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In 2001, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) conducted a national U.S. history assessment of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students. In the figures below, student performance is described by average scores on the NAEP U.S. history scale, which ranges from 0 to 500. The results show improvement in student performance over the 1994 results at grades 4 and 8, but do not show a statistically significant change at grade 12. Figure 1 presents the average U.S. history scale scores for the nation for fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders attending both public and nonpublic schools in 1994 and 2001.
View Table 1.
One way to view students' scale score performance on the U.S. history assessment is by looking at the scale scores attained by students across the performance distribution. The percentile indicates the percentage of students whose scores fell below a particular average score. The advantage of looking at the data this way is that it reveals changes in performance for both lower- and higher-performing students. Figure 2 presents the U.S. history scale scores for grades 4, 8, and 12 at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles for both the 1994 and the 2001 assessments.
At grade 4, the scale scores at the lower percentiles (10th and 25th) were higher in 2001 than in 1994. At the other percentiles for grade 4, apparent changes since 1994 were not statistically significant. Increases in average scores at grade 8 were evident among students at both the lower percentile (25th) and the upper percentiles (75th and 90th). At the 10th and 50th percentiles, however, apparent changes since 1994 were not statistically significant. There were no statistically significant changes in average scores when viewed across the score distribution at grade 12.
View Table 2.