Core Subjects in Danger of Being Axed From National Assessment

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National tests in several core subjects could be eliminated or scaled back over the next five years without more federal funding, the officials who set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress said last week.

Scheduled exams in economics, foreign language, geography, and world history could be canceled if funding remains flat, as is projected.

Moreover, some grade levels would not be tested in civics, U.S. history, and writing, and the next administration of the NAEP long-term trend tests in mathematics and reading, which have been conducted regularly over the past 40 years, would be given in 2008, but not in 2012.

“The schedule of assessments issued is indeed serious. … With the given money and the contracts to be had, there is a shortfall,” Darvin M. Winick, the chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, or NAGB, which sets policy for the program, told the board Nov. 16 at its meeting here. “This is not yet engraved in stone,” he said, “but we’re certain you will have to face up to some of those changes.”

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