[Federal Register: February 5, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 24)]
[Page 6012-6013]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Reading

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

ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public comment for evaluating and
finalizing achievement levels definitions for the National Assessment
of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Reading.


SUMMARY: The National Assessment Governing Board is soliciting public
comment and recommendations for improvements to the achievement levels
definitions for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
in reading. These achievement levels definitions describe the reading
skills and abilities that students should demonstrate at each
achievement level.
    Public and private parties and organizations are invited to provide
written comments and recommendations. Voluntary participation by all
interested parties is urged. This notice sets forth the review
schedule, identifies the kind of information that the Governing Board
is required to verify regarding achievement levels, and provides
information for accessing additional materials that will be useful for
this review. This document is intended to notify members of the general
public of their opportunity to provide comment.


    Under Public Law 107-279, the National Assessment Governing Board
(NAGB) is authorized to formulate policy guidelines for NAEP. The
legislation specifies that the Governing Board is to develop
appropriate student achievement levels for each subject and grade
tested, as provided in section 303(e). Such levels are determined by
identifying the knowledge that can be measured and verified objectively
using widely accepted professional assessment standards; and developing
achievement levels that are consistent with relevant widely accepted
professional assessment standards and

[[Page 6013]]

based on the appropriate level of subject matter knowledge for grade
levels to be assessed, or the age of the students, as the case may be.
    In preparation for reporting the results of the new assessment of
reading at grades 4, 8, and 12, the Governing Board convened panels of
reading content experts to participate in a study for producing draft
achievement levels descriptions. The Governing Board seeks comment on
the draft achievement levels descriptions and recommendations for
improvements. All responses will be taken into consideration before
finalizing the definitions for Board adoption. Once adopted, these
descriptions will be used in reporting performance on NAEP relative to
the achievement levels in 2009 and for all subsequent assessments until
a new framework is developed for the reading NAEP.

Review Materials for Comment and Review

    Materials for this review are located at 
    (1) Policy Definitions: The Governing Board adopted policy
definitions of student performance that identify in very general terms
what is meant by Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement levels.
These policy definitions apply for any subject and grade assessed in
NAEP, and they are used for developing the achievement levels
descriptions to be used in reporting NAEP results in a specific subject
and grade--such as for the 2009 reading NAEP at grades 4, 8, and 12.
The policy definitions are posted on the web site for this review.
    (2) Draft Achievement Level Descriptions for Reading: The draft
achievement levels descriptions for reading at the Basic, Proficient,
and Advanced levels for grades 4, 8, and 12. The achievement levels
descriptions (ALDs) were written to describe how students should be
able to perform on the reading NAEP assessment in order to demonstrate
achievement that the Governing Board has defined as Basic, Proficient,
and Advanced for NAEP.
    (3) Reading Framework: In addition to the policy definitions of
Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement, the achievement levels
descriptions must represent the framework used for developing the
reading NAEP. Please see chapter 2 of the Reading Framework for the
2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress for more information
about the NAEP reading assessment and details regarding the cognitive
targets assessed.
    (4) Focus Questions: Finally, some of the aspects of the
achievement levels descriptions that the Governing Board must address
are included. All comments will be appreciated, and your comments on
and recommendations regarding these aspects will be especially
    The Board is seeking comment from policymakers, teachers,
researchers, state and local reading specialists, members of
professional reading and teacher organizations, and members of the
    It is anticipated that the finalized achievement levels
descriptions will be presented for approval at the Governing Board
meeting on March 4-6, 2010.


    Comments must be received by February 10, 2010 and sent to:

National Assessment Governing Board, 800 North Capitol Street, NW.,
Suite 825, Washington, DC 20002, Attention: Susan Loomis: Public
Comment, FAX: (202) 357-6945, E-mail: Susan.Loomis@ed.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Loomis, National Assessment
Governing Board, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Suite 825, Washington,
DC 20002-4233, Telephone: (202) 357-6940.

    Specific questions that the Board seeks responses to include the
    1. How well do the reading achievement levels descriptions (ALDs)
for each grade and level represent the policy definitions overall? You
may want to address each grade level separately.
    2. Does the progression within each grade from Basic to Proficient
to Advanced in the reading skills that students should demonstrate seem
    3. Does the progression across the three grade levels of reading
skills required for performance within each achievement level (Basic/
Proficient/Advanced) seem reasonable?
    4. Is the relative emphasis of the cognitive targets in the
achievement levels descriptions appropriate for each achievement level
and grade?
    5. Finally, are the achievement definitions useful, i.e., do they
convey an understanding of what students should be able to do in
reading at the different grade levels?
    Your comments and recommendations for improving the achievement
levels descriptions will be appreciated.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/index.html. 
To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is
available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF,
call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free at 1-888-293-
6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 

    Dated: February 2, 2010.
Mary Crovo,
Deputy Executive Director, National Assessment Governing Board, U.S.
Department of Education.
[FR Doc. 2010-2550 Filed 2-4-10; 8:45 am]