How can state and national policymakers and education leaders gauge the academic setbacks that young Americans suffered due to Covid-forced school shutdowns? How can they see whether achievement gaps between groups of students are widening or narrowing? How can we tell whether eighth graders in Missouri do better or worse in math or reading than their peers in Michigan and Maine?
We answer such questions about K–12 achievement almost entirely thanks to a little-known but vital test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a.k.a. “NAEP” or the “Nation’s Report Card.”