SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 151
October 3, 1997
|FROM:||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress|
For more than 25 years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has served American educators as an information resource, providing reliable profiles of what our students know and can do in key subject areas. The Nation's Report Card, as NAEP has come to be known, is the only ongoing project to monitor trends in our students' achievement at the elementary, middle, and high-school levels. In large part, NAEP owes its success to the support from local educators whose schools are randomly chosen to participate. In 1998, NAEP will conduct separate national and state assessments. Virginia's Standards of Quality provide for participation in both the National and State NAEP Assessments. The National Assessment will involve a nationally representative sample of roughly 150,000 students from approximately 2,300 schools across the country in the subjects of reading, writing, and civics. The NAEP State Assessment includes tests in reading and writing at the eighth grade and reading at the fourth grade. The NAEP State Assessment will be administered during February. The NAEP State Assessment is designed to help states evaluate the performance of their students in light of results from other states and the nation at-large. A small number of schools in most Virginia school divisions have been selected by NAEP staff for the National and/or State components of the 1998 NAEP assessment. A listing of the schools selected in your division is enclosed, with a suggested date for conducting the NAEP State Assessment. We are able to negotiate an alternative date for those of you who have conflicts on the suggested date. A summary of tasks relating to the State NAEP Assessment is enclosed. The National and State NAEP Assessments have several similarities. Both assessments: are based on representative samples of the student population; are paper-and-pencil tests designed to last about 90 minutes; protect the anonymity of the participating students; and provide results for males and females and other variables related to educational context but are not designed to produce individual, school, or school division data. The National and State NAEP Assessments also differ in two major respects: National Assessments are administered by the NAEP staff, whereas the administration of State Assessments are to be conducted by local or district staff; The State Assessment will cover only reading and writing, while the National assessment will cover reading, writing, and civics. In the next few days, your Division Director of Testing will receive additional information and materials concerning the 1998 NAEP State Assessment. A NAEP project staff member will contact you separately to arrange for the administration of the National Assessment. If you or your colleagues have questions about the NAEP Assessments, please phone Kevin Hughes in the Department's Division of Assessment and Reporting. He may be reached at 804/225-2102. You and your colleagues at the local level play the lead role in carrying out programs to improve student performance. The NAEP assessments are an important measure of your success. I want to thank you in advance for your efforts to ensure its success. RTL/jc Enclosures: A hard copy of this memo and its enclosures will be sent to the superintendent's office.