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Published on Friday, February 11, 2022

Bringing it into Focus: A Look at Focus on NAEP

Bringing it into Focus: A Look at Focus on NAEP

Through its Focus on NAEP website, the Nation's Report Card provides non-technical audiences a closer look at how the NAEP assessment works. In turn, stakeholders outside of the research community can have a better understanding of why this assessment matters. In this week’s post we look at how researchers can benefit from exploring this useful tool.

For many education researchers, it is well known that NAEP is the largest nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in select subjects. But for many audiences, technical or non-technical, understanding the complexities of how the NAEP Assessment works can be challenging. The way the general public interprets the results of the NAEP Assessment can impact how they use the information and perceive its relevance and value. This is where Focus on NAEP provides a vital tool to the Nation’s Report Card in achieving part of its strategic vision to inform education stakeholders (e.g., parents, educators, and policymakers).

Focus on NAEP breaks down the assessment into main topics with associated articles to explore, including:

  • Assessment Literacy
  • Participation
  • Performance and Preparedness
  • Student Groups

Within these main areas, viewers can read articles that cover sub-topics such as how NAEP assesses English Language Learners or what Simpson’s Paradox is, and how it happens in NAEP.

The most recent article explains three ways NAEP data are reported: scale scores, achievement levels, and percentages. In order to convey these three different ways of reporting NAEP data, the article uses the analogy of the thermometer, a commonplace object with two different sets of scales to interpret: Celsius and Fahrenheit. NAEP researcher from American Institutes for Research and Focus on NAEP co-author Cadelle Hemphill states, “It [Focus on NAEP] makes plain complex ideas in ways that engage a layperson and connects them to the research.”



As NAEP researchers continue to explore new ways to enhance the NAEP assessment through various innovations, how you communicate that information will make all the difference in ensuring your work is understood by everyone. Check out your own understanding of the NAEP assessment and see more Focus on NAEP articles at the Nation’s Report Card.

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