Yesterday, Governor Jay Nixon approved the Civics Education Bill, which will require high school students to take and pass a 100-question American civics test similar to the civics portion of the U.S. Naturalization test. hb 1646

A recent study, performed on high school students in Oklahoma, randomly selected 10 questions from the U.S. Naturalization Test for students to answer.

Immigrants entering the United States applying for citizenship are required to take and pass the 100-question civics portion of the Naturalization test, with recent statistics showing 92 percent pass on the first try.

Only 2.8 percent of the teens in Oklahoma passed the 10-question exam, revealing that only 23 percent of students knew that the first President of the United States was George Washington.

Here are the questions and the percentage of correct answers :

 

  • What is the supreme law of the land? 28%
  • What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26%
  • What are the two parts of the US Congress? 27%
  • How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10%
  • Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14%
  • What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61%
  • What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43%
  • We elect a US senator for how many years? 11%
  • Who was the first President of the United States? 23%
  • Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29%

 

Representative Denny Hoskins, Speaker Pro Tem of the Missouri House of Representatives spoke on the recent approval of the Civics Education Bill.

“It’s a key first step to creating an engaged and active citizenry who will vote and take active roles in the political process,” he said.

“Studies show too few citizens understand basic American civics and who we are as a nation,” said former Governor Bob Holden.  “When citizens don’t understand how our government works, they’re not likely to vote or take part in policy decisions facing our state and nation – a critical problem that must be addressed with a sense of urgency.”

The Missouri Civics Education Initiative will promote an active and engaged citizenry by requiring all Missouri high school students and those seeking general educational development (GED) equivalency pass the 100-question civics test administered by USCIS.  The state legislation will allow students to take the test any time during their high school career, and to take the test as many times as necessary to pass.

By using the well-established USCIS test, there will be no need or expense to create a new test or study materials, as these materials are already available online and for free.  The legislation will allow individual schools to administer the test in a way the school as deems adequate to meet the requirements.

“The Civics Education Initiative is a fundamental first step toward ensuring all Missouri students understand the basic foundations of our government,” Dan Mehan, with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “Its simple in concept and it ensures that our high school graduates have the basic knowledge necessary for active, engaged citizenship.”

As pointed out by the Council,

“Of course, immigrants have had an opportunity to study for the test – a distinct advantage – so we might not necessarily expect a 92 percent passing rate from Oklahoma’s public high-school students. On the other hand, most high-school students have the advantage of having lived in the United States their entire lives. Moreover, they have benefited from tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars being spent for their educations. Many immigrants seeking citizenship, meanwhile, often arrive penniless and must educate themselves on America’s history and government. After seeing the questions for yourself, you the reader can judge whether a 92 percent passing rate is a reasonable expectation for Oklahoma’s high-school students. Unfortunately, Oklahoma high-school students scored alarmingly low on the test, passing at a rate of only 2.8 percent. That is not a misprint.”

These statistics are not only found in Oklahoma. The same survey was recently performed in Arizona, with only 3.5 percent of Arizona’s high-school students passing the test.

Read the perfected summary of the bill here.

Read the full 100-question Naturalization test here.