In 1998, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the nation's report card, assessed U.S. students' civics achievement through NAEP Civics. Several major differences between the NAEP Civics study and CivEd prevent comparisons between the two. First and foremost, whereas NAEP is designed to measure content related to civics and government in the United States, CivEd measures a more global understanding of civic concepts. CivEd is not limited to an assessment of civic knowledge and skills, but puts equal importance on measures of student attitudes and experiences. Because there is evidence that civic attitudes are related to civic participation, CivEd can address some questions regarding the role of schools in civic engagement that cannot be examined through NAEP data.
There are several additional differences between the two studies. NAEP provides a combination of multiple-choice and constructed-response (i.e., open-ended) assessment questions. In contrast, all assessment items in CivEd are in the form of multiple-choice questions. Also, the populations tested were different between the studies: fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders were assessed in NAEP compared with ninth-graders in CivEd. Finally, results from CivEd allow international comparisons across countries in both civic achievement and attitudes; NAEP Civics results cannot be compared internationally.