NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Want to Graduate High School? Pass a Citizenship Test

January 19, 2015

Starting in the 2016 school year, high school seniors in Arizona will have to prove their knowledge of American history and government before they can graduate. Last week, the state passed a law requiring students to pass the U.S. citizenship test in order to graduate.

The test is the same one given to immigrants aspiring to become American citizens. The Associated Press reports that students must answer just 60 out of 100 questions correctly in order to pass.

While the state is the first to pass such a law, it is not the only one focused on requiring students to have some basic knowledge of civics in order to graduate. According to the Joe Foss Institute, which is advocating for similar laws in all 50 states, at least 15 state legislatures are considering requiring students to pass the citizenship test.

What's on the test?  Typical questions include:

  • What did the Declaration of Independence Do?
  • Name one branch of the government.
  • Who vetoes bills?
  • There were 13 original states. Name three.

You can view the questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Source: Bob Christie, "Arizona passes law requiring students to pass civics test," Associated Press, January 16, 2015. 


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