The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP or the “Nations Report card) is administered to students across the country. NAEP assessments are conducted in a range of subjects with fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-graders across the country.
The NAEP includes a survey at the end of the assessment. They describe the need to survey students this way:
“NAEP survey questionnaires are administered as part of the NAEP assessment and collect contextual information that complement NAEP performance results. Every year, students who are selected to participate in NAEP complete a survey questionnaire at the end of the assessment. NAEP survey questionnaires provide valuable information about students’ educational experiences and learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. They also determine how well education is meeting the needs of students across the United States.”
They go on to describe the kinds of questions students will be asked:
“NAEP survey questionnaires include questions about students’ opportunities to learn both in and out of the classroom and about students’ educational experiences. Specifically, survey questionnaires also collect information about a student’s race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status (defined broadly as one’s access to economic, social, and cultural resources), use of technology, and school climate. NAEP ensures that these questions are grounded in education research, and responses provide a clearer understanding of student progress across the nation. In addition, approximately half of the questions reflect the subject of the NAEP assessment the student has completed.”
Most parents didn’t know their children were asked non-academic questions on the NAEP. Today there are new concerns that are being raised by the Liberty Counsel.
In a recent letter the Liberty Counsel sent to some U.S. Senators and Representatives, they address how the NAEP will now be assessing the non-cognitive factors and address the extensive data that will be collected on students:
“The NAEP is expanding beyond academic content knowledge to include noncognitive, socioemotional parameters in the background survey, which will include five core areas: “grit,” “desire for learning,” “school climate,” “technology use,” and “socioeconomic status..”
They go on to report:
“The NAEP categories examining “mindsets” directly impact the fundamental liberty interest which parents possess in overseeing the upbringing and education of their children. As the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, parents, not the state and its functionaries, are the ones possessed with the ultimate authority over the parents’ own children.2.”
“While educational overreach to “standardize the State’s children” is troubling in itself, if these proposed questions regarding “mindsets” are part of the actual test, they violate the federal statute governing the NAEP (currently known as the Education Sciences Reform Act – “ESRA”). The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 20 USC §9622 (b)(5)(A) authorizes assessments, but requires that they “objectively measure academic achievement, knowledge, and skills, and ensure that any academic assessment authorized under this section be tests that do not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes or publicly disclose personally identifiable information.” (Emphasis added). “Mindset” questions are inherently subjective, and leave a wide door for exploitation and collation of information about student beliefs and attitudes which the statute forbids. The federal government has not proven to be a trustworthy keeper of sensitive information which it intends to keep private; but revisions to federal regulations now allow wide loopholes for the sharing of student information. See, e.g., 34 C.F.R § 99.
If the proposed non-cognitive questions are part of a so-called “background survey,” then they appear to violate the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (“PPRA”), 20 USC §1232(h), which protects pupil rights by requiring all instructional materials to be made available for parental inspection, prior to use, including any “supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any applicable program.” Liberty Counsel is aware of numerous instances where parents have been denied an opportunity to review surveys prior to educators requiring students to partake in them.”
What can parents do?
1) Notify the school that they are REFUSING to let their children take the NAEP. You should do that as soon as possible since the schedule below shows that these assessments are already being administered. Stop Common Core in New Hampshire has a sample note you can send to school administrators notifying them that you are refusing these assessments for your children.
2)Send this information ton your school Superintendent to make sure that they are following state statute RSA 186:11 IX-d:
IX-d. Require school districts to adopt a policy governing the administration of non-academic surveys or questionnaires to students. The policy shall require school districts to notify a parent or legal guardian of a non-academic survey or questionnaire and its purpose. The school district shall make such surveys or questionnaires available, at the school and on the school or school district’s website, for review by a student’s parent or legal guardian at least 10 days prior to distribution to students. The policy shall also allow a parent or legal guardian to opt out of the non-academic survey or questionnaire either in writing or electronically. In this paragraph, “non-academic survey or questionnaire” means surveys, questionnaires, or other documents designed to elicit information about a student’s social behavior, family life, religion, politics, sexual orientation, sexual activity, drug use, or any other information not related to a student’s academics.
School administrarots must notify parents and provide the questions that will be asked.
Parents need to be especially concerned by this:
“In light of the plain text of these statutes and regulations, Liberty Counsel finds these foregoing concerns (originally raised by one parent policy analyst) well-founded, as do the attached policy group representatives speaking on behalf of thousands of parents across the country: 1) the NAEP is poised to violate federal law by collecting extremely sensitive psychological/socioemotional data on children; 2) it will do so in a necessarily subjective manner; 3) it contains a substantial risk of exposing the subject children to possible negative consequences in their later schooling and employment careers, to the extent that even supporters of such assessments are concerned; and 4) it will entrust extremely sensitive data to agencies that are no longer governed by serious privacy law and that have proven they cannot or will not keep personal student data secure.
These proposed changes constitute potential parental rights violations, and expose the children to a litany of harms in the present and in the future. Thus, any efforts to ask questions concerning mindsets and other socioemotional parameters and to collect that data via the NAEP should be halted immediately.”
Here is the schedule for the NAEP:
Ann Marie Banfield began volunteering as Cornerstone’s Education Liaison in 2009. As an education researcher and activist she took her decade long research on education to Concord to lobby on behalf of parental rights and literacy. Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio. Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Bedford, NH