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Geography

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) geography assessment presents a broad view of what our nation’s students know and can do in geography. The assessment is administered to students at grades 4, 8, and 12. The most recent geography assessment was given in 2018 to approximately 12,900 students in grade 8.

Assessment Content

The geography assessment measures the knowledge of world geography in three content areas (space and place, environment and society, and spatial dynamics and connections) and three cognitive areas (knowing, understanding, and applying). The framework also outlines what geography knowledge and skills students should have to reach NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced achievement. The geography assessment is administered as a digitally based assessment. Survey questionnaires, administered to students, teachers, and school administrators who participate in a geography 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 economics 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 geography 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 geography 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 18 May 2022 (AA)