U.S. History Sample Questions
The U.S. history assessment measures students' knowledge of American history, and how well they can evaluate historical evidence and understand change and continuity over time. As specified in the NAEP U.S. history framework, assessment questions are organized around three major components: themes in U.S. history, periods of U.S. history, and ways of knowing and thinking about U.S. history. Themes in U.S. history establish the context for the people, events, ideas, movements, issues, and sources addressed in each historical period and make up the core structure of the U.S. history assessment. Periods of U.S. history establish a basic chronological structure for organizing the experiences of people over time. Ways of knowing and thinking about U.S. history refer to the cognitive skills required for historical study. Learn more about the NAEP U.S. history assessment.
Grade 8 Sample Questions
Samples of released U.S. history questions from the 2022 assessment are presented below. Each example contains a brief description of the question, the format type (selected-response or constructed-response), and the historical theme. The assessment measures students' knowledge of four historical themes: Change and Continuity in American Democracy (Democracy); The Gathering and Interactions of Peoples, Cultures, and Ideas (Culture); Economic and Technological Changes and Their Relationship to Society, Ideas, and the Environment (Technology); and The Changing Role of America in the World (World Role). The percentage of students who answered a selected-response question correctly or who received full credit for their answer to a constructed-response question is also displayed.
Additional NAEP Sample Question Resources
See the NAEP Questions Tool to learn more about the released U.S. history questions from the 2022 assessment and previous assessment years (grades 4, 8, and 12). The tool presents examples of students’ answers to constructed-response questions along with score commentary, the percentage of students who answered correctly, and how students’ performance on a given question corresponds to their overall scores on the U.S. history assessment.
Experience the U.S. history digitally based assessment as students did
You can try test questions that were administered to students as part of the 2022 U.S. history assessment. After completing the questions, you can see the correct answers, scoring rubrics, and student performance results.
U.S. history item maps
One way to understand the NAEP U.S. history scale is by seeing the types of questions that students performing at different points on the scale can likely answer correctly. See an item map with examples of questions that reflect the skills and knowledge demonstrated by students performing at different points on the U.S. history scale within the score range for each NAEP achievement level.