Teens' Civic Knowledge

March 1978
Education Digest;Mar1978, Vol. 43 Issue 7, p66
The article presents information about "Changes in Political Knowledge and Attitudes, 1969-76," a survey report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the U.S. The report, released last month, shows that teenagers in the country showed declines in their knowledge of the structure and function of government and in their willingness to participate in government, but had some success in recognizing and valuing constitutional rights. The NAEP first studied the knowledge and attitudes of 13- and 17-year-olds in 1969-70 and 1971-72. In its new study, it compared these responses with those of same-aged students in the 1975-76 school year. Scores among the 17-year-olds dropped from 64 percent right in the early 1970s to 54 percent right in 1976. Scores for the 13-year-olds dropped from 63 percent to 54 percent right for the same period. Knowledge about basic concepts, constitutional rights, and how the government works also declined. Neither race nor sex made a difference in the teenagers' knowledge, according to the survey.


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