About the NAEP U.S. History Assessment

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in U.S. history is designed to measure students' knowledge of American history in the context of change and continuity in democracy, culture and society, technological and economic changes, and America's changing world role. Students answer a series of selected-response and constructed-response questions based on these areas (or themes) in American history. Performance results are reported for students in the nation and disaggregated by various student characteristics.

The 2022 NAEP U.S. history assessment at grade 8 was administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) as a digitally based assessment. Read more about the NAEP Digitally Based U.S. History Assessment.

NAEP Digitally Based U.S. History Assessment

The NAEP U.S. history assessment at grade 8 transitioned from a paper-based assessment (PBA) to a digitally based assessment (DBA) in 2018. The 2022 DBA was administered on tablets supplied by NCES using a secure, local NAEP network. This allowed NAEP administrators to create a stable assessment environment by bringing in their own equipment that would not be influenced by variations in school-based equipment or school internet connectivity, thereby maintaining consistency across the assessed schools. Students were able to interact with the tablets via touchscreen, with an attached keyboard, or using a stylus provided by NAEP. The digitally based U.S. history assessment provided students with interactive item types and online tools such as zooming capability and different contrast settings for the visually impaired. At the beginning of the assessment session, students viewed an interactive tutorial that provided all the information needed to take the assessment on a tablet; for example, it explained how to progress through questions, how to indicate answers for selected-response questions, and use online tools. The interactive nature of the tutorial allowed students to familiarize themselves with the digital delivery system before beginning the actual assessment. See how the U.S. history digitally based assessment was presented to students.

The digitally based U.S. history assessment was designed to continue reporting trends in student performance dating back to 1994, while keeping pace with the new generation of classroom environments in which digital technology has become an increasing part of students' learning. The 2022 assessment content at grade 8 was composed of questions that were trans-adapted from previous PBA questions as well as new, digitally based questions, that were developed for the 2018 DBA, to take advantage of the new digital delivery system. The previously-used questions were adapted to fit a tablet screen. While the presentation of content changed, the content itself did not change. Of the 9 DBA blocks administered at grade 8 in 2022, three blocks were newly developed for the 2018 DBA. All of the questions administered in the 2022 DBA were also administered in the 2018 DBA.

Because the transition that placed the DBA results onto the trend line took place in 2018, the usual NAEP procedure of common item linking was used to calculate the trend line from 2018 to 2022. The 2022 results at grade 8 presented in this report are based on the performance of students who took the assessment on tablets. Read more about the social science assessment transition and mode evaluation.