The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a congressionally mandated program, can provide valuable data to educational policymakers in Massachusetts and other New England states about the status of their educational reform initiatives and their performance standards. The three purposes of this article are to describe NAEP and its goals and structure, to present some of the results of the 1992 Mathematics NAEP Assessment as an example of the utility of this national assessment program, and to highlight ways in which background data collected by NAEP can be helpful in interpreting assessment results and monitoring educational reform. The six New England states aspire to performance standards that approximate national and international standards of excellence. NAEP, which provides an excellent database to influence the standard-setting process, therefore should be of considerable interest to policymakers who are serious about setting meaningful performance standards and monitoring the quality of educational progress.


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