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Sample Questions in Civics


Test Yourself...then see how students responded to the same questions on NAEP. The following grade 12 short constructed-response question requires the intellectual skill of "evaluating, taking, and defending a position" in the content area, "What is the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs?" Student responses were scored according to a 3-point scale as "Complete," "Partial," or "Unacceptable." The sample response below is an example of a "Complete" response.

Overall, 24 percent of twelfth-graders' responses were rated "Complete." When only students at the Proficient level are considered, 53 percent of responses were scored as "Complete."

Grade 12 Constructed-Response question. National percentage "complete" in 2006. 24% of all students responses were rated "complete." By achievement level, 4 percent of students Below Basic scored this question complete. 22% of students at Basic were scored as "complete." 53% of students at Proficient were scored as "complete." 81 percent at Advanced answered this question complete. The sample extended constructed-response question is as follows. The following question refers to the cartoon below, which was drawn in the 1960's. The political cartoon depicts a big hand labelled "USSR" tipping over dominoes in this order: Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Phillipines, Japan, Canada, United States. Describe the foreign policy concern pictured in the cartoon. The student responded: "During this time period United States was fighting with the U.S.S.R. and trying to prevent the spread of communisim. The domino effect showed the necessity to pay attention to all countries." Do you think this concern was valid? Explain why or why not. The student responded: "Yes. Because if one country was to fall under communism that would mean it would gain more power to go up against stronger countries and eventually could become a threat to the U.S."

See more about this question in the NAEP Questions Tool.

View this question, at score 203, on a map of NAEP civics items.

Find out what the civics assessment measures.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2006 Civics Assessment.

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