Maintaining the Validity of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in a Common Core Based Environment

Peter Behuniak, University of Connecticut, and a member of the AIR-sponsored NAEP Validity Studies Panel

The creation and widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has ushered in the most significant change in education policy since No Child Left Behind. Given the level of investment in this initiative, there will be great interest in tracking its impact on student achievement as reflected in the assessments developed to align with the CCSS. However, throughout this transition to the CCSS, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will surely continue to be a major indicator of interest to educators and policymakers.

This white paper examines the issues associated with employing NAEP in the role of monitoring student achievement during a period when states are increasingly implementing CCSS-based assessments. The focus of this white paper is to bring both policy and psychometric considerations to bear in discussing the relationship of NAEP and CCSS-based assessments. The discussion examines how the traditional roles of NAEP are affected by the introduction of CCSS-based curricula and assessments. The paper also identifies caveats or limitations that may be necessary to consider when interpreting NAEP results over the next several years.

Since 1995, AIR has maintained the NAEP Validity Studies Panel, an independent panel of experts that meets to commission and discuss research addressing validity considerations for NAEP.