Resolution on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): Assessment of Reading

1989 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland


Proposers of this resolution said that overemphasis on “low-level” skills in recent assessments by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) may be subverting broader educational goals. They warned that including word identification skills in instruments for large-scale assessment of students’ educational progress could encourage schools to place undue emphasis on teaching such skills. Word identification, “a means of facilitating reading,” could, they said, become an end in itself, whereas what students need, in order to get meaning from a text, is a flexible repertoire of strategies. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English affirm the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ (NAEP) current practice of assessing comprehension in reading;

that NCTE urge the NAEP not to incorporate the testing of discrete word identification skills into assessments conducted by the NAEP; and

that NCTE intensify efforts to inform educators, policymakers, and the public about the problems inherent in the testing of discrete skills.


This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.