FR Doc 2011-3438[Federal Register: February 16, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 32)]
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Public Comment on Setting Achievement Levels in Writing

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

ACTION: Notice, Public Comment on Setting Achievement Levels in 


SUMMARY: The National Assessment Governing Board (Governing Board) is 
soliciting public comments and recommendations to improve the design 
proposed for setting achievement levels for NAEP in writing. This 
notice provides opportunity for public comment and submitting 
recommendations for improving the design proposed for setting 
achievement levels for the 2011 National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP) in Writing.
    The proposed Design Document, available at, describes the 
process that will produce cutscores to represent the lower boundary of each 
of three NAEP achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. The Governing 
Board has contracted with WestEd to assist in gathering feedback on the 
design document. Additional information on the Governing Board's work 
and NAEP achievement levels can be found at
    Public and private individuals 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 kinds of information that the Governing Board 
is seeking to obtain regarding the Design

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Document, 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 
comments and/or make recommendations.


    Under Public Law 107-279, the Governing Board 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). Achievement levels are determined by identifying the knowledge 
that can be measured and verified objectively using widely accepted 
professional assessment standards. Achievement levels are to be 
consistent with relevant widely accepted professional assessment 
standards, and based on the appropriate level of subject matter 
knowledge for grade levels to be assessed, or on the age of the 
    In preparation for setting achievement levels for the new 
assessment of writing at grades 4, 8, and 12, the Governing Board seeks 
comment on the draft Design Document intended to guide this process. 
This is the first wholly computer-based NAEP, and the design calls for 
this to be the first computerized NAEP achievement levels-setting 
process. Comments are invited, particularly on the computerization of 
the achievement levels setting process. All responses received will be 
taken into consideration before finalizing the Design Document.

Materials for Review and Comment

    Policymakers, teachers, researchers, State and local writing 
specialists, members of professional writing and teacher organizations, 
and members of the public are invited to provide feedback. Comments 
will provide valuable feedback that is designed to improve the first 
computerized achievement levels setting process.
    To assist with the review and comment, the following materials are 
posted at
    (1) Design Document: The draft Design Document presents a 
preliminary design approach to guide all aspects of the process.
    (2) Focus Questions: Focus questions related to certain aspects of 
the Design Document are provided as potential areas of interest for 
your feedback. While all comments and recommendations are appreciated, 
specific issues that you might wish to address include the following:
    1. The objective of this study is to set achievement levels for the 
2011 and 2013 NAEP writing assessments. Does the study design as 
presented in the Design Document seem reasonable for accomplishing this 
overall objective?
    2. What improvements can be made to the design to more fully 
accomplish the objectives of this study?
    3. The proposed design calls for the computerization of many 
aspects of the study. Are there aspects of this computerization that 
will be particularly effective or ineffective in meeting the objective 
of this study?
    4. Is the field trial as described a reasonable method for testing 
the logistics of the computerized methodology?
    5. Is the special study as described a reasonable method for 
comparing performance relative to the achievement levels on the 2007 
writing NAEP assessment with performance relative to the achievement 
levels for the new writing NAEP assessment?


    It is anticipated that the finalized Design Document will be 
presented for approval to the Governing Board on March 4, 2011. 
Comments must be received by February 22, 2011, and sent to:
    WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, Attention: 
Jennae Bulat: Public Comment, Fax: (415) 615-3200, E-mail:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennae Bulat, WestEd, 730 Harrison 
Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, Telephone: (415) 615-3260, FAX: (415) 
615-3200, E-mail:
    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: 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 1-866-512-0000; or in the Washington, DC area at (202) 512-1800.

    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 10, 2011.
Munira Mwalimu,
Operations Officer, National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. 
Department of Education.
[FR Doc. 2011-3438 Filed 2-15-11; 8:45 am]