How good is your civics knowledge?

Nov 24 2008 Published by under [Politics]

Via Daily Kos, I learned that there was a U.S. government civics test given to elected officials by the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.  The results were pretty embarrassing:

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

It's easy to laugh at such results, but how did I fare?  I took the test, and scored 90.9% (30 out of 33 correct).  To be fair, some of the questions seemed more historical than really 'need-to-know' civics (like a question concerning FDR's battles with the courts over the New Deal).  But there's really no excuse for getting less than 50% on a test like this.

How do you, the reader, compare?  Take the test here.  Feel free to post your scores in the comments -- if you dare!

10 responses so far

  • Blaise Pascal says:

    Modulo one clicko, 100%.

  • Blaise: Nicely done! You've earned the right to speak condescendingly to me about civics for the near future. 🙂

  • Tobias says:

    I got something like 75%, and I'm Dutch!

  • Mary says:

    96.7% -- I thought "Of the people, by the people, and for the people" was in the Declaration of Independence.

    This made me remember my high school and junior high American History teachers very fondly, actually. My high school Am Hist teacher once gave a test on which I got a negative score. This was possible because there were twenty questions on the test, and he made each worth ten points -- out of a hundred. He let the negative score stand, too. I should've done the reading that week...

  • Tobias: You definitely get extra credit. I lived in Amsterdam for 2 years, and I guarantee I couldn't get near 75% on a Dutch civics test!

    Mary: Geez, is everybody better at civics than me? 🙂

    I had really good history teachers as well, both in HS and in college. My HS American History teacher was well-reputed to be a little nuts (actually, like most of my favorite teachers). I had a college history teacher who was reputed to never give an 'A' to anyone who wasn't majoring in his field. I got a B- my first semester of the class (lowest grade in college) and I was grateful for it!

  • Frank Abbing says:

    I am Dutch too, but I only got 66.67%

  • MercuryBlue says:

    30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %

    I thought the question of whether slavery would be allowed to expand to new territories was settled in 1850 and thus not up for debate in 1858. Isn't low taxes and high spending what got us into this recession? Why would the government use the same strategy to get us out? And apparently I misunderstood 'tax per person' as 'what each person pays' rather than 'tax revenue per capita', and the first one obviously wouldn't equal government spending per capita under any circumstances.

  • IronMonkey says:

    I got 78.8% woohoo! Most Canadians (like me) have a basic knowledge about US politics and economic system. Not only is the US our neighbor but also our most important trade partner, so it is vital in a way for us... but I would doubt the reverse is true 🙂

  • I got the same score as you, Dr. SkullStars! I deliberately answered one question wrong (the Lincoln-Douglass debate question), because I learned the answer here from MercuryBlue before taking the test.

    What I want to know, though, is why the general population scores 49%, but actual elected officials only score 44%? If we're so smart, why do we keep electing stupid people?

  • Tom says:

    30/33; I misread one question that led to none of the answers making sense.