iCivics Calls for Greater Investment in Civic Education Following Release of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on Civics

May 03, 2023

As “The Nation’s Report Card” shows that only 22 percent of eighth graders in the United States were deemed proficient or better in civics, iCivics calls for greater prioritization of civic education to sustain and strengthen our nation’s constitutional democracy.

CAMBRIDGE, MA. [May 3, 2023] – Following this morning’s release of results from the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in civics for 8th graders once again showing a lack of proficiency, the country’s leading civic education nonprofit, iCivics, is calling for greater investment in civic education. 

Commonly known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” the results of the latest NAEP Civics indicate that only 22 percent of 8th graders are proficient in civics. This is a slight decrease since the subject was last tested in 2018, when only 24 percent graded out as proficient, meaning students have knowledge of the subject and know how to apply it. 

In addition, the 2022 NAEP Civics shows that dedicated resources for teaching civics results in better student performance, but that those resources are sorely lacking:

  • Eighth graders who learned about civics in a designated class outperformed those where it was embedded in another class (157 to 153 average scale score), with a wider gap for those with no civics instruction (143).
  • Only 49 percent of students who took the NAEP said that they had a class that is mainly focused on civics or U.S. Government, and only 29 percent said they had a teacher whose primary responsibility is teaching civics.

“Today’s results are indeed a report card for our nation, reflecting a failure to prioritize and invest in civic education—the knowledge and skills fundamental to the responsibilities of citizenship in our self-governing society,” said iCivics Executive Director Louise Dubé. “If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is the importance of preparing our kids to be informed and engaged participants in our 21st-century democracy. It is time that our policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels pass legislation to ensure schools are supported to provide high-quality civic education for each and every student in the United States.”

Polling by Cygnal of more than 3,000 voters conducted just before the 2022 midterm elections shows that nearly 80 percent—Republicans and Democrats alike—believe that civic education is more important now than it was just five years ago, and 65 percent said they would support more funding of civics.