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About the Writing Assessment

The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing assessment at grades 8 and 12 is the first fully computer-based assessment administered by NAEP and is the first large-scale national assessment to measure students' writing using commonly available word-processing tools. The computerization of the writing assessment acknowledges the prevalence of computer technology in the classroom, the projected future growth of large-scale computer-based tests, and the increasing role computers play in educational activities. The assessment was designed to measure students' ability to write for specified purposes (to persuade, to explain, or to convey experience) and audiences. Find out more about what the assessment measures.

The National Assessment Governing Board oversees the development of NAEP frameworks that describe the specific knowledge and skills to be assessed in each subject. The 2011 Writing Framework describes the types of questions to be included in the writing assessment and how they should be designed and scored. The 2011 framework introduced important changes including the switch from a paper-and-pencil assessment to a computer-based assessment to more accurately reflect how students currently compose their writing. The framework also indicates that each writing task be purpose-driven and specify an audience to whom students should address their writing. Because of the changes to the assessment, results cannot be compared to those from previous years. A computer-based assessment of writing at grade 4 is currently planned for 2017.

The 2011 writing assessment included 22 writing tasks at grade 8 and 22 tasks at grade 12. Writing tasks were presented to students in a variety of ways, including text, audio, video, or animated prompts on the computer. Explore some of the tasks given to students during the assessment. All of the tasks released to the public are available in the NAEP Questions Tool.

Results from the 2011 assessment are reported for the nation, which reflect the performance of students attending public schools, private schools, Bureau of Indian Education schools, and Department of Defense schools.

The series of tables on the student population and sample, school and student participation rates, and inclusion of students with disabilities and English language learners provide context for interpreting the results of the assessment. Read the NAEP inclusion policy to learn more about NAEP accommodations and the history of the policy.

Learn more about procedures used as part of the 2011 writing assessment: