Students Fail at Civics: NAEP History Exam Results at a GlanceHot Topics
- HNN Hot Topic: Low History iQs
- Sam Wineburg: We Need to Develop New Ways to Teach Students History (2005)
HNN Roundtable: Why Don't Students Know Anything About U.S. History?
- Paul Burke: Wrong "Correct" Answers the Scourge of the NAEP
- Linda K. Salvucci: We Need a STEM-Like Initiative for History
- Sam Wineburg: Can Educators Even Answer These Lame Questions?
- Rick Shenkman: How Can We Ever Hope to Govern Ourselves If We Know Nothing of Our Past?
- James Grossman: Let He Who Knows Who Won the Korean War Cast the First Stone
- Jim Cullen: Let the Teachers Teach
- WaPo Editorial Board: Making History and Civics a Priority
- Tony Woodlief: What Would the Founders Teach?
- David McCullough: Textbooks "so politically correct as to be comic"
- Harvey J. Kaye: Republicans Remain Poor at History – But So Do American Citizens
- NAEP website
- Sample questions
- Nation’s Report Card: US History
- Background on the report
- Commissioner’s remarks
- Statistics showing the scores (see appendix)
Highlights: General Findings
- Scores fall into 3 categories: basic, proficient, advanced
- Questions fall into 4 basic themes: Democracy, Role in the World, Culture, Technology
- 3 grades were tested: 4th, 8th, and 12th
- No student in any grade level was asked to answer all questions
- Students in both public and private schools were tested, but no breakout is provided of scores
- The test employed a mixture of open-ended and multiple choice questions
- Fewer than 25% of students perform at or above "proficient" level
- Poor score lower on tests
- Students with parents who went on to college score higher
- Whites score 26 points higher than black and hispanic students
- On some tests males scored slightly higher than females
- The biggest improvements since the last test in 2005 is with 8th graders.
- 84% of 8th graders say they are taking a US history class
- Percent who could say when Columbus sailed, Jamestown was founded, the Constitution was written, and the Emancipation Proclamation was issued: 19
- Percent who got at least 2 of the previous events correctly: 27
- Percent who got one answer right: 23
- Percent who could look at a picture of the Sioux and say how they used natural resources: 23
- Percent who correctly identified the purpose of canals in the 19th century: 44
- Percent who understand a passage indicating that Burma's leading rights activist wants the rights Americans enjoy under the Bill of Rights: 56
- Percent who could identify the author of this statement: "The house divided against itself cannot stand": 39
- Percent who knew which war broke out after this statement was made: 54
- Percent who associate the Statue of Liberty with immigration: 68
- Percent who could supply 2 facts about a picture showing slaves in a plantation field: 6
- Percent who could cite a single advantage Americans had over the British in the American Revolution: 32
- Percent who could correctly answer that higher taxes were one of the fateful consequences of the Seven Years' War: 47
- Percent of people who opposed ratification of the Constituion because they "feared that the new national government would deny people their rights": 54
- Percent who said that the most significant factor in the formation of the first Continental Congress was "Colonial frustration with laws passed by the British Parliament": 39
- Percent who correctly identified Edison as the inventor of the phonograph: 48
- Percent who correctly identified the main goal of US foreign policy between 1945 and 1990 was fighting communism: 26
- Percent who associatyed Lend-Lease with WW II: 41
- Percent who could explain the system of checks and balances: 22
- Percent who could identify the primary author of the Declaration of Independence: 71
- Percent who understood purpose of mercantilism: 40
- Percent who could identify two of the advantages the South had in the Civil War: 26
- Percent who knew The Jungle concerned abuses in the meat packing industry: 41
- Percent who could associate a cartoon showing TR with a bick stick with TR: 45
- Percent who could provide an example of big stick diplomacy: 14
- Percent who understood William Jennings Bryan's attack on the gold standard in the Cross of Gold speech: 52
- Percent who understood that F. Scott Fitzgerald criticized shallow materialism: 42
- Percent who could identify a single reform movement in which religion played a central role after 1945: 5
- Percent who could identify the 3/5ths clause in the Constitution: 9
- Percent who understood what the Progressive Movement was all about: 36
- Percent who understood a quote from Harry Truman about containment: 26
- Percent who could provide two examples of containment: 13
- Percent who understand the impact of Sputnik on the US: 74
Relative Achievement Levels of the Three Tested Groups
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