Explore Results for the
2018 NAEP Civics Assessment

In 2018, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) administered the civics assessment to a nationally representative sample of eighth-grade students. The civics assessment was delivered on digital devices for the first time in 2018, as well as on conventional paper and pencil formats. It assessed students’ knowledge and skills in democratic citizenship, government, and American constitutional democracy. Students also answered survey questions about their opportunities to learn and their engagement with civics in and outside of school.

How did students perform in civics?

In 2018, the average civics score for eighth-grade students was not significantly different from 2014. The 2018 average score was 3 points higher than that in 1998, the first assessment year.

FIGURE | Trend in eighth-grade NAEP civics average scores

A summary of the results from the 2018 civics assessment can be found in the Report Card Highlights.

Detailed Civics Assessment Results

More detailed civics assessment results are available throughout this Report Card.

About the Civics Assessment

The NAEP civics assessment measures students’ knowledge and understanding of civics with three interrelated components: knowledge, intellectual and participatory skills, and civic dispositions. Taken together, these three elements are defined in the framework as the core elements of civics instruction in the U.S. Learn more about the NAEP civics framework.

Assessment Design and Administration:
  • The civics assessment was administered between January and March of 2018.
  • A nationally representative sample of approximately 13,400 eighth-graders from about 780 schools across the nation participated in 2018.
  • This was the first digitally based civics assessment; previously it was administered only in a paper-based format. For this administration, students were randomly assigned to take either the digitally based assessment or the paper-based assessment.
  • Students answered questions related to civics for approximately 60 minutes.
  • Survey questionnaires were administered to students, teachers, and school administrators.

The Story of NAEP

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a continuing and nationally representative measure of trends in academic achievement of U.S. elementary and secondary students in various subjects. It is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation's students know and can do in select subjects. It was first administered in 1969 to measure student achievement nationally. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States.

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