Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Table of Contents  |  Search Technical Documentation  |  References

NAEP Instruments → Cognitive Items and Instruments → Development of the Civics Cognitive Items and Instruments

Development of the Civics Cognitive Items and Instruments


Student Booklets: 2006

Number of Items: 2006

Common Blocks: 2006

horizontal line

The instruments used in the NAEP civics assessment are composed of blocks of cognitive items from the previous NAEP assessment, as well as blocks that are newly developed for the current assessment. Administering the same blocks of items across years allows for the reporting of trends in civics performance. At the same time, developing new sets of items makes it possible to release some items for public use. In some assessment years, one or more blocks at each grade are released to the public and can be accessed via the NAEP Questions Tool.

The NAEP civics framework and the specifications documents act as guides for item development efforts. Items are written by a team composed of NAEP item development staff, kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade teachers, and postsecondary teachers around the country. All assessment materials are reviewed by members of the Civics Standing Committee (see the current committee members), as well as other specialists in education and assessment development.

In 2006, the cognitive items were assembled into 25-minute blocks containing a range of questions covering five civics content areas:

  • civic life, politics, and government;
  • foundations of the American political system;
  • purposes, values, and principles of democracy;
  • relationship of the U.S. to other nations and to world affairs; and
  • role of citizens. 

Following approval from the National Center for Education Statistics, the blocks are assembled into booklets and distributed to schools for the administration of the assessment.

The number of cognitive items in the civics assessment is detailed in the NAEP Analysis and Scaling section.

Last updated 13 November 2009 (GF)

Printer-friendly Version

Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey


No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education