Alternative Approaches to Setting Performance Standards for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

George Bohrnstedt; Boston College: Albert E. Beaton; University of Colorado at Boulder, Robert L. Linn


The judgmental approaches used by the Governing Board to set NAEP achievement levels have been the subject of a great deal of controversy and have sometimes led to results that were considered “unreasonable.” The NCES requirement that the achievement levels be used on a trial basis and be interpreted with caution continues to be in effect. This paper considers three alternative approaches to setting performance standards (the predictive, the international benchmark, and the baseline normative approaches) and hybrid approaches that combine features across these three.