report card

Integrating NAEP Data Into a School’s Action Plan

This past weekend’s release of the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data was the diametric opposite of Midnight’s drop for Swifties: there were not many surprises but a ton of warranted outrage. 


At this point, we all can agree on the pandemic’s harmful effects on student well-being: interrupted learning compounded by social-emotional trauma has challenged the act of teaching and learning in ways we never expected. If you consider the associated impact of teacher shortages, you can understand why most educators and news outlets are stating the data is a disappointment but not a shock.


One silver lining of anticipating the NAEP data is that schools and school-adjacent organizations have already been collaborating to develop action plans, but the new insight call for renewed fervor around this work. Below are three necessary considerations to incorporate in response to the data:


  1. Invest in the teachers – there is some consensus about what can make this profession more sustainable and effective: pay teachers more, build school communities on trust, protect teachers’ time and make sure professional development is impactful, and take a community approach to this challenge as classroom teachers alone eradicate these learning gaps. There’s also some useful information on what NOT to do if you’re curious.

  1. Center students – at the heart of this data are our students, and our students are not okay. First and foremost, any action plan to address learning gaps should focus on the whole child, including social-emotional learning and creating a culture of safety and belonging. We know the prioritization of student mental health lays the groundwork for academic teaching and learning These plans should: help students understand the data, utilize the data to set goals and individualize instruction, and allocate time and resources for research-based practices like high-dosage tutoring.

  1. Listen to families – the National Parents Union has put out a call for urgency and immediate action in response to this data. In it, they are asking for communication, federal and state action, professional development for teachers, free high-quality tutoring, and extended learning opportunities beyond the regular school day. These are reasonable requests, and who better to make them than concerned families?

I am a big believer in bottling bad energy and harnessing it for good. This is our moment to do just that.

Hayley Spira-Bauer is the Chief Academic Officer of, the leading provider solving teacher shortages in K12 Education. Hayley is also the host of the Learning Can’t Wait Podcast, your view into how changemakers are driving innovation in the field of education.

Featured on News 12: The New Normal