TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

American history an interest which eludes many learners

Frexylin Dasr
Listen to article

American history an interest which eludes many learners

U.S. students have been a going issue for some time, particularly their performance in a few areas. One of their worst topics, going by standardized testing requirements, is American history. Fourth graders were found to be better at studying U.S. history than high school students in a recent study conducted by the Department of Education. Article resource - Most American students not proficient in American history by

The smarter in the nation

The semi-annual survey "The Nation's Report Card" showed that American school learners have no idea anything about American history, reports the New York Times. This survey was done by a project of the Department of Education, the National Assessment of Education Progress. Only 17 percent of eighth grade students were proficient in U.S. history while 20 percent of fourth grade learners were rated proficient. High school seniors were the toughest. They weren't competent at all. Only 12 percent of 12th grade pupils were proficient in U.S. history. The Wall Street Journal explained how competence was measured. It was measured on a "below basic," "basic," "proficient" or "advanced," level. Proficiency, as far as the survey is concerned, essentially means a pupil has mastered the fundamentals of a topic and understands how it applies to the everyday world.

Getting better at least

There are signs of improvement, even though the statistics are sad. Fourth graders went from 18 percent proficiency to 20 percent in American history from the 2006 Nation's Report Card to the 2010 Nation's Report Card. There was no change for eighth graders while high school seniors went down 13 percent to 12 percent. If not proficient, most students were able to show basic competency. The Washington Post states that about 73 percent of fourth grade pupils and 69 percent of eighth grade learners showed basic competency. As only 45 percent of high school seniors had basic competency in history, they're far behind the younger children. Since the 1994 examination, student groups have improved. A 73 percent competency rate in 2010 for fourth graders showed an improvement. It went up from 64 percent. There was an improvement from 61 percent for eight grade learners. Only a 2 percent increase was shown for high school learners though.

Good for pupils

These outcomes do not seem all that great. Still, they're really not too bad as long as you consider the long term education trend. The National center for Education Statistics states that from 1971 to 2008, there was an overall improvement in reading and arithmetic students, with the least improvement in high school. In reading, the scores for the average 9 year old increased from 1971 to 2010. It went from 208 to 220 out of 500 in reading. There was only an improvement from 285 to 286 for 17 year old students from 1971 to 2008. The 13 year olds showed an increase from 255 to 260. Math for 9 year olds increased as well from 1973 to 2008. It went up from 219 to 243. During that same period, 13 year olds increased to 281 from 166. High school seniors increased to 206 from 304.

Information from

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

National Center for Education Statistics