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  •  As early as 4th grade and continuing into the 8th and 12th grade, African American, Hispanic, and poor students perform significantly worse on the civics test of NAEP (2006). 
  • On the last nationwide civics assessment, administered in 2006, two-thirds of students scored below proficiency. Not even a third of eighth-graders surveyed could identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence. Less than a fifth of high school seniors could explain how citizen participation benefits democracy (Levison, 2007)
  • Equally troubling, we face a widening civic achievement gap. Hispanic and African-American students are twice as likely as their white counterparts to lack civic knowledge and skills, while low-income students score significantly lower than middle- and upper-income students (NAEP, 2006).  This gap will create further gaps and social issues when students are adults.  Voting, job opportunities, social climate may all be impacted
  • A study by Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh (2008) of over 2,000 California high school students finds that access to school-based opportunities to develop civic commitments and capacities are unevenly distributed: college-bound students have significantly more access to these opportunities than students not planning to attend college.
  • Students of color and students from low-education families were the least likely to report experiencing interactive classroom learning activities such as role-playing exercises, mock trials, visits from community members, or letter writing (from NAEP, see p 24)
  • All 50 states and the District of the Columbia (D.C.) have a requirement to teach material or offer at least one course in civics and/or government. However, most standards cover knowledge rather than dispositions or skills. As of June 2006, only 21 states have accountability measures, such as examinations for civics and/or social studies (CIRCLE, 2008).
Circle: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement http://www.civicyouth.org/
Center for Civic Education: Research and Evaluation  http://www.civiced.org/index.php?page=extensions