Students will take state civics test starting 2016-2017 school year

By Garrison Murphy ’15

In January Arizona became the first state to implement legislation requiring high school students to take a civics test that covers topics dubbed by lawmakers as essential information about the political system and American history.

The initiative will affect private school students starting with the class of 2017, according to Mr. Sam Stone, a representative from the Joe Foss institute that created the Civics Test initiative later put into law by Gov. Doug Ducey.
“People just don’t know their stuff … the stuff on this test is material that every American should know,” Mr. Stone said in an interview with The Roundup. “There are other states doing this as well.”
The civics test is the same test that immigrants take when trying for citizenship and may be adapted in different formats according to school district. Those getting the GED will also need to pass this test.
Students will be able to take the test as many times as needed during their high school career, and for that reason Mr. Stone said he expects the pass rate to be 100 percent.
“If we’ve lived in this country as citizens it shouldn’t be that hard, but I don’t think it should decide if we should graduate,” said Noah Williams ’17 who will be one of the first students to take the test. Legislative measures to require a civics test have sprung up in other states such as North Dakota and Alabama, according to Mr. Stone.
Although the civics test has gained popularity in recent months, some oppose the test stating it is another federal overreach of the education system.
“I think the schools can do a better job validating whether or not the students have passed a civics course – we  don’t make every student take the exact same math test,” said Mr. Chris Stevens 87. “I think it’s more probably a waste of some taxpayer money trying to come up with a common assessment, whereas I think they should let the different districts and schools take care of it.”