NAGB Advances Resolution Urging NCES to Continue Plans for 2021 Mandated NAEP Assessments
NAGB Advances Resolution Urging NCES to Continue Plans for 2021 Mandated NAEP Assessments

August 2020

On July 31, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) voted 13–10 to pass a resolution that encourages the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to continue plans to administer the fourth- and eighth-grade 2021 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in math and reading. States are required to participate in these assessments every two years under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The vote took place as NCES was planning to move forward with these assessments. NAGB members noted congressional interest in NAGB’s view and the need for additional funding to carry out the assessments. NCES has indicated that $65 million in additional funding is needed to hire additional field staff to comply with physical distancing requirements and for multiple days of testing in schools that participate in the assessments. The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, which Senate Republicans introduced in late July, includes $65 million in emergency funding for NAEP.

NAGB voted after hearing from a panel of public health experts detailing states’ plans for reopening schools, describing recommendations for physical distancing and recent research showing children’s ability to spread the Covid-19 virus, and weighing the risks of bringing students back to school for socioemotional supports and to stem learning loss while ensuring the safety of students, teachers, and staff.

While a majority of NAGB members supported moving forward with the mandated NAEP assessments as scheduled, there remains a possibility that a waiver will need to be requested from Congress to postpone the reading and math tests for a year. NCES is developing a set of milestones that need to be met for a successful NAEP administration that meets NCES statistical standards. NCES and NAGB will also continue to monitor the possible impact of Covid-19 on school and student participation in NAEP that would compromise the validity of the assessment.

NAGB also voted unanimously to postpone the administration of voluntary assessments in eighth-grade civics and history for a year, to 2022, as well as the 17-year-old Long-Term Trend assessment that was canceled after schools closed in March.