Examining NAEP Achievement in Relation to School Testing Conditions in the 2010 Assessments

George Bohrnstedt, Illiana de los Reyes, and Fran Stancavage

NAEP has expended considerable effort to ensure high quality in data collection by developing standardized materials and survey operation procedures and using well-trained professional administrators. However, schools are allowed to minimize the disruption associated with pulling students out of classrooms by having all students assessed at one time. This policy is intended to encourage sampled schools to participate, but may have unintended negative consequences for the testing conditions experienced by these students. This study examined NAEP testing conditions in schools and investigated whether being assessed in less than optimal testing conditions is associated with lower student achievement on the assessments.

The testing conditions study confirms that NAEP assessed most students in 2010 in conditions that were consistent with best practices. Also, students assessed in large sessions did not necessarily have lower achievement. However, in general, achievement was lower when the number of problems in a session increased, particularly when the session had as many as 6–10 problems.