National History Test Results Show Limited Growth

June 29th, 2011

Category: News

The 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results in U.S. history were recently released, providing insight into educational progress since the exam was first administered in 1994. NAEP is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), an entity within the U.S. Department of Education, and tests public and private school students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in the subject areas of U.S. history, mathematics, science, writing, the arts, civics, reading, economics, and geography across.

While there was growth in several areas nationally, others remained stagnant. 8th grade scores increased since 2006, while the other grades had no statistical difference in their scores from 2006. Exam results are divided into three benchmarks of passing scores: “basic”, “proficient”, and “advanced.” Only 13% of  U.S. 12th graders performed at a proficient level or higher, a negligible difference than previous years of testing. However, 8th graders increased their proficient and advanced scores to 18% performing at basic or higher, increasing from 15% in 1994. Additionally, 22% of 4th graders performed at a proficient level or higher, increasing from 20% in 2006 and 19% in 1994.

The achievement gap remains consistent, despite several gains by African American, Hispanic, and Asian/ Pacific Islander students. Black and Hispanic 8th grade students’ scores increased since 2006.   Scores across every grade have markedly increased since 1994, showing a positive trend for future efforts in decreasing the achievement gap.

Unlike other subjects, the U.S. history NAEP results are not reported by state. However, Delaware is in the middle of the pack in other subjects.  Although Delaware has achievement gaps in reading and writing for African American and Hispanic students, the nation’s achievement gap is wider than Delaware’s. Incorporating data coaches into schools, an initiative made possible by Race to the Top, will allow Delaware educators to better understand results, such as these NAEP scores, to create improve student outcomes.

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Brittany Mason



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