Maintaining the Validity of the NAEP Frameworks and Assessments in Civics and U.S. History

Fran O’Malley, University of Delaware
Scott Norton, Council of Chief State School Officers

This paper provides the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) community with information that may help maintain the validity and utility of the NAEP assessments for civics and U.S. history as revisions are planned to the NAEP frameworks that will inform these assessments now scheduled for 2030.

The authors addressed the overarching questions below:

  • How old are the NAEP assessment frameworks for civics and U.S. history? Why does this matter?
  • What important developments in the fields of civics and U.S. history have occurred since the current frameworks were written?
  • To what extent are the NAEP assessments aligned or disconnected to what is, and will likely be, occurring in the states?
  • Based on the findings, what recommendations should those who will be reviewing the frameworks consider to ensure the validity and utility of NAEP assessments in civics and U.S. history?

Key Recommendations

Several recommendations were offered to continue and improve the validity and utility of NAEP assessments in civics and U.S. history, including the following:

  • NAEP should address alignment issues associated with Grade 4 and 8 U.S. History Assessments in order to ensure the validity of those measures.
  • Expand on the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that might be assessed on the NAEP Civics and U.S. History assessments.
  • Continue single-subject assessments in Civics and U.S. History.
  • Develop frameworks and assessments in ways that are more attentive to justice-oriented equity issues.
  • Report student performance at the state level.