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ERIC Number: ED561924
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
States Address Civics with Mandated Task Forces
Delander, Brady
Education Commission of the States
By coincidence or not, Massachusetts, Illinois and Virginia created civic education task forces not long after national test results showed a dismal understanding of the subject matter across all grade levels. Results of the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed just 25 percent of all testtakers in grades 4, 8 and 12 demonstrated a "proficient" grasp of civic knowledge. While fourth-graders posted their highest civics scores since 1998, scores for older students were flat or declining. Mandating the task forces via legislation underscores these states' increased attention to civic education. The declared goals are similar--to analyze the condition of civic knowledge in schools and make recommendations for improvement. What follows the recommendations is to be determined. Massachusetts, the first of the three states to enact the legislation, was also the first to present its findings; this brief will focus on the Commonwealth for that reason. Illinois will offer its results later this month and Virginia is in the beginning stages after being established this year. When the Massachusetts Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning released its reports, state Sen. Richard Moore said, "Civic education is a critical component for the survival of our precious democracy. The current status of civic knowledge does not suggest such a priority, however." [This report is one in a series of reports examining state initiatives related to civic education. For the other reports: "Florida and Tennessee: Accountability in Civic Education," see ED561922; "Florida and Illinois: Civics Initiatives, No Law Required," see ED561917; "Advancing Civic Learning with Administrative Authority," see ED561911; "Secretaries of State Make Impact, Lasting Impression in Civics," see ED561941; and "Different Paths to a Common Goal: Preparing Students for Civic Life," see ED561954.]
Education Commission of the States. ECS Distribution Center, 700 Broadway Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80203-3460. Tel: 303-299-3692; Fax: 303-296-8332; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 12; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States; National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE)
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; Illinois; Massachusetts; Oregon; Virginia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress