FR Doc E9-261[Federal Register: January 12, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 7)]
[Page 1191-1193]
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Notice of Public Hearing

AGENCY: U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment Governing 

ACTION: Notice of Public Hearing.


SUMMARY: The National Assessment Governing Board is announcing a public 
hearing on January 30, 2009 to obtain comment on policy options for 
testing and reporting of Students with Disabilities (SD) and English 
Language Learners (ELL) on the National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP).
    Public and private parties and organizations are invited to present 
written and/or oral testimony. The hearing will be held at the 
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in the El Paso Natural Gas 
Conference Center, Wiggins Road, across from the UTEP Library, El Paso, 
TX 79968 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST.
    This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a 
forthcoming public hearing of the National Assessment Governing Board. 
This notice also describes the functions of the Board. Notice of this 
meeting is required under Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act. This document is intended to notify members of the 
general public of their opportunity to provide comment. Individuals who 
will need special accommodations in order to attend the hearing (such 
as interpreting services, assistive listening devices, materials in 
alternative format) should notify Munira Mwalimu at 202-357-6938 or at no later than January 23, 2009. We will attempt 
to meet requests after this date, but cannot guarantee availability of 
the requested accommodation. The meeting site is accessible to 
individuals with disabilities.

DATES: January 30, 2009.
    Location: El Paso, Texas. University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 
the El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center, Wiggins Road, across from 
the UTEP Library, El Paso, TX 79968.
    Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST.


    Under Public Law 107-279, the National Assessment Governing Board 
(NAGB) is responsible for determining the content and methodology of 
the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The assessment 
is required to provide a fair and accurate measurement of student 
academic achievement through a random sampling process that produces 
representative data for the nation, the states, and other participating 
    Despite changes in policy during the past decade, variations in 
inclusion and accommodation rates continue for students with 
disabilities and English language learners among states and urban 
districts participating in the National Assessment. These differences--
both between jurisdictions and over time--continue to prompt concern 
about the fairness and comparability of NAEP results.
    The Governing Board has established an Ad Hoc Committee of Board 
members to conduct a comprehensive examination of NAEP testing and 
reporting of these two student groups. The Committee is considering a 
range of possible options in formulating recommendations to better 
assure that NAEP samples are fully representative and produce 
comparable results. The Committee is also considering whether changes 
are needed in NAEP reporting to alert the public to significant 
variations that persist and the impact they may have on reported 
    In carrying out its work the Ad Hoc Committee plans to consult 
widely with state and local officials and representatives of groups 
concerned with the populations and issues involved. It intends to draw 
on persons with strong research, policy, and practical backgrounds.
    The policy options being considered are available under 
supplementary information in this notice and on the Web site of the 
Governing Board at Other related material on the 
Governing Board and NAEP may be found at this Web site and at
    The Board is seeking comment from policymakers, teachers, 
researchers, state and local school administrators, specialists in SD 
and ELL students, parents of children in elementary and

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secondary schools, representatives of interested organizations, and 
members of the public. Representatives of the Governing Board will 
conduct the hearing to receive testimony, and may ask clarifying 
questions or respond to presentations. Oral presentations should not 
exceed ten minutes. Testimony will become part of the public record.
    All views will be considered by the Ad Hoc Committee and the full 
Board. It is anticipated that the Committee will make recommendations 
to the Governing Board at the Board meetings in March and May 2009.
    To register to present oral testimony on January 30, 2009 at the 
Conference Center at the University of El Paso at El Paso, please call 
Tessa Regis, of the National Assessment Governing Board staff, at 202-
357-7500 or send an e-mail to by 4 p.m. (Eastern 
Time) on Monday, January 26, 2009. Written testimony should be sent by 
mail, fax or e-mail for receipt in the Board office by February 6, 
    The Board will make an effort to hear testimony from all persons 
who wish to address it at the hearing without prior registration. 
Speakers are encouraged to bring written statements for distribution at 
the hearing.
    Testimony should be sent to: National Assessment Governing Board, 
800 North Capitol Street, NW.--Suite 825, Washington, DC 20002, 
Attention: Lawrence Feinberg, Fax: (202) 357-6945, e-mail:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lawrence Feinberg, National Assessment 
Governing Board, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Suite 825, Washington, 
DC, 20002-4233, Telephone: (202) 357-6942.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Assessment Governing Board is 
established under section 412 of the National Education Statistics Act 
of 1994, as amended. The Board formulates policy guidelines for the 
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The Board's 
responsibilities include selecting subject areas to be assessed, 
developing assessment specifications and frameworks, designing the 
methodology of the assessment, developing appropriate student 
achievement levels for each grade and subject tested, developing 
standards and procedures for interstate and national comparisons, 
developing guidelines for reporting and disseminating results, and 
releasing initial NAEP results to the public.
    The policy options being considered by the Ad Hoc Committee are 
presented below. They are not mutually exclusive. Some could go into 
effect quickly while others would be for medium-term or long-range 
implementation. NAEP is a representative-sample survey, designed to 
produce valid, comparable data on the academic achievement of large 
groups of students. It is prohibited by law from providing results for 
individual children or schools. The options are being considered 
because of concern that variations in exclusion and accommodation rates 
may jeopardize the fairness and comparability of NAEP results.
    The options on which public comment is sought are as follows:
    (1) Retain current procedures--Testing conditions on NAEP for SD 
and ELL students follow those on state tests with limited exceptions. 
Accommodation and exclusion rates are posted in the appendix of NAEP 
reports. No adjusted scores or cautionary flags.
    (2) Adopt uniform national rules for accommodations and exclusions:
    (a) For Students with Disabilities--Determine testing conditions 
according to the severity, category, and/or nature of disability or 
based on brief screener exam.
    (b) For English Language Learners--Determine whether to take NAEP 
in English by English language proficiency screener. Provide NAEP in 
Spanish if below cut-score.
    (c) Provide incentive for schools to encourage testing of SD and 
ELL students by scoring excluded students at the 5th percentile 
nationwide instead of the current practice of exclusions not affecting 
group average. Incentive may be needed to accept uniform rules because 
student participation in NAEP is voluntary by law.
    (3) Conduct targeted testing at ability level:
    (a) Offer to all students, using assessment booklets at different 
levels of difficulty--low, medium, and high.
    (b) Offer less difficult or ``accessible'' booklets to SD and ELL 
only. Might be similar in concept to NCLB ``alternate assessments'' but 
must be on NAEP scale.
    Determine level by brief locator test or percentile score on state 
assessment. Follow standard testing procedures.
    (4) Adjust scores--Use full population estimates or variant to 
adjust for exclusions. Present as principal means of reporting in NAEP 
Report Cards, alternate presentation in appendix, or prominently 
displayed on NAEP Web site.
    (5) Add cautionary flags:
    (a) For exclusions, if 5 percent or more of sample is excluded from 
NAEP testing, a cautionary flag would accompany a state's scores. This 
would be similar to rule in the TIMSS and PIRLS international 
assessments. Might also flag if exclusion rate changed more than 3 
percentage points from prior assessment year.
    (b) For accommodations, flag if 10 percent or more of sample is 
tested under non-standard conditions OR accommodation rate changed more 
than 5 percentage points from prior assessment year.
    (c) Use ``reasonable'' target exclusion rates (rather than a 
uniform rate) that vary by demography and testing practice of states. 
Flag if actual rates exceed targets or change by a defined margin.
    (6) Research validity of accommodations most widely-used on state 
tests--Results may expand or reduce the list of accommodations 
prohibited by NAEP because they alter a fundamental attribute of the 
assessment, e.g. reading-aloud the reading assessment or allowing 
calculators on all sections of math. Studies may include extended time 
to help determine if time should be deemed fundamental.
    (7) Offer a screener exam to determine whether students can 
``meaningfully participate'' in the National Assessment without an 
accommodation that is provided on state tests but is not permitted by 
NAEP. Currently, these students are routinely excused from the National 
    (8) Change rules for IEPs to have NAEP considered separately from 
state tests--Rules for preparing individualized education programs 
(IEPs) for SD students may be altered by state action or revised by 
federal regulation, guidance, or law. Separate consideration for 
participating in NAEP from IEP for state tests because the National 
Assessment is required to produce valid representative-sample group 
results for the nation, states, and urban districts and may not provide 
data or impose consequences on individual students and schools.
    (9) Make minor changes in NAEP report language and placement of 
information about exclusions and accommodations.
    In addition to commenting on these options, members of the public 
are also encouraged to present other relevant views and 
    A detailed summary of the hearing that is informative to the public 
and consistent with the policy of section 5 U.S.C. 552b(c) will be 
available to the public within 14 days of the meeting. Records are kept 
of all Board proceedings and are available for public inspection at the 
U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment Governing Board, 
Suite 825, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC,

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from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
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well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
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    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
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Regulations is available on GPO Access at:

    Dated: January 6, 2009.
Mary Crovo,
Interim Executive Director, National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. 
Department of Education.
[FR Doc. E9-261 Filed 1-9-09; 8:45 am]