Student Group Scores and Score Gaps

Student Group Score Trends
Lower eighth-grade U.S. history scores for many student groups compared to 2014

NAEP reports on the following student groups: race/ethnicity, gender, eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, parental educational level, type of school, charter school, school location, region of the country, status as students with disabilities, and status as English language learners.

In comparison to 2014, the previous assessment year, average scores for eighth-graders in U.S. history were lower in 2018 for many student groups. For example,

  • White, Black, Hispanic students, and students of Two or More Races;
  • male and female students;
  • students who were eligible for the National School Lunch Program;
  • students whose parents graduated from high school, had some education after high school, and those whose parents graduated from college;
  • students attending public and public, noncharter schools;
  • students whose schools were across all four types of locations: city, suburban, rural, and town.

In comparison to 1994, however, average eighth-grade U.S. history scores were higher for several student groups, including White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students, male students, students whose parents did not graduate from high school, and those who attended public schools.

See trends in average scores for selected student groups by clicking on the thumbnails below. Scroll down the page to find out how score differences between student groups and percentages of student groups have changed over time, and to explore how a student group performs in relation to another student group.

The Type of School dropdown below presents the results for Catholic schools (a subcategory of private schools) and public schools. In 2018, results for private schools overall did not meet the minimum participation rate guideline for reporting, and therefore are not included here. See more information about years with available data by type of school and other student demographic groups.

The detailed charts below for each student group show the trend in average U.S. history scores beginning in 1994 and the cut scores indicating the lower end of the score range for each NAEP achievement level: NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced. Read more about NAEP achievement levels and how they are set. Please note, achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted and used with caution.

FIGURE | Trend in eighth-grade NAEP U.S. history average scores, by selected student groups
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A Closer Look at Student Group Performance
Dig deeper into the student group results

This section explores the results for one student group by other student characteristics. For example, the results for racial/ethnic student groups can be explored in the context of gender or parental education. Use the drop-down menus below to view how a student group performs in relation to another student group.

Display as Graph | Table
Score Gap Trends
No significant changes in score gaps among student groups in U.S. history compared to 2014

In comparison to 2014, there were no significant changes in score differences among student groups in 2018.

Compared to 1994, the score difference between male and female students widened by three points. In 2018, male students scored 3 points higher on average than their female peers in the U.S. history assessment, while there was no significant score difference between the two groups in 1994. There were no significant changes in the score gap between racial/ethnic groups. Other changes in gaps among student groups in 2018 compared to 1994 include the following:

The score gap narrowed between

  • students whose parents’ highest level of education was high school and those whose parents did not finish high school;
  • students whose parents had some education after high school and those whose parents did not finish high school; and
  • students attending public schools and those attending Catholic schools.

The score gap widened between

  • students whose parents graduated from college and those whose parents had some education after high school.
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Display as Graph | Table
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Group Population Percentages
Demographic changes in student populations

Compared to the previous assessment year in 2014, the racial/ethnic makeup of eighth-grade students remained unchanged for most of the groups; there was a higher percentage of students with Two or More Races in 2018 than in 2014. Compared to the first assessment year in 1994, the percentages of White and Black students were lower, and the percentages of Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander students and students with Two or More Races were higher. Select a student group from the drop-down menu to view changes in the percentage distribution for that group over time.

Read more about changes in NAEP’s reporting for racial/ethnic groups.

YearsWhiteBlackHispanicAsian/​Pacific IslanderAsianNative Hawaiian/​Other Pacific IslanderAmerican Indian/​Alaska NativeTwo or More Races
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