As my loyal readers know, I was a member of the NAGB (National Assessment Governing Board) panel of experts about the testing of students with disabilities on the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). We worked to tighten the exclusion of too many students and the need for accommodations that maintain the NAEP’s validity. HOPEFULLY, the new policy, newly adopted by the NAGB, will solve the challenges pointed out below by Richard Innes. If we can’t compare apples to apples, then the NAEP truly loses its shine.

(Kentucky vs California and exclusions).

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

2 Responses to “NAEP: Whither that elusive gold standard?”

  1. Joan NE

    Hi Mariam,

    I have seen lately some activists being quite concerned about the possiblity of a national standardized high-stakes assessment having subjectively graded elements.

    I suspect that testing experts do not categorically object to written response test items, but they do caution that such test items must be framed, and graders trained so that between-grader variance in response scoring is small.

    Now, I know that the NAEP has short response (non-multiple choice) test items. The fact that NAEP has written response items is the reason that I suspect that experts probably do not categorically categoricaly, on principle, reject the inclusion of written response items on standardized tests.

    What I am getting at, is the question of whether experts hold that standardized tests – whether high stakes or not – should NEVER EVER have subjectively graded written response items.

    Do you know the answer to this?

    What do you think is a greater concern: high stakes testing in the first place, or the question of whether a high stakes test has subjectively graded elements?

  2. Joan NE

    Mariam – it seems to me that there might U.S. Dept. of Educ. might have made itself vulnerable to a civil rights lawsuit against the accountability priorities and school restructuring priorities being promoted by the department through various initiatives, including Race-to-the-Top and proposed changes to ESEA.

    What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *