NAEP, the “Nation’s Report Card,” has experienced several iterations since its inception in 1969, including changes in its calendar and format. Several months ago, the governing board voted to delay the 2026 test for a year. “The ostensible reason for the delay is to return the test to its original biennial cycle, which was disrupted by the 2020 pandemic waiver.” However, the chair of the board admitted that the test results would then be ‘off-cycle’ from federal elections.” Furthermore, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has announced that the next assessment will present a new format. NAEP “will continue to examine transitions to online assessments and using devices that students are most familiar with.” 

However, one tool that the NCES is not embracing for assessment: ChatGPT. The prevalence of artificial intelligence that can generate many different forms of written communication presents the educational community with philosophical questions: What should students be taught about writing, and what kind of assessment is appropriate for writing? This week, the NAEP panel voted to postpone the writing assessment two to three years.  “That means the exam will be pushed back from 2030 to either 2032 or 2033.” The last writing assessment was administered fifteen years ago, in 2017.  

Rather than eschew the writing assessment, perhaps NAEP could design an “old school” test. No computers would be allowed in classrooms in which students responded to writing prompts using pen and paper. Now that could provide some much needed information about students’ writing abilities.

PS This blog was NOT generated by AI.

Laura Maniglia