in an English speaking school for less than three years, or who were judged incapable of meaningful participation in the assessment—could also be excluded. Specifically, a NAEP publication describes the former procedures for these two groups in the following way (U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 1997).
Prior to 1990, administrations of NAEP … relied on the judgment of school administrators as to whether or not the student could take the assessment. Beginning with the 1990 NAEP, schools were given guidelines informing them that they may exclude a student with a disability if the student is mainstreamed less than 50% of the time and is judged incapable of participating meaningfully in the assessment, OR, the IEP team or equivalent group determined that the student is incapable of participating meaningfully in the assessment. Schools were instructed to include students with disabilities if school staff believed the students were capable of taking the assessment. Schools were also instructed that when there was doubt, students should be included. (pp. 14-15)
The NAEP procedures used prior to 1990 allowed schools to exclude sampled students if they were LEP and if local school personnel judged the students incapable of participating meaningfully in the assessment Beginning in 1990, NAEP instructions to schools for excluding LEP students from the assessment required the following conditions to be met: the student is a native speaker of a language other than English AND the student has been enrolled in an English-speaking school for less than 2 years (not including bilingual education programs) AND school officials judged the student to be incapable of taking the assessment. The guidelines also stated that when in doubt, the student was to be included in the assessment. (p. 41)
NAEP’s sponsors took the first step in making the assessment more inclusive when they adopted a series of resolutions that established a plan for conducting research on the effects of including students with disabilities and English language learners in the assessment.
In these resolutions, NAEP’s sponsors articulated the dual priorities of including students who can meaningfully take part in the assessment while maintaining the integrity of the trend data that are considered a key component of NAEP. The resolution and research plan provided what NAEP officials have described as both “a bridge to the future,” because it would make NAEP more inclusive, and “a bridge to the past” (NRC, 2002a), because it would allow NAEP to continue to provide meaningful trend information. Protection of the capacity to report trend data was considered a necessary constraint on any changes in policies and procedures.
NAEP conducted a series of pilot studies in the early 1990s to examine the feasibility of allowing students to participate in the assessment with accommodations and then, in conjunction with the 1996 mathematics assessment, initiated a research plan. This plan called for data to be collected for three samples of tested students, referred to as S1, S2, and S3. For the S1 sample, administration proce-