Stories You’re Missing From ‘The Nation’s Report Card’


“The Nation’s Report Card,” a.k.a. the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is a vast gold mine of data that can generate compelling education stories and enrich overall news coverage with deeper context and examples.

Reporters willing to take a few extra minutes to dig beyond the latest NAEP test scores can find fascinating statistical nuggets on achievement gaps, what courses high school students are taking, whether students are struggling with math because of geometry or algebra, and examples of test questions that tend to trip up students. We also highlight some of the lesser-known assessments — like civics, U.S. history, science, and technology and engineering — and how to use them, as well as share practicals dos and don’ts of using NAEP data.

Sarah Sparks, an assistant editor at Education Week, has been using NAEP data in her reporting for 15 years, and has continued to find new ways to weave its results into stories with more depth than just how scores compared to the last test. Sparks is joined by NAEP expert Grady Wilburn, a statistician and research scientist from the National Center for Education Statistics (which administers the test), for this practical webinar. You’ll come away with new tools and ideas to deepen your reporting.

This webinar was presented on February 27, 2020.