Thursday, November 15, 2007

What's Your Civics IQ?

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute did a survey of 14,000 college freshmen & seniors at 50 universities to test their knowledge of U.S. civics. The results were pretty dismal as the overall average score for seniors was a mere 54.2%. Even the elite schools in the sample had poor showings:
  • Harvard 69.56%
  • Yale 65.85%
  • Brown 65.64%
  • UVA 65.28%
  • Penn 63.49%
  • Duke 63.41%
  • Princeton 61.9%
  • Cornell 56.95%
  • UC Berkeley 56.27%
I took the test and scored 86.67%. One of them was a boneheaded mistake (I read too quickly and mistook Andrew Johnson for Andrew Jackson). Most of the rest I missed were economics questions, a subject I never formally studied. I had narrowed down the choices to 2 and simply guessed wrong.

I find it very depressing that students who are supposed to be among the best and brightest in our country show such a dreadful lack of civic literacy. While a few of the questions struck me as a bit on the overly nit-picky side(when does Marbury vs. Madison come up aside from "Jeopardy" or the AP U.S. History exam?), the majority were things I would consider to demonstrate a basic understanding of our country's history and government.

(HT: Henry at "Why Homeschool")


Henry Cate said...

It is funny. I also missed the one about Andrew Johnson because I thought the question was about Andrew Jackson.

Sassy Lucy said...

Amazing how these students get through the school system isn't it?

Melanie B said...

I got the same score. And missed the same Johnson question. Likewise on narrowing it down to two choices and guessing. I think for all the questions I got wrong I'd had to pick between the correct answer and the one I gave.

I'd guess I got the Marbury vs Madison question primarily because of my AP history class, thereby proving your point.