According to the most recent governmental data, eighth-graders have achieved very low scores in United States history and civics, amounting to less than a quarter of pupils with proficient knowledge.
Last time when the National Assessment of Educational Progress tested eighth-graders in 2010, the results showed pretty much the same thing – meaning that little to no progress has been made in 4 years regarding their grasping of U.S. history, geography, and civics.
Congress is set on replacing the current federal testing law called No Child Left Behind, on grounds that President Barack Obama and other specialists believe the promoting of this law is too focused on reading and math – in the detriment of other equally important subjects.
As Roger Beckett said, CEO of Ashbrook Center, a nonprofit organization focused on education, there are a lot of essential subjects, such as civics, history and geography – which should develop the children’s sense of U.S. democracy and its importance in world affairs – that are being constantly overlooked.
Test results of the Nation’s Report Card, as it is often dubbed, showed less than a quarter of children reaching the proficient level, or above, in these three subjects. The results are approximately the same since 2010, the last time American children took the test.
Comparing results, almost one-third of the students reached proficiency in both math and reading, as reported by Peggy Carr of the National Center for Education Statistics, the oversee of data gathering and analysis for the national test.
Michelle Herczog, head of the National Council for the Social Studies, said in a statement that immediate action should be taken about the worryingly low scores and the complete lack of knowledge improvement in the last years.
Back in 2010, government tested eighth-graders, as well as fourth- and twelfth-graders; in 2014, however, budget cuts only allowed approximately 29,000 eighth-graders to take the history, civics and geography tests.
Only 6 percent of students got the right answer of the civics question which required an interpretation of a graph showing a comparison between life expectancy in wealthy countries, and poorer ones. Another 16 percent of students were regarded as to have given an “acceptable” answer.
There was also a difference between how much textbooks are used now in classrooms and how much technology has taken over. Sixty-four percent – down from 73 percent in 2010 – said they used textbooks at least once a week, while computer use increased from 18 to 25 percent in social studies or history classes.
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