You’ve lived in America all of your life or your parents became citizens, so you are a citizen. And that’s all you ever need to know about the U.S. Citizenship Test, right? Not exactly, especially if you have not yet graduated from high school or obtained a GED. You may actually need to start studying!
The U.S. Citizenship Test has long been a requirement for anyone who wants to become a United States citizen. For immigrants, the test has four parts: an interview, a reading test, a writing test, and a history and civics test. Well, now some states are considering making the history and civics exam a part of high school graduation and GED requirements.
It’s all part of a push to require graduating high school students to have more American history and civics knowledge. Requiring the test is just a portion of this effort, which also includes plans for more rigorous high school studies in history and civics.
To attain citizenship, prospective candidates must answer 6 out of 10 questions about American history and civics correctly. The questions come from an official list of 100 questions that is readily available for prior study. States are using questions from this list and other similarly leveled questions to design their own tests.
In January 2015, Arizona became the first state to enact a law requiring such a test for graduation. There, students must now score 60% or above on a test containing the same 100 questions that are on the official citizenship test. The test may be taken at any time during the student’s high school career. According to News and World Report, 15 other states are currently considering passing similar legislation and the numbers are expected to rise.
Experts seem to agree that simply requiring memorization of facts is not the whole remedy for public’s current lack of social sciences knowledge. With the push toward the development of critical thinking skills among today’s students, this type of test would seem to be of little significance. Many educators and governmental officials feel, however, that requiring a test is a good first step. There are also initiatives to increase the level and depth of history and civics instruction in schools. These improvements would supply the reasoning aspect of history and civics education.
So, if you think being born in this country means you won’t ever have to take a citizenship exam, think again. Your state may soon require a passing score in order to graduate from high school.