Earlier this month, the Department of Education announced a large scale survey, the “NAEP 2021 School Survey”, to gather vital data on the impact of COVID-19 on students and the status of in-person learning. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called “The Nation’s Report Card”, has been conducted nearly every year since its inception in 1969 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), an independent and non-partisan research arm of the Department of Education. The survey will collect data from approximately 3,500 schools that enroll fourth-graders and an equal number of schools that enroll eighth-graders. The public will have access to the highest-quality data about school reopenings for in-person instruction and how students are learning. As part of the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, President Biden signed an executive order “Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers” which included mention of the NAEP data collection.
FABBS works together with the broad scientific community to advocate for IES funding. To this end, FABBS has recently signed on to two letters as part of these efforts. The first, sent to leadership on the Labor, Health, and Human Services subcommittees, advocated for $5 million for the National Center of Education Statistics to create and staff a School Pulse Survey. This survey would follow the model of the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, but would be sent to school administrators instead of households, to provide more data on the effect of COVID-19 on students and educators and the status of in-person learning. As part of the Friends of IES, FABBS has also signed onto a letter to Congressional leadership advocating for $200 million in emergency funding to help implement programs like the School Pulse Survey, and additional research grants to examine interventions to reduce learning loss and other issues related to returning to in-person teaching.