjects assessed by NAEP (currently: reading, mathematics, science, writing, the arts, civics, U.S. history, and technology and engineering literacy). State and selected urban district results are available for mathematics, reading, and (in some assessment years) science and writing. The NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment provides reading and mathematics assessment in 27 districts. NAEP's long-term trend (LTT) assessments are administered in mathematics and reading to 9, 13, and 17-year-olds and maintain a measurement trend dating back to 1971.
Selected Content
Percentage of students at or above proficiency in selected subjects by demographic characteristics, and other factors.
Population Covered
Public and private school students in grades 4, 8, and 12
NCES creates, administers, scores, and reports the results of the NAEP. To ensure that a representative sample of students is assessed, NAEP is given in a sample of schools whose students reflect the varying demographics of a specific jurisdiction, be it the nation, a state, or a district. Within each selected school and grade to be assessed, students are chosen at random to participate in NAEP. Every student has the same chance of being chosen—regardless of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, status as an English language learner, or any other factors. The Common Core of Data (CCD) file serves as the sampling frame for the selection of public schools in each state and jurisdiction. The CCD is a comprehensive list of operating public schools in each jurisdiction compiled each school year by NCES. NAEP assessments are administered uniformly, using the same sets of questions and problems across the nation. The assessment essentially stays the same from year to year, with only carefully documented changes. To address the increased role of technology in classrooms, the NAEP is transitioning from paper and pencil to digitally based assessments. NAEP digital assessments, which are administered on tablets, use dynamic and innovative technologies to provide an engaging assessment experience for students and more meaningful data about students' skills and knowledge for educators. With digitally based assessments, students are asked to receive, gather, and report information just as they do in their everyday lives. These new assessments include universal design principles, making it possible for more students to participate without special accommodation sessions.
Response Rates and Sample Size
Varies by subject matter and grade. For example, in 2019, 152,300 grade 4 students in 8,280 schools participated in the mathematics assessment. The student-weighted response rate was 97%; the school- weighted response rate was 90%.