The Nation’s Report Card, also known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest ongoing assessment of America’s student knowledge and skills (http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/). Student performance in mathematics and reading have been measured most frequently, and measurements in science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, U.S. history, and in Technology and Engineering Literacy are administered periodically.
Most recently, the 2015 NAEP data sets became available and are accessible in a number of ways. Online tools can be used to conduct some analyses, and restricted data sets are available to researchers. Results can be explored across time by state, student group, and for 20 participating districts. In addition to taking assessments in the content areas, students are asked to complete other surveys which are linked to the results. Data from schools and districts are also linked to the NAEP results.
NAEP has a new blog (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/blog/). The NAEPPlus+ blog contains recent postings of interest as analyses continue. For example, a recent post indicated that 12th grade students who discussed interpretations of reading in class performed better. Another post links to a newly released report about how state proficiency standards mapped onto NAEP results (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2015046.aspx).
The Economic Policy Institute recently reported about why state comparisons are more useful for improving education than international comparisons by examining NAEP scores and international assessments (http://www.epi.org/files/2015/bringing-it-back-home-final-pdf.pdf). The authors conclude that it is not correct that U.S. students are not making progress in reading and mathematics; that using international comparisons to improve U.S. education is extremely difficult; and that focusing on states to learn lessons is more useful than learning form higher-scoring nations.