NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 2, 1995

A majority of high school seniors in both public and private schools fell below even a basic understanding of American history in the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress Test.

Educators described themselves as "shocked' and said the test was not "too rigorous."

  • Fully 57% of seniors were rated "below basic" in their understanding of U.S. history - signaling less than minimum competency - even though they only had to have about 42% of the test correct to reach the basic level.
  • Among fourth graders, 36% fell below basic competency levels.
  • Among eighth graders, 39% were below.

Students whose parents had the most education had the highest scores. Asian and white students did better than black and Hispanic students. Boys and girls stayed even until the 12th grade, when the girls fell behind.

Source: Carol Innorst, "History Test Results Aren't Encouraging," Washington Times, November 2, 1995


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