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Civics

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics assessment is designed to measure the civics knowledge and skills that are critical to the responsibilities of citizenship in the constitutional democracy of the United States. The assessment is administered to students at grades 4, 8, and 12. The most recent civics assessment was given in 2018 to approximately 13,400 students in grade 8.

Assessment Content

The civics framework recommends that the assessment be organized around three main components: knowledge, intellectual and participatory skills, and civic dispositions. The framework also outlines what civics knowledge and skills students should have to reach NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced achievement. The civics assessment is administered to students as a digitally based assessment. Survey questionnaires, administered to students, teachers, and school administrators who participate in a civics assessment, are used to collect and report contextual information about students’ K-12 education and learning experience in and out of the classroom.

Icons representing each NAEP assessment subject in arts, civics, economics, geography, reading, mathematics, technology and engineering literacy, science, U.S. history, and writing.

How Results Are Reported

Academic achievement in civics is presented in two ways on The Nations's Report Card: scale scores and NAEP achievement levels.

  • Scale scores represent how students performed on the civics assessment. Scores are aggregated and reported for diverse student groups for the nation, states, and districts.
  • NAEP achievement levels are performance standards that describe what students should know and be able to do.

Results are reported as percentages of students performing at or above three NAEP achievement levels (NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced). Students performing at or above the NAEP Proficient level on NAEP assessments demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. It should be noted that the NAEP Proficient achievement level does not represent grade level proficiency as determined by other assessment standards (e.g., state or district assessments).

Item maps illustrate how specific civics knowledge and skills correspond to different NAEP achievement levels. Item maps answer the question, "What does it mean for students to be at NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, or NAEP Advanced in terms of what they know and can do?"

Computer monitor displaying icons of data and charts.

Last updated 17 May 2022 (AA)