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Planned NAEP Cuts to Hit Science, Transcript Study, Long-Term Trends

The Nation's Report Card won't be reporting as much as it had planned in 2015 and 2016, based on actions taken by the NAEP governing board this weekend, my colleague Sarah D. Sparks reports over at Inside School Research. The actions come in response to an expected cut of 5 percent to NAEP in fiscal 2015 as a result of federal sequestration, as well as even deeper projected cuts over the next few years.

One area that takes a hit is science testing. State science samples on the main National Assessment of Educational Progress, for instance, will be cut back to 1,000 per grade, per state, in grades 4 and 8, planned expansion of 12th grade testing will be put on hold, and science will be removed altogether from the Trial Urban District Assessment, which examines achievement data for 21 big-city school districts.

Meanwhile, the High School Transcript Study, which provides lots of valuable data on the courses students take, will be suspended indefinitely, Sarah reports.

The reduction in students tested in science means that the statewide results will still be valid but it will be more difficult to tease out results for different subgroups of students, said an assistant director at the National Assessment Governing Board, according to the Inside School Research blog.

The National Assessment Governing Board also voted to suspend the 2016 administration of NAEP's long-term trends assessment. This is separate from the main NAEP exams and has tracked student achievement in reading and math for more than 40 years. In fact, the most recent results were announced last month.

The action follows a vote this spring by the National Assessment Governing Board to scale back NAEP testing in U.S. history, civics, and geography. Instead of testing students at grades 4, 8, and 12, they will only be tested at grade 8.

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