NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Should High School Students Have to Pass a Citizenship Test to Graduate?

December 4, 2014

The North Dakota legislature is considering a proposal to require all high school students to pass a citizenship test in order to graduate. Christine Rousselle at Townhall reports that the bill would require students to receive a passing grade on a 100-question citizenship test. To become American citizens, immigrants are required to correctly answer six of 10 questions, out of 100 possible questions.

What's on a citizenship test? Questions about American history, government structure and current events. For example, immigrants seeking to become naturalized American citizens might be asked:

  • The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
  • What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
  • Who is one of your state\'s U.S. Senators now?
  • Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
  • Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
  • Who was President during World War I?
  • Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

According to Xavier University's National Civil Literacy Survey, 97.5 percent of immigrants pass the citizenship test, while just two of every three native-born American citizens would able to pass. And were a passing grade to require seven correct answers instead of six, the Xavier survey reports that half of America's citizens would fail the test.

Source: Christine Rousselle, "Proposed Bill Would Mandate North Dakota High School Seniors Pass Citizenship Test to Graduate,", December 3, 2014. 


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