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Changes Eyed to Ramp Up NAEP's Influence on Policy, Practice

The governing board for "the nation's report card" is exploring changes to the assessment program intended to leverage NAEP achievement data to better inform education policy and practice.

The idea, outlined in a new report from an expert panel, is to expand and make far greater use of the background information collected when the National Assessment of Educational Progress is administered. Citing global-assessment programs like PISA, the panel suggests, for one, that NAEP reports could identify factors that may differentiate high-performing states and urban districts from low-performers.

The report also suggests that NAEP could be used to track policy trends, including the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

I examine the report and debate around it (including pushback from some current and former federal education officials) in a new EdWeek story.

"Currently, the NAEP background questions are a potentially important but largely underused national resource," says the report commissioned by the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP. "These data could provide rich insights into a wide range of important issues about the nature and quality of American primary and secondary education and the context for understanding achievement and its improvement."

The report was released just weeks after the Obama administration proposed a fiscal 2013 budget that would cut the NAEP budget by $6 million, while funding a pilot program for states to benchmark the performance of their 15-year-olds against that of students around the world on PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment.

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