The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Writing 2002 report is being released today. The test involves a sample of 4th, 8th, and 12th grade students across the nation. For 4th and 8th grade there are also samples for individual (participating) states and for subgroups, e.g. by gender or ethnicity. NAEP has assessments in reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and the arts. NAEP results need to be interpreted with caution. The tests are, I think, set at a rather low level, and there are problems with varying exclusion rates for students with disabilities. However, the tests serve as a benchmark for calibrating States' results on their own 4th and 8th grade assessments. The results of the 2002 writing assessment will no doubt be all over the news, so with that in mind, here are some pointers to the official sources.
Overview: What is NAEP?. Links to descriptions of the individuals tests of NAEP; the governance and organizational structure; clarification of the national and the state NAEPs, and of the main NAEP vs. the long-term trend NAEP.
The Nation's Report Card. NAEP main site at the National Center for Education Statistics.
Writing 2002 Major Results. The main page for the results of the 2002 writing assessment.
Statement by the Associate Commissioner of NCES on the release of the 2002 writing assessment.
Executive Summary of the 2002 writing assessment.