". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Civics/History Quiz

Feeling brave? Ready to test your knowledge of American history and government? If so, take this 60-question quiz from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The quiz is the same one given in the fall of 2005 to approximately 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 American colleges and universities (aside to my Lutheran friends--one of the schools tested was Concordia University-Nebraska). The results were profoundly disappointing, with seniors averaging 53.2% overall (54.2% when the same test was given the following year). Last time I checked, those are both failing grades.

Here is some background on the study, and here are the major findings, including the rankings of the 50 institutions where the test was given. The test was administered to both freshmen and seniors in order to study the effect of the four years of intervening instruction at the institution in question (across the board, that effect was decidedly disappointing). Be sure to click on the tabs at the top of the page to see all the findings, the third of which shows that CU-Nebraska is doing the best job among those schools surveyed of improving students' knowledge between their freshman and senior years.

By the way, my score was 54/60 (90%), and I am hardly a history or political science buff (just ask my husband, who is one). So that gives you an idea of the level of difficulty of the test as well as the magnitude by which this country is failing to properly educate its youngest citizens.

Hmmm, would those be the same young citizens who are currently lining up in droves to vote for Barack Obama? No wonder he is so successfully selling rhetoric without substance.

(HT: The Renaissance Biologist)


Hannah J said...

Thanks for the HT!

Barbara Frank said...

Well, I'd say you did pretty well! I just took it and scored a disappointing 75%. My excuses are, it's the end of the day and I was a journalism major, lol.

BTW, I see you've already discovered that the junior senator from Illinois is an empty suit. Welcome to Illinois.

Glenda said...

Thanks Cheryl, once again I must admit what a dummy I am in your presence, I scored like the tested kids, a measly 54%. Between that and grammar, I suppose I should start considering "professionals" to educate my children. :~(

Cheryl said...

Oh Glenda, please don't give me too much credit. I took my share of "educated" guesses. And I think I did as well as I did because as a family we have been studying American history the past few years. I daresay with the age of your children you haven't been reading Hakim's History of US lately (as we have). But in my opinion the average high school senior, who should have several years of American history and political science as part of his recent past, should do better on a test like this than you as a mom homeschooling young children. And certainly the average college graduate should do at least a little better on such a test than the average college freshman!

Don't sell yourself short, and please don't peg me as being some sort of smartie. There are all kinds of areas of knowledge in which you would just blow me out of the water! And my memory is so very short--a couple of years in the past or future and I doubt I would have done nearly so well. But that's my point--if they were being educated properly, I think the college kids taking this test should be doing a lot better than 50%.

Glenda said...

Yeah, I know Cheryl, we are just now working in the 1600's with the Pilgrims, etc. I sang the VP song, "#7 1607 Jamestown was founded in Virginia" in order to answer the one. :-) We are beginning our way through Hakim, but slowly.

The bad thing is that I wanted to be a History teacher and majored in that in college. Shoot the only good that did is that it makes people think I'm smart enough to homeschool my chitlins and they're too afraid to talk about history in front of me; therefore, my ignorance of the subject stays somewhat hidden. :-)

I do hope that all my children fair better with retaining and regurgitating knowledge than I am. I've realized that is my weakness. I love learning and reading, but to be able to reiterate what I read eloquently, or even not so, is a huge whole in my education. I guess that is one reason why I really like the notebooking I make my kids do after science and history reading and even some general book reports. I'm hoping to train their little brains into storing and retrieving information better than mine.

Thanks for the confidence which I still am not so sure I deserve. :-)

elephantschild said...

I got 68 percent.

Considering how incredibly terrible my American History education has been and my utter lack of interest in it for most of my life, I'm actually surprised I did that well.

I did A LOT of guessing. And thank goodness for all the economics questions on there. I had a great high school Econ teacher!

Cheryl said...

Well, there you go, EC--you and I should have taken the test as a team, because most of the questions I missed were about economics! (I can stretch a dime pretty well, but I am clueless about the big picture.)