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NAEP to Expand Use of Background Data

The National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the NAEP, has decided to expand use of the background questions posed to students who take that test, also known as the "nation's report card."

My colleague Erik Robelen reported to you earlier this year that NAGB was contemplating this move, in a bid to better understand the contextual circumstances of students who take the NAEP. On Saturday, during its quarterly meeting here in Washington, the panel unanimously voted to go ahead with that expansion.

NAGB plans revisions that would yield a richer, more detailed sense of students' educational circumstances, such as their motivation, out-of-school learning, use of technology, and better measures of their socioeconomic status. It aims to mine that trove to produce more focused reporting on charter schools, private schools, gender gaps and African-American male students. To do this, the time spent collecting this data will have to be expanded from 10 minutes to 15 minutes.

You can read the resolution on background data for yourself here.

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