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DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY … OR GEOGRAPHY … OR CIVICS: More than 75 Percent of Students Score Below Proficient on Nation’s Report Card

Approximately 25 percent of eighth-grade students perform below a basic level in U.S. history, geography, and civics, according to the latest results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. Eighth graders’ average scores in all three subjects were unchanged since 2010 and few students reached proficiency. Specifically, only 27 percent of eighth graders scored at or above proficient in geography while only 23 percent reached that level in civics. In U.S. history, only 18 percent were at or above proficient.

“Geography, U.S. history, and civics are core academic subjects that must be a priority. They represent knowledge and skills that are fundamental to a healthy democracy,” said Terry Mazany, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP. “The lack of knowledge on the part of America’s students is unacceptable, and the lack of growth must be addressed. As a country, we must do better.”

In U.S. history, eighth graders posted an average score of 267 on a 500-point scale in 2014, which represents no significant change since the last test in 2010, but it is higher than the average score of 259 on the first assessment in 1994. In geography, the average score of 261 was no different from 2010 or 1994. In civics, the average score of 154 was not significantly different in 2010, but it was higher than the 150 posted during the first assessment year in 1998.

In 2018, at the next scheduled assessment of the U.S. history, geography, and civics assessments, the tests will be administered to eighth- and twelfth-grade students. For the first time, those three assessments will be entirely computer-based.

The complete results are available at

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