• FAILING GRADES: Most 8th Graders Score Low on US History, Civics

    Federal test scores released late last week show America’s eighth-graders are failing tests in U.S. history.

    Only 18% of eighth-graders rated proficient or above in U.S. history, according to results from the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Just 27% rated proficient or above in geography and 23% in civics reveal

    About two-thirds of the eighth graders were able to use a map to locate a country on the Horn of Africa, but only a quarter successfully completed a two-part question that involved explaining how the participation of African-Americans in the Civil War affected the war’s outcome.

    history test

    The national study, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, surveyed more than 29,000 eighth-grade students from more than 400 schools. Among those students, a small percentage — 3 percent or less — scored at the advanced level at any subject.

    Forty percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students made proficiency, compared with 32 percent of white students, 12 percent of Hispanic students, and 9 percent of black students.


    Students’ performance on social studies didn’t improve much between 2014 and 2010, when the last comparable NAEP tests given. Students did better overall in U.S. history and civics than their peers in the 1990s when the tests were first given, but geography scores have remained stagnant since 1994.

    “How do we, as a nation, maintain our status in the world if future generations of Americans do not understand our nation’s history, world geography, or civic principles and practices?” Michelle Herczog, president of the National Council for the Social Studies, said in a statement about the NAEP results. “The world is growing more complex; low scores and lack of student growth in these subjects point to a need for immediate action.”

    Herczog said the results “point to a need for immediate action” and called the lingering achievement gaps “startling.”

    “Tackling issues like terrorism, human rights, race relations and poverty require a deep understanding of the historical and geographic context,” she said. “The representative democracy established by our founding fathers calls for all members of society to be represented in legislatures, political offices, jury boxes, and voting booths, unfortunately this vision has yet to be realized.”

    Peggy Carr, the acting commissioner of the acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics said the NAEP results may re-energize national interest in the area of social studies education which is critical to understanding and interpreting current events.

    “Look at the headlines today. Look at Nepal. Look at Baltimore. Look at the Supreme Court,” she said in a conference call with reporters. “These are all very significant 21st Century challenges that are soundly rooted in U.S. history and geography.”

    No wonder a majority of Americans under the age of 30 say they want Democrats to keep control of the White House after the 2016 elections–they’re not learning from history.

    Alicia Powe

    Staff Writer

    Alicia Powe is a staff writer for Daily Surge. She worked in the War Room of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee and served as a White House Intern during the George W. Bush administration. Alicia has written for numerous outlets, including Human Events, Media Research Center and Townhall.com.

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