NAEP Research Study

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is this study about?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education, is conducting research sessions with students currently in grades 4 and 8 about new test questions for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The questions we are testing focus on <Reading or Mathematics> and will be part of a digitally-based test. NCES needs to know whether the questions on the test are clear. Students’ input will help NCES improve the test so that future students will understand it better. 

What will happen during the research session?

Cognitive Interviews: Each participant will work through an early version of new NAEP Reading or Mathematics questions on a tablet computer. An interviewer will ask students what they were thinking as they complete the questions and whether they believe the questions are clear and understandable. EurekaFacts staff may record video and screen activity for analysis and take notes about students’ reactions to these questions. Student feedback will be used to revise and refine the questions. No additional personally-identifying information will be recorded or retained.

Cognitive Group Tryout Sessions: Each participant will take an early version of a new NAEP Reading or Mathematics test on a tablet computer. Participants will be asked to answer the questions as if it were an actual test. EurekaFacts staff may record video for analysis and take notes about students’ reactions to and feedback about the test questions. No personally-identifying information will be recorded or retained.

Reading or Mathematics-specific knowledge is not required, and participants’ responses will not be graded. There will be more than one adult present during each research session.

Where will the research session take place?

The research in-person sessions will take place at a location in the following cities:

  • Rockville, MD
  • Chicago, IL
  • Miami, FL
  • Dallas, TX
  • San Diego, CA

For the virtual sessions, a link will be sent to the participants prior to a scheduled session. 

How long will the research session last and when will it take place?

The research session will last no more than 60 or 90 minutes and can be scheduled at your convenience.  

Whose consent do you require for participation?

For students under the age of 18, we require written, informed consent from a parent/legal guardian in order for the eligible student to participate. We also ask the student for his or her verbal consent to participate during the prescreening process. Participation in the study is completely voluntary. The parent or legal guardian or student may withdraw consent for the student’s participation in the study at any time. The student also has the right to refuse to answer particular questions. 

Will information be kept private and confidential?

Each participant will be assigned a unique student identifier (ID), and his or her name will not be linked to his or her answers. 

All of the information provided may be used only for statistical purposes and may not be disclosed, or used, in an identifiable form for any other purpose except as required by law (20 U.S.C. §9573 and 6 U.S.C. §151). 

Video and screen activity may be recorded for analysis, but no additional personally-identifying information will be retained.  

Will the results go to the participant’s school?

Participants’ responses will not be disclosed to his or her school and will not be linked to personally identifiable information such as the school’s name.

Are there rewards or incentives for participating?

Yes, the student will receive a $25 or $50 gift card from a major credit card company. For in-person: If transportation is required to the research session site, the student’s parent or guardian will also receive a $25 or $40 gift card in appreciation for bringing his or her child to and from the site. For virtual sessions, the student’s parent/legal guardian will receive a $15 or $25 gift card as a thank-you for helping facilitate students’ participation and setting up for the session. These may be combined into one $40 or $50 or $75 or $90 virtual gift card if one email address is provided.

What are the possible risks of being in the study?

There are no anticipated risks associated with participation in this study component other than a small degree of discomfort students might feel when responding to questions about the task during the session. 

Can participation end early?

Students’ participation in this study is completely voluntary. Students have the right to refuse to answer particular questions. Students may elect to withdraw from this study at any time with the knowledge that if they withdraw early, they forgo payment (unless withdrawal is due to an internet connectivity issue).  

Whom may I contact with questions or for further information?

Esther Cortez is coordinating this study at EurekaFacts on behalf of NCES. If you have any questions, please call (240) 403-4800 or email 

Additionally, students under the age of 18 can have a parent/legal guardian fill out an intake form by clicking here.