Only 12 percent of American 12th graders know enough history to score "proficient" in the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Only 17 percent of eighth graders and 20 percent of fourth graders achieved similar levels of grade-appropriate knowledge.
The good news is that all three groups did fare better, on average, than those who took the test in 1994, according to the Nation's Report Card released today.
The most significant gain was for the bottom 10th percentile of fourth graders, with a 22-point increase when compared with student scores from 1994.
The assessment tested representative samples of more than 7,000 fourth graders, 11,000 eighth graders, and 12,000 12th graders.
The NAEP has periodically conducted similar education assessments in reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geographyand other subjects since 1969.
Did you scoff at the seemingly low scores? Well, test your knowledge with the sample questions below.
Fourth Grade Sample Questions
1. What are the three most important reasons that the United States fought in the First World War on the side of France and Great Britain?
2. Which area became part of the United States last?
A) Hawaii B) Texas C) Oregon D) Alaska
3. The document that contains the basic rules used to run the United States government is:
A) the Declaration of Independence B) the Magna Carta C) the Mayflower Compact D) the Constitution
4. Sojourner Truth said these words in 1852: "I hear talk about the Constitution and rights of man. I come up and I takes hold of this Constitution. It looks might big. And I feels for my rights, but they not there." What did Sojourner Truth want to communicate with her words?
A) Poor people did not know what was written in the Constitution B) African-Americans were not allowed to read the Constitution C) The Constitution did not talk about the rights of African-Americans D) The Constitution needed to talk about the rights of Native Americans
Eighth Grade Sample Questions
1. Who was Thomas Jefferson and why was he important?
Refer to the passage below for questions 2 and 3:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government. —1776
2. The quotation is from the:
A) Articles of Confederation B) Constitution C) Declaration of Independence D) Missouri Compromise
3. The primary author of the document was:
A) George Washington B) John Marshall C) Robert E. Lee D) Thomas Jefferson
4. What were the three main countries that made up the Axis powers in World War II?
A) Germany, Russia and Japan B) Italy, Japan and Russia C) Germany, Japan and Italy D) Germany, Japan and Great Britain