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 of U.S. history, periods of U.S. history, and ways of knowing and thinking about U.S. history. Themes of 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.
Questions from the 2018 NAEP U.S. history assessment were not released to the public. However, samples of released U.S history questions from previous assessments, including how students performed on them, are presented below as examples of the types of questions given to students in the 2018 assessment. 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), Gathering & Interaction of Peoples, Cultures & Ideas (Culture); Economic & Technical changes and their relation to Society, Ideas and the Environment (Technology), and 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.
A complete list of questions released from previous U.S. history assessments is available in the NAEP Questions Tool.
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.