(Headline USA) Eighth grade student test scores in U.S. history and civics have declined significantly, according to new data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The data, released on Wednesday, show the lowest scores in either subject since the tests were first administered in 1998. For U.S. history, scores declined from 263 in 2018 to 258 on a scale of 0-300. And for civics, scores fell from 153 in 2018 to 150.
Nearly one-third of eighth grade students could not describe the structure or function of government, according to the results, and many failed to identify basic U.S. historical facts.
The data also revealed that 40% of students in history and 31% in civics failed to reach the lowest NAEP benchmark of “basic,” and just 13% of students in history and 22% in civics scored above the second benchmark of “proficient.”
The NAEP administered the exams to a “representative sample” of 8,000 eighth graders in spring 2022.
The Biden administration responded to the news by blaming Republicans for restricting leftist curricula that distorts U.S. history.
“Banning history books and censoring educators from teaching these important subjects does our students a disservice and will move America in the wrong direction,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
Critics contend that the Biden administration, in tandem with powerful teachers unions, enforced draconian COVID policies that enforced remote learning and saw test scores across the country plummet. At the same time, they pushed radical agendas that promoted divisive and academically questionable curriculum like Critical Race Theory and DEI policies in place of core academics.
The National Center for Education Statistics said in a press release that the test results should be of “national concern.”
“Self-government depends on each generation of students leaving school with a complete understanding of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship,” NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr said in a statement. “But far too many of our students are struggling to understand and explain the importance of civic participation, how American government functions, and the historical significance of events. These results are a national concern.”