8th Graders’ US History Scores at All-Time Low

8th Graders’ US History Scores at All-Time Low

Posted For: Hauviette

Brian Freeman

About 40% of eighth graders scored below the basic level in U.S. history last year, compared to 34% in 2018, the lowest scores ever recorded in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Axios reported on Wednesday.

Only 13% of those tested were able to perform at or above the “proficient” level in U.S. history.

The average civic scores of eighth graders also fell by two points compared to 2018, the NAEP results show. They’re comparable to results from 1998, which is the first assessment year for civics under the current framework.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement that history scores on the NAEP assessment have been trending down since 2014, but that the pandemic had a “profound impact.”

He added that the result “tells us that now is not the time for politicians to try to extract double-digit cuts to education funding, nor is it the time to limit what students learn in U.S. history and civics classes. We need to provide every student with rich opportunities to learn about America’s history and understand the U.S. Constitution and how our system of government works.”

Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the Education Department, said in a press release that “these results are a national concern. Far too many of our students are struggling to understand and explain the importance of civic participation, how American government functions, and the historical significance of events.”

Last fall, the NAEP test scores showed sharp declines as well in math, with those results ​the largest drop-off ever recorded for fourth and eighth graders, Axios reported.

Math scores declined for those grades in almost every state and district between 2019 and 2022. In addition, reading scores also fell in most states during those years, according to the results.


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