Civics Top Story: Students making progress in civics at grade 4 but not at grades 8 and 12
The average scores of fourth-graders on the NAEP civics assessment improved in 2010 compared to 2006 and 1998. The civics scores for eighth-graders showed no statistically significant change compared to 2006 or 1998. The scores for twelfth-graders declined since 2006, and showed no significant change compared to 1998.
Summary of the major findings.
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At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure their civics knowledge, intellectual and participatory skills, and civic dispositions.
Performance in civics at the Basic level
In the 2010 NAEP civics assessment, 77 percent of fourth-graders, 72 percent of eighth-graders, and 64 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Basic level.
Examples of skills demonstrated by students performing at the Basic level:
Grade 4 - Recognize taxes as the main source of government funding
Grade 8 - Identify a right protected by the First Amendment
Grade 12 - Identify the meaning of a Supreme Court opinion
The NAEP Basic level denotes partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade.
Performance in civics at the Proficient level
In the 2010 NAEP civics assessment, 27 percent of fourth-graders, 22 percent of eighth-graders, and 24 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Proficient level.
Examples of skills demonstrated by students performing at the Proficient level:
Grade 4 - Identify the purpose of the U.S. Constitution
Grade 8 - Recognize a role performed by the Supreme Court
Grade 12 - Identify the effect of U.S. foreign policy on other nations
The NAEP Proficient level represents solid academic performance, with students demonstrating competency over challenging subject matter.
Performance in civics at the Advanced level
In the 2010 NAEP civics assessment, 2 percent of fourth-graders, 1 percent
of eighth-graders, and 4 percent of twelfth-graders performed at the
Examples of skills demonstrated by students performing at the Advanced level:
Grade 4 - Explain two ways countries can deal with shared problems
Grade 8 - Name two actions citizens can take to encourage Congress to pass a law
Grade 12 - Compare the citizenship requirements of the U.S. to other countries
The Advanced level represents superior performance.
Use the tools to further explore NAEP civics...
Civics Item Maps illustrate the skills shown by students performing at different scale scores on the 2010 civics assessment.
NAEP Questions Tool presents all the released questions from NAEP civics assessments, with percent correct and scoring guides. You can sort by grade, question type, and difficulty.
Test Yourself on questions from the 2010 civics assessment and see how your score compares to the scores of students across the nation.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1998, 2006, and 2010 Civics Assessments.