Friday, May 6, 2011

The Nation's Report Card for Civics Now Available

Civics Scores Show Progress for Fourth Graders But No Significant Improvement for Eighth and Twelfth Grade Students

The National Center for Education Statistics released this week the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for Civics. Results show that although Civics scores for students in Grade 4 are improving, the scores for students in Grades 8 remain mostly stagnant and the scores for students in Grade 12 show a bit of a decline. Nationally representative samples of about 7,100 fourth-graders, 9,600 eight-graders, and 9,900 twelfth-graders participated in the Civics assessment. At each grade, students responded to questions designed to measure the civics knowledge and skills that are critical to the responsibilities of citizenship in America's democracy. Comparing the results from the 2010 assessment to results from two previous assessment years shows the students' progress over time. 

In the New York Times article, "Failing Grades on Civics Exam Called a 'Crisis,'" former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor states, "Today’s NAEP results confirm that we have a crisis on our hands when it comes to civics education." O'Connor is a stalwart advocate for Civics education and recently founded, a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. O'Connor developed the project out of her concern that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation.

In the same article, Charles N. Quigley, executive director for the Center  for Civic Education, states, "The results confirm an alarming and continuing trend that civics in America is in decline."  

Click here to read the entire New York Times article.

At the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance, we believe that literacy--including Civics literacy--is essential to the development of responsible citizens in a democracy.

Help Kids Connect with Civics Topics With Our White House!
The NCBLA's Our White House Project Provides Printed and Online Materials to Help Adults Who Live and Work With Children Learn More About American History and Civics
Our White House is a project of The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance designed to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive. 
The Book!
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough introduces this creative tour de force, in which 108 renowned authors and illustrators have donated their poetry, prose, and art to help advance the cause of young people’s literacy and historical literacy. The illustrations, essays, short stories, presidential letters, personal reflections, and historical accounts in Our White House inform and entertain, offering a window on more than 200 years of American history. Our White House is available in both hardcover and paperback. The new paperback edition features a NEW poem by Nikki Grimes about President Obama’s inauguration!
The Website!
In addition to the Our White House book, the NCBLA has created an extensive coordinating website filled with exclusive articles, resources, discussion questions. classroom activities, and links to other dynamic resources to help ignite our young people's interest in American history and civics, with the goal of creating an informed and engaged citizenship considerate of the past, present, and future. 

Learn more at