It was encouraging to see that the performance of fourth graders improved since 2006 – and that this increase was reflected through all demographic groups and all skill levels. It is also worth noting that teaching the Constitution and civics worked! Elementary students performed much better when their teachers made a point to emphasize the Constitution and our foundations as a nation, the role of citizens, and politics and government.
At the middle and high school levels, results were less encouraging. The performance of eighth graders has not changed since the 2006 or 1998 assessment – despite the fact that eighth graders report being taught more frequently about a wide range of civics topics, including the presidency, the judiciary, and political parties and elections. More disappointing, the performance of twelfth graders has declined – as has the amount of instruction they have received on the Constitution, among other civics topics.
This raises a question: Has a shift in certain civic education topics from high school to middle school failed to result in any educational benefit to middle school students, while diminishing the civic education of high school students? What other factors might be contributing to these disappointing results? What remedies can you suggest to move policy-makers in the right direction?
Teachers, please weigh in on this important question.
Posted in Staff Updates