Is NAEP Math Out of Step with the States?

Thursday, May 26, 2016Printer-friendly version

Over the past few years, nearly all states have made significant changes to their mathematics standards in an effort to better align with college- and career-ready expectations. At the same time, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), seen as the “nation’s report card,” continues to play a significant role in providing a common metric by which states may compare themselves to each other. Expectations are changing, so it is important to consider the possibility of the misalignment of NAEP to the shifting goals in mathematics education in the U.S.  

This report examines key ways in which the NAEP framework is out of step with what math educators in every state are expected to teach, especially in Grade 4, including in states that never adopted the Common Core and in some that have recently replaced the Common Core. Further, data from NAEP’s surveys of Grade 4 teachers show that the misalignment in math content between state standards and NAEP assessments corresponds to content that teachers report they are deemphasizing. In Grade 8 teachers report an increased emphasis on algebra, though the NAEP may be in danger of missing that important shift.  

As a result, we believe it is time for the National Assessment Governing Board to review and revise where necessary the NAEP framework and the Grade 4 and Grade 8 assessments administered in each of the states, so that NAEP retains its important role as the gold standard for assessing and reporting on the progress of U.S. students nationwide.