This is not a line from a song but the pure, painful reality of today’s education. Test scores from 2014, released on Wednesday, show that students are finding it hard to deal with history, civics and geography. The federal education committee gives a national test every year to check their performance in different subjects nationwide.
This exam is called Nation’s Report Card and its purpose is not only to see how well pupils know their theory but also to have the results centralized and compared to results recorded in other years.
This year’s students had better results overall than the 1990’s generation, which was the first to take such exams, especially in civics and history. However, an improvement in the geography results was not seen since 1994.
According to a report issued by the National Assessment of Education Progress, about 75 percent of them were not able to obtain higher than average results in subjects like history, civics and geography.
The President of the National Council for the Social Studies, Michelle Herczog stated that “Tackling issues like terrorism, human rights, race relations and poverty requires a deep understanding of the historical and geographic context”.
Thus, these results are extremely alarming and they demand careful consideration as to what steps should be taken further. According to her, students should show that they understand the problems their country is dealing with. National values should have a crucial role in their education, so they should be fully aware of them.
They represent the nation’s future decision makers as American citizens and they should be able to create a coherent society that still embraces the principles that true democracy stands for. “How do we, as a nation, maintain our status in the world if future generations of Americans do not understand our nation’s history?,” Herczog rhetorically asked at seeing the students’ scores.
29,000 eight-grade students from both public and private schools took the test in one of the three subjects. Only 45 % of them managed to understand time differences having an atlas with time zones at their disposal. Just 18 % proved they have good knowledge of history-related topics, 23 % did well in civics and 27 % proved solid performance in geography.
Students scoring in the advanced level were very few – 1 % in history, 2% in civics and 3 % in geography. Most of the students did not manage to go beyond basic level. African-American and Hispanic students did not perform as well as white and Asian eight-graders. However, there was an improvement in Hispanic students’ performance in history and geography.
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