Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., last week reintroduced legislation to increase the testing of American students’ knowledge of U.S. history and government, to be conducted as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Sen. Alexander called students’ lack of knowledge in those areas “disgraceful,” in introducing the bill, which would create a pilot program in 10 states to test 8th and 12th graders in U.S. history and civics. The legislation was offered in similar form last year but failed to advance. History and civics are periodically tested on NAEP now, but only as part of a more limited, nationwide sample of students in 4th, 8th, and 12th grades. Under the bill, the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP, would determine 10 states that would participate in the pilot program.