Average Scores

Overall Score Results
Lower average U.S. history score for eighth-graders compared to 2014

In 2018, the average U.S. history score for eighth-grade students was 4 points lower compared to 2014, the previous assessment year; however, the 2018 average score was higher in comparison to the first U.S. history assessment in 1994. The NAEP U.S. history scale at grade 8 ranges from 0 to 500 (although student performance typically ranges from 220 to 300, representing the 10th and 90th percentiles, respectively). In 1994, the mean of the U.S. history scale was set at 250 and the standard deviation at 50.

The chart below shows 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 a description of each achievement level by clicking the question mark icons. Read more about NAEP achievement levels and how they are set.

Scroll down to see results by percentile.

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Scores by Percentile
Decrease in U.S. history scores for students at all select percentile levels except the highest compared to 2014

NAEP reports scores at five selected percentiles to show the progress made by lower- (10th and 25th percentiles), middle- (50th percentile), and higher- (75th and 90th percentiles) performing students. In 2018, overall U.S. history scores were lower by 7 points at the 10th percentile, 5 points at the 25th percentile, 4 points at the 50th percentile, and 3 points at the 75th percentile compared to 2014; there was no significant change in the score at the 90th percentile.

In comparison to 1994, however, U.S. history scores were higher in 2018 for students at all the selected percentiles with one exception: the score for higher-performing students at the 90th percentile was not significantly different from 1994.

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