Publications & Resources

Are NAEP Executive Summary Reports Understandable to Policy Makers and Educators?

Jun 1997

Ronald K. Hambleton and Sharon C. Slater

This study responded to concerns that policy makers, educators, and the media were inaccurately interpreting the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, oftentimes referred to as the nation’s report card. Based on interviews with 59 policy makers and educators, the researchers found that both groups had considerable difficulty in understanding the results of the Executive Summary of the NAEP 1992 Mathematics Report Card for the Nation and the States. Misunderstandings and mistakes in reading the NAEP Executive Summary were attributed to policy makers’ and educators’ limited prior exposure to NAEP and a limited understanding of statistics. Based on these findings, the researchers recommended simplification of the NAEP Executive Summary reports, field testing of all data displays prior to report release, and adaptation of NAEP Executive Summary reports for specific users to improve clarity, understanding, and usefulness.

Hambleton, R. K., & Slater, S. C. (1997). Are NAEP executive summary reports understandable to policy makers and educators? (CSE Report 430). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).