Thursday, September 20, 2007

Civic education: are college students learning?

Thanks to Bob Norman of Daily Pulp for posting about this Civics Quiz from the National Civic Literacy Board, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute: "Failing Our Students, Failing America: Holding Colleges Accountable for Teaching America’s History and Institutions".
They gave it to 14,000 students at 50 colleges and universities. The bad news about this quiz:
The overall average score for the approximately 7,000 seniors who took the American civic literacy exam was 54.2%, an “F.”
...Harvard seniors scored highest, but their overall average was 69.6%, a “D+.”

I missed 10 questions, for a score of 83.33 %. Not great. Most of the questions I missed were philosophic and economic. I majored in political science, so certainly should have done better. But that was years ago. Shouldn't college seniors, who have this knowledge fresh, beaten this? I'm pretty sure I would have aced this in 1967.*

Try it. See how you do. Daily Pulp commenters had varied results. How about news researchers?

*...and I didn't go to a big-time school like Harvard. In fact, my college, Marymount at Tarrytown, has died. Fordham took it over a few years back and is now selling the campus. I've been trying to keep at least some presence going on the Web by updating the Wikipedia entry.


  • I also got an 83.33%, and I don't have a degree. I suspect we missed the same questions or had a lot of overlap, as most of mine also involved philosophy and economics.

    By Blogger C.L. Jahn, at 12:07 PM  

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