In an effort to push the 2026 National Assessment of Educational Progress back a year, the National Assessment Governing Board passed a resolution Friday asking Congress to postpone that year's testing until 2027.
The board's unanimous decision would return the biennial test to its previous schedule after a one-year pandemic waiver in 2020 put it on track to coincide with federal midterm and presidential elections.
“The pandemic upended so much in our lives, including the longstanding practice of releasing the Nation’s Report Card results ‘off-cycle’ from federal elections," said Beverly Perdue, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the Nation's Report Card, in a statement.
The change proposed with the passage of the resolution will reset the test to a "nearly two-decade norm" according to Lesley Muldoon, the NAGB's executive director.
Learning lags brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the already high-profile assessment even further into the limelight.
Most recently, results released in May for the U.S. history and civics portions of the 2022 NAEP showed students' average history score fell 5 points between 2018 and 2022. Those declines built on scores released in October 2022 that saw NAEP scores for reading and math skid to lows not seen in years.
The importance of routinely testing students through NAEP and other assessments has only grown in light of those scores.
Even with the change NAGB requested in testing timelines, Muldoon said the findings would still allow "all of us to understand how America’s students are doing."
The next NAEP is to be administered in the 2023-24 school year as planned, with results for reading and math released in winter 2025.