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The Nation's Report Card: U.S. History Highlights 2001

May 2002


Improvements Seen in NAEP 2001 U.S. History Results at Grades 4 and 8

Results for the 2001 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) U.S. history assessment show that the average scores of fourth- and eighth-grade students have improved since 1994. The average score of twelfth-grade students, however, has not changed significantly.


Line graph of average U.S. history scores for 1994 and 2001, respectively: 205 and 209* at grade 4; 259 and 262* at grade 8; and 286 and 287 at grade 12

asterisk Significantly different from 1994.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1994 and 2001 U.S. History Assessments.


This history assessment was first administered to nationally representative samples of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students in 1994. The figure above shows national average scores in 1994 and 2001 based on a 0-500 NAEP U.S. history scale at each grade.

In 2001, the average scores of fourth- and eighth-graders improved in comparison to 1994. The 2001 score for twelfth-graders was not statistically different from the 1994 score.

It should be noted that every test score has a standard error -- a range of a few points plus or minus the score -- which accounts for potential score fluctuation due to sampling error and measurement error. Statistical tests that factor in these standard errors are used to determine whether the differences between average scores are significant. Estimates based on smaller subgroups are likely to have relatively large standard errors. As a consequence, some seemingly large differences may not be statistically significant. Only statistically significant differences are cited in this report.


NCES 2002-482 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
U.S. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: U.S. History Highlights 2001, NCES 2002-482, by National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: 2002.

Last updated 08 May 2002 (PO'R)

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