September 16, 2002
Honorable Don Siegelman
Governor of Alabama
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-2751
Dear Governor Siegelman:
I am writing to bring you up to date on the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP is now entering its ninth State cycle marking the first biennial NAEP reading and mathematics assessments in grades 4 and 8 under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Under this Act, States applying for Title I funds must include in their applications an assurance that they will comply with all requirements of the Act, including participation in NAEP. By submitting a consolidated State application for ESEA formula grant funds, a State has agreed to participate in the biennial reading and mathematics assessments, to ensure that districts selected for the NAEP samples participate in all phases of the assessments, and to have the State results published.
Since 1990, NAEP has collected data at the State level on fourth and eighth grade achievement in reading, mathematics, science, and writing. The assessment provides valuable information to help citizens, educators, and policymakers monitor the condition of education in the Nation. NAEP assessments provide benchmarks on what our students know and can do, as well as help to compare an individual State's educational progress to that of other states and the Nation as a whole. I know that many governors have found NAEP results to be important resources as they formulated education policy, and I am confident that this round of NAEP testing will once again provide important and useful feedback.
In 2003 the assessment will be administered from January 27 through March 7. The results from the reading and mathematics assessments are scheduled for release within six months and are scheduled for September 2003. We will keep you informed about our activities through the NAEP State Coordinator. You and your State Testing Director will receive an embargoed copy of the results a few days before the release.
I look forward to your State's participation in 2003. As a policymaker, you are well aware that good data about educational progress are essential to making sure our children receive the best education possible. We have already contacted your Chief State School Officer regarding the upcoming assessment and have asked to be kept informed of any questions or concerns that arise during the assessments.
A general NAEP information brochure with specific information on State participation in NAEP is enclosed. However, if you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Peggy Carr, Associate Commissioner Assessment Division, National Center for Education Statistics, at (202) 502-7321. More information is also available through the NAEP web site at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.