Wherein 4th graders got better in Civics from 2006 to 2010, 8th graders stayed the same, and 12th graders got worse:
For ten years we’ve been hearing that that NCLB-mandated standardized reading and math testing is crowding out instruction in other subjects, producing a nation of test-drilled automatons who can’t engage as citizens, appreciate art, or even tie their shoes properly. And every time NAEP actually tests students in those subjects, the results look like this. In the grades where most NCLB testing occurs–elementary and middle school–students actually do better, or no worse. One can only speculate as to why, although a prime candidate would be the fact that it’s hard to learn civics if you can’t read. Meanwhile, in high school, where there’s only one mandated NCLB test over four years, the results are depressing. We really need to fix our high schools. Perhaps more effective accountability built on a foundation of high-quality standardized testing would help.