The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has announced that the 2024 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) “will continue to examine transitions to online assessments and using devices that students are most familiar with.” The assessment will be administered to a “carefully designed sampling of schools and students representative of all schools and students in their district, state,and across the United States.”
Last spring, a field test was administered in “450 randomly selected schools with four variations of administration meant to account for schools with different testing capacities.” Next year’s test is meant to provide information about the academic achievement of students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will include mathematics and reading assessments administered on devices to 4th and 8th grade students.“Results from the pilot test will not be publicly released but will be used to inform future NAEP assessments. Each student will be assessed in only one subject.”
With the return on in-person instruction, and the data that indicate the extent of disrupted learning during the pandemic school closures, is the decision to move to an online test in the best interest of the students? Studies showed that “students of all ages tend to absorb more when they’re reading on paper than on screens, particularly when it comes to nonfiction material.” In fact, “The advantage of paper–based comprehension has increased since 2000.” It will be interesting to compare the results of the digital test with those of the previous paper-based tests to determine if the new digital test will indeed be the standard for future assessments.