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Using 'Nation's Report Card' as a Source for Summer Study

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Parents looking for ways to keep their children's minds sharp this summer can access libraries, museums, and even sample questions and activities, compliments of the "Nation's Report Card"—more officially called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP.

In fact, NAEP is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas.

Starting in 2014, technology and engineering literacy will be added to the other subject areas already measured periodically—mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and United States history.

To help students "brush up" on the types of questions asked in the assessments, NAEP tweeted today that parents should access a "Question Tool," which provides information parents can use for teaching and quizzing purposes. While no technology or engineering questions are available yet, representative questions and activities in the other nine subject areas can be found in the NAEP Questions Tool.

For parents who want to delve even deeper into what the Nation's Report Card measures, sample question booklets are available here.

Parents: Why not go one step further, and challenge yourselves to answer some of these questions? That might offer a good opening for discussion and an opportunity to learn alongside your summer-vacationing, "why should I care about tests and report cards" student.

Also, stay tuned. On June 27, federal education officials will release a report looking back 40 years to compare today's students' performance in reading and mathematics with that of their counterparts in the 1970s and since.

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