The Nation???s Report Card: History 2010


Nation's Report Card: History 2010 coverGadfly’s voice
is hoarse
from proclamations
that history
is being tossed aside in the NCLB-fueled fervor over reading and
math. But this week brings no relief for his vocal cords. Instead, it brought
release of the 2010 Nation’s Report Card for U.S. history, and the statistics
are scream-worthy, if unsurprising. Proficiency rates in history come in at 20
percent or less in fourth, eighth, and twelfth grades—far lower than for any
other subject NAEP assesses. While a few positive data points can be gleaned
(since 1994, blacks and Hispanics have significantly narrowed the achievement
gap, for example), the overall results still remind us of the serious
shortcomings in how we approach history education in this land. In the vast
majority of states, history standards are pitiable and incentives to take this
subject seriously are nonexistent. (While all states are federally mandated to
test ELA and math, only
eight assess
history or social studies at both the elementary and secondary
levels.) But please don’t shoot or even pooh-pooh the messenger, for the NAEP
history assessment is a fair gauge based on an excellent framework that is
serious about real historical content and reasoning. (That’s what our
reviewers found recently

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on the NAEP history results from the Education Gadfly Show podcast


National Center for Education Statistics, “The Nation’s Report
Card: History 2010
,” (Washington, D.C.: Institute of Education Sciences,

History Repeats Itself: Flat Scores Except 8th Grade
,” by Erik W. Robelen, Education
, June 14, 2011.