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 Samples

The schools and students participating in NAEP assessments are selected to be a nationally representative sample of all schools. The results from the 2022 U.S. history assessment at grade 8 are based on approximately 8,000 eighth-graders from about 410 schools who took the assessment on tablets. Results for the nation reflect the performance of students attending public and private schools. Download the summary data tables via the link at the bottom of the page to see the national sample sizes for the 2022 U.S. history assessment.

Each school that participated in the assessment, and each student assessed, represents only a portion of the larger population of interest. The results are weighted to account for the disproportionate representation of some groups in the selected sample, including the oversampling of schools with high concentrations of students from certain racial/ethnic groups and the lower sampling rates of students who attend small schools. Read more about NAEP sampling and weighting in the NAEP Technical Documentation.

NAEP Inclusion

Assessing representative samples of students, including students with disabilities (SD) and English learners (EL), helps to ensure that NAEP results accurately reflect the educational performance of all students in the target population and are a meaningful measure of U.S. students' academic achievement over time.

To ensure that all selected students from the population can be assessed, many of the same accommodations that SD and EL students use on other tests are provided for those students participating in NAEP. Accommodations were first made available for the U.S. history assessment in 2001. Read about the accommodations available in NAEP. In the 2022 NAEP digitally based U.S. history assessment, accommodations such as a text-to-speech for directions were universal design elements integrated into the delivery system and available to all students.

Because providing accommodations represented a change in testing conditions that could potentially affect the measurement of changes over time, split national samples of students were assessed in 2001—one sample permitted accommodations and the other did not. Although the results for both samples are presented in the tables and figures, any comparisons to 2001 in the text are based only on the accommodated sample.

The National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP, has been exploring ways to ensure that NAEP continues to appropriately include as many students as possible and to do so in a consistent manner for all jurisdictions and districts assessed and reported. In March 2010, the Governing Board adopted a new policy outlining specific inclusion goals for NAEP samples. The goal is to include 95 percent of all students selected for the NAEP samples, and 85 percent of those in the NAEP sample who are identified as SD or EL. Read more about the inclusion policy.

School and Student Participation

To ensure unbiased samples, NAEP requires that participation rates for original school samples be 70 percent or higher to report national results separately for public and private schools. In instances where participation rates meet the 70 percent criteria but fall below 85 percent, a nonresponse bias analysis is conducted to determine if the responding school sample is not representative of the population, thereby introducing the potential for nonresponse bias.

Before replacing originally sampled schools that declined to participate with substitute schools, the weighted national school participation rates for the 2022 U.S. history assessment were 87 percent for grade 8 (91 percent for public schools, 34 percent for private schools, and 62 percent for Catholic schools). In 2022, the school participation rates for private schools and Catholic schools at grade 8 did not meet the criteria for participation rates, so their results are not reportable separately; however, their results are included in the estimates for overall schools..

Weighted student participation rates were 90 percent at grade 8 (90 percent for public school students, 94 percent for private school students, and 94 percent for Catholic school students).

Download the summary data tables via the link at the bottom of the page to see the participation rates in U.S. history for the nation.