Vaughn Elementary was one of three Peninsula School District schools selected for the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, often known as the Nation’s Report Card. A group of fourth-graders took assessment tests in math, reading and science, and their results will be included in determining Washington state’s scores. Nationwide, about 20,000 schools were part of the assessments that started in January and will include more than 1.2 million students in grades four, eight and 12 representing 11 million students nationwide.

The tests are similar to the mandatory Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL, but the NAEP testing doesn’t record the names of individual students, and results are not reported back to the schools. Although students are selected randomly from the schools, parents have the option to decline participation.

All the states and school districts that receive federal Title 1 (Learning Assistance Program) funding are required to take part in the NAEP, and schools are selected based on a stratified sampling method—based on school size, type of location, demographics and other criteria. “The goal is to identify schools based on demographics and location criteria to be representative of each state,” said Kathryn Sprigg, from the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In addition to the state level, NAEP has a national assessment that requires a smaller sample of students and is only intended to represent the country as a whole; only the national level tests 12th graders.

The Nation’s Report Card is a 35-yearold project that was mandated by the U.S. Congress, although the state-bystate program was only introduced in 1992.

“We can look at how students in Washington state compare to students across the nation or to other states of interest with similar demographics,” Sprigg said. “We have done better than the national average and are in the top tier performance among other states.”

Related Links:
For more information about the National Assessment of Educational Progress, visit http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard

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