Civics Test for High School Graduates

It was a test – only a test, but a test that could have mattered. I’ve taught science for many years, perhaps to the detriment of my knowledge of social studies including geography, history, and you guessed it, civics. When we started a day of staff development and meeting with the New Required for Graduation Civics Test, I worried. What if I didn’t do well? What if my teacher self couldn’t handle a test we’ll administer to all high school freshmen starting this year?

I passed. Heck, I more than passed. Out of 100 multiple choice questions, I got 99 right. Maybe I haven’t taught a lot of United States history and government units, but I’m politically active and reasonably well informed. I read (and write for) The Broad Side. I contribute to, among others, Emily’s List.

I passed the test and discussed a few discrepancies with the teacher sitting next to me. We looked at the question asking us to identify the Speaker of the House, and asked “Isn’t the new guy (Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan) getting sworn in today?” The question asking the students to identify their Representative in Congress will need to be open ended; our virtual school students live all over the state of Wisconsin. We also identified a few poorly worded questions that, while far from being par for the course, really needed updating.

What did I get wrong? I thought I could avoid answering that. Deep sigh. Oh, all right. I did not identify James Madison as an author of The Federalist Papers, a collection of essays that supported the ratification of the Constitution.

Readers (and voters), could you pass a 100 question civics test? What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Civics Test for High School Graduates

  1. Not so sure I could. For one thing I learned in Civics (called Government when I took it) that in the House of Reps a representative could propose legislation. It would go to the respective committee for study and if it was passed there it would go to the floor for a vote. It doesn’t seem to work that way these days because the party in power wants to be sure if they support it they have the votes in their party. Everything is on party lines. Where is the voting by individual conscience and what’s good for the people you represent?

    Good for you getting 99%.

  2. I saw this test and I could totally ace it–but I teach a lot of it in English 12 now, thanks to common core. It’ll be interesting to see the first wave of results. This is the citizen test they give to people wanting to become full-fledged, did you know that?

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