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For more than five decades, NAEP has served an invaluable role in tracking the nation’s student achievement across time and content areas. NAEP measures the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students through assessments in reading, mathematics, science, writing, and other subjects. The information collected provides a snapshot of the condition of education in the United States.

Under a contract awarded by the National Assessment Governing Board, WestEd led the development of recommendations for updating the NAEP Science Assessment Framework. The process convened panels of subject-matter experts, practitioners, and members of the general public to develop recommendations for updates to the NAEP Science Framework for 2028 and beyond. Outreach was ongoing throughout the project to gather input, along with feedback and public comment on draft documents. The process culminated with Governing Board action on the recommended NAEP Science Assessment Framework.

Updates to the NAEP Science Assessment Framework were completed in Fall 2023. The updated framework will be reflected by the 2028 NAEP Science Report Card. 

  • Congressionally mandated, independent measure of student achievement

  • Reports group-level performance (no results for individual students or schools)

  • Reports scale scores and achievement levels

  • Provides state-level and urban district-level results in several subject areas

  • Administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

  • An independent, non-partisan board established by Congress in 1988 to oversee NAEP and to set policy for all aspects of NAEP:

    • Determine the assessment schedule

    • Develop assessment frameworks

    • Review and approve assessment and survey items

    • Design methodology to ensure valid and reliable assessment

    • Set achievement levels

    • Release the Nation’s Report Card

  • Developed through a comprehensive, inclusive, and deliberative process that strives to achieve consensus

  • Describe the content and format of a NAEP assessment

    • What to measure at each grade

    • How to measure it

    • How achievement levels are to be represented

  • Written for diverse audience of educators, policymakers, and the public


Last fall, the Governing Board sought public comment on whether and how the current NAEP Science Assessment Framework should be updated. The feedback received, along with expert papers commissioned on this topic, were used to inform a Board Charge to the Steering and Development Panels that was unanimously adopted during the May 2022 quarterly Board meeting.

During the summer of 2022, the Governing Board put out an open call for nominations of panelists to serve on the Steering and Development Panels. Board staff and contractors reached out to over 700 organizations and individuals and received 120 applications from very qualified and engaged members of the education community. In late August 2022, the Board’s Assessment Development Committee and Executive Committee unanimously approved the NAEP Science Assessment Framework Panel slate.

In addition to the framework panelists, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) provided advice on technical issues raised during framework deliberations, and an Educator Advisory Committee (EAC) provided additional perspectives from practitioners. Other key stakeholders were engaged throughout the process to provide feedback as appropriate.

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