AERA Comments on NAEP Background Questions
AERA Comments on NAEP Background Questions

May 2012

AERA has submitted comments to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) on a proposal to review and revise the background questions on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). The proposal appeared in an NAGB report issued in February.

A Report to the National Assessment Governing Board by the Expert Panel on Strengthening the NAEP Background Questions provided recommendations in four key areas: asking important questions, improving the accuracy of measures, strengthening sampling efficiency, and reinstituting meaningful analysis and reporting. The report also advanced recommendations for implementation, such as issuing special reports based on the background data and improving the usability of the NAEP Data Explorer.

In its comments, AERA supported several of NAGB’s recommendations, including appointing a NAGB committee responsible for overseeing background questions, developing questions that are drawn from research, and continuing efforts to institute a more accurate measure of socioeconomic status (SES). AERA urges caution against using the NAEP background questions as a tool to gauge the impact of various policy initiatives and against eliminating questions on race and ethnicity under the assumption that this information can be collected from student records. AERA encourages collaboration going forward with the National Center for Education Statistics.

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