Revision of the NAEP Science Framework and Assessment

James Pellegrino

The frameworks for National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science and NAEP Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) were developed before the National Research Council (NRC) framework and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and all within a window of approximately 6–7 years. All four drew upon bodies of theory, research, and practice regarding the knowing, learning, and teaching of science and technology available at the time of their development. Assuming continued implementation of assessments, curriculum materials, instructional practices, and professional learning opportunities aligned with those standards, whether the NAEP science assessment can track the impact of those changes on science achievement and whether NAEP science and/or NAEP TEL will have sufficient instructional sensitivity to reveal what has and has not happened over time when administered in 2028, and even quite possibly beforehand in 2024, is questionable.

The purpose of this white paper is to consider the need for a revised NAEP science framework and its possible scope and focus including expansion to aspects of what is represented in NAEP TEL. Two broad recommendations consistent with these concerns and the related findings contained in this paper are (1) the NAEP science framework should be reviewed and revised to reflect contemporary changes in science standards, instruction, and assessment and (2) that in reviewing and revising the NAEP science framework, consideration should be given to the possible merger of aspects of the TEL framework with the science framework to create an integrated science and technology framework and assessment for administration in 2028. For each recommendation, additional commentary is provided regarding matters that should be considered in acting upon each recommendation.