Senators Introduce Legislation to Bolster History Testing

In response to the release of the 2006 results for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for U.S. history and civics, Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have re-introduced legislation (S. 1414) to establish a new, 10-state pilot program under the NAEP to assess and improve the knowledge of American history and civics.

The Senators plan to consider the legislation as part of the upcoming reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee previously passed a similar bill in September 2006.

S. 1414, the American History and Civics Achievement Act, amends the National Assessment of Educational Progress Authorization Act to direct the Commissioner for Education Statistics to give a priority to conducting national NAEP assessments of student achievement in U.S. History at least once every 4 years in grades 4, 8, and 12. Currently the history assessment is usually given every five to seven years.

It also requires the Commissioner to conduct trial State NAEP assessments, in at least ten geographically diverse States, of student achievement in U.S. history in grades 8 and 12, and in Civics in grades 8 and 12.

The legislation authorizes $7 million for the fiscal years 2008 and 2009, to conduct the trial assessments.

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