Harvard Education Press
May 10, 2022
Assessing the Nation's Report Card examines the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and outlines plans for improving and modernizing the organization. Educational policy analyst Chester E. Finn, Jr. imparts a rare inside analysis of the evolution of the NAEP program at key moments in its history, and provides a firsthand perspective of crucial decisions and core goals that have helped shape it. The result is a revealing survey of the US's most influential source of data on K-12 achievement. Assessing the Nation's Report Card offers readers an in-depth understanding and appreciation of NAEP as well as an examination of its shortcomings, its controversies, and its current issues. The book explores why NAEP is considered the gold standard of educational assessments yet is much lesser known than other types of standardized testing. Finn underscores the promise of applying the results in addressing achievement gaps, boosting federal accountability, and driving education reform and policy. He also discloses how the data are collected and what the results can and cannot tell us. For more than 50 years, this ambitious federal testing program has informed the decisions of policy makers and educational leaders as they advocate for educational improvements in the US. Acknowledging the nation's evolving need for actionable information about students and schools, Finn provides an assured and rare overview of the existing program and proposes possibilities for the future.