Take the History Test

Published July 1, 2002

These are sample questions from the 2001 National Assessment of Educational Progress.(click here answers)

Fourth Grade

4.1 The poster shown here [Uncle Sam “I Want You for the U.S. Army”] is trying to attract recruits by appealing to their:
(a) Homesickness
(b) Religious beliefs
(c) Patriotism
(d) Need for money
45 percent answered correctly

4.2 What are the people in the picture [Boston Tea Party] protesting against?
(a) French fur trade with American Indians
(b) Colonial treatment of American Indians
(c) British control of colonial shipping companies
(d) British taxation of the colonists
21 percent answered correctly

4.3 “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The passage comes from the:
(a) Constitution
(b) Mayflower Compact
(c) Declaration of Independence
(d) Articles of Confederation
46 percent answered correctly

4.4 Which of these was one of the 13 colonies that fought the American Revolution?
(a) Illinois
(b) California
(c) New York
(d) Texas
32 percent answered correctly

4.5 What was the purpose of the Underground Railroad?
(a) To improve transportation in the South
(b) To move food to the North
(c) To help slaves escape to the North
(d) To get workers to the silver mines in Colorado
51 percent answered correctly

4.6 What was a major cause of the Civil War?
(a) People in the North and in the South had different religions
(b) People in the North and in the South disagreed over slavery
(c) People in the North wanted control of the country when they found out that gold had been discovered in the South
(d) People in the South wanted control of the country when they found out that oil had been discovered in the North
57 percent answered correctly

Eighth Grade

8.1 Why was Roger Williams forced to leave the Massachusetts Bay Colony?
(a) He claimed that the Puritan government had no right to control religious beliefs
(b) He was more loyal to the King of Spain than to the English monarchy
(c) He refused to do his share of the farming and other work
(d) He wanted to lead a war against the American Indians
52 percent answered correctly

8.2 During the Revolutionary War, one outcome of the colonial victory at the Battle of Saratoga that helped ensure the final defeat of the British was the
(a) entrance of France on the American side
(b) recapture of New York City from the British
(c) mutiny of the British forces under Gen. Howe
(d) defeat of British forces at Valley Forge, Pa
41 percent answered correctly

8.3 The phrase “Jim Crow” refers to laws that:
(a) Made liquor illegal
(b) Enforced racial segregation
(c) Restricted immigration to the United States
(d) Protected the environment
35 percent answered correctly

8.4 Why was the invention of the steel plow important in United States history?
30 percent gave “appropriate” responses

Twelfth Grade

12.1 What was an important difference between the English colonies in the Americas and those controlled by France, Portugal, and Spain?
(a) English colonies had more slaves
(b) English colonists were allowed to form a type of self-government, and other colonists were not
(c) Fewer people settled in the English colonies
(d) Fewer people seeking religious freedom settled in the English colonies
64 percent answered correctly

12.2 The Monroe Doctrine was intended to
(a) promote U.S. trade with China
(b) help keep the peace in Europe
(c) discourage European involvement in the Americas
(d) protect United States business in Japan and Korea
41 percent answered correctly

12.3 What was one consequence of Nat Turner’s rebellion?
(a) Large numbers of slaves fled to the North
(b) Slave revolts broke out throughout the South
(c) Conditions for slaves on many southern plantations improved
(d) Southern states passed laws designed to tightly control slaves
34 percent answered correctly

12.4 The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964) was significant because it
(a) ended the war in Korea
(b) gave President Johnson the authority to expand the scope of the Vietnam War
(c) was an attempt to take foreign-policy power away from the president
(d) allowed China to become a member of the United Nations
29 percent answered correctly

12.5 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact are best described as two:
(a) Organizations founded by the European Economic Community to promote trade between Europe and the United States
(b) Treaties negotiated between the allies and the Central Powers at Versailles after the First World War
(c) Bodies established by the United Nations to promote peace within multiethnic European countries such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia
(d) Military organizations made up, respectively, of the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies during the Cold War
30 percent answered correctly

12.6 Article I, Section 2, United States Constitution: “(The population of the states) shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons … three-fifths of all other persons.”
(a) An important debate led to the writing of this section of the Constitution. Identify the issue being debated.
(b) Describe the Northern position in this debate and explain why many Northerners took it.
21 percent gave “essential” responses

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

For more information …

More information on test questions and test results is available from the U.S. Department of Education at the Web site of the National Center for Education Statistics, at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.