National Assessment of Educational Progress
Statement Submitted by Jack Jennings
To the Governing Board
October 5, 2018
The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) should change the achievement benchmarks for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These standards and benchmarks must be expressed in terms that parents and the public can understand.
The current achievement levels do not do that. Those levels, instead, have led to confusion in the news media and among teachers, parents, and the general public. It appears that very high aspirations ruled their development, instead of realistic conclusions based on sound data.
The consequences of the current approach are shown in recent research linking NAEP’s benchmarks to international assessments: the majority of students in most nations cannot clear NAEP’s proficiency bar. A disregard over many years of such studies done by respectable organizations showing the deficiencies in the processes used to develop these achievement benchmarks is the reason for these unrealistic results.
The National Assessment Governing Board has been a good steward of NAEP, with this major exception. I urge NAGB to establish a sound process to rewrite these achievement benchmarks. In addition, the public should not only be given more time to comment on these measures, but the advice given should also be considered with an open mind. I would expect nothing less from the Governing Board.