Monday, November 03, 2008

civic literacy

On MPR's Midmorning today they discussed the role of civic literacy in voting. Should it be a prerequisite that those who vote demonstrate a certain level of civic literacy? What do you think?

Here is a civic literacy test given to college Seniors around the country. Take the quiz and find out how civically literate you are. I was disappointed with my score until I saw that I did o.k. compared to the average college senior at Harvard.


Gabriela said...

I only scored well enough to go to Wheaton. :(

History is not my thing (I only got a 2 on my AP history test forcing me to take that one class-what was it? I can't remember the name.)

Now if you had a test on biology, I would probably fare quite a bit better.

athena said...

i scored very well. i can't believe i got the last one wrong though. i chose military and yet the answer was social security.

Karen ~ said...

I am between a Harvard freshman and a Harvard senior. As I was taking the quiz, I thought what nerds we all are to take the time to answer these questions and ENJOY doing it!

It was very interesting looking at the different college scores around the country.

I got the last one wrong, too - I put interest on the deficit!

Calandria said...

Gabriela, I squeeked by on my AP History test so I didn't have to take American Heritage. But so many people seemed to love that class, I almost took it anyway. :-) I stupidly took Bio 130 instead of 100 because I thought I was smart. Bad idea.

Athena, I expected you to ace this one. What's up with missing the last one?! You're slacking on me, Girl.

Karen, that's what I put on the last one. :-P

Anonymous said...

I did poorly, but I also lost interest and guessed at the last 15 or so questions. I got 62%.

Karen ~ said...

LOL Ave - I felt the same way! About question 34 was when I started thinking "Why am I doing this?!?"

athena said...

if it was a math quizz i wouldn't even bother looking at it. i always did so poorly on math tests. and science---except for when we studied the human reproductive system in biology. LOL.

ML said...

Well, I guess there's just not a college good enough to hold my vast array of trivial knowledge! But then Jim H. has always known that (I wish he would take the test:).

Mama Ava said...

I got 75% so I guess I did OK. I missed questions on economics a lot but clearly my liberal arts education came into play with the Plato, Socrates, Locke, etc. stuff.

I don't think a test like this is necessary for voting. For one thing, these kinds of details really aren't necessary to being able to make informed decisions about voting. Some of them are fairly trivial. I suspect immigrants who did not grow up in the US would have a hard time with this. If you contrast this kind of quiz with the citizenship test, which asks more functional questions about how our government operates and the roles of the different branches, etc. it is much more useful in terms of knowing how our government operates. IMHO.

Calandria said...

That's what I was thinking about this particular test--I don't see that knowing this particular information would be vital to making an informed vote.

I don't know--I think many educated immigrants may score better on this test than educated Americans. Athena, for example. I scored 70%, but I suspect Jorge would score higher. When he gets back from his trip I'll make him take it.

athena said...

i scored 90%. 54 from 60. pretty good for someone who didn't finish highschool. i suspect my husband could answer 100% but unlike myself he could go into detail on each of the issues. i used the process of elimination for many of the questions and i could tell you that while i answered right (for something like the monroe doctrine, the reconstruction, and junga) i would not be able to clarify further. it's from random reading of different sources that i knew about junga and jfk's blockade. i do think though that it is important for citizens to be literate in civics.

i don't see that knowing the information in the test to be vital in making an informed vote too but if a person did know anything about the making of the United States and the history leading up to many of the decisions that the founding fathers fought for i seriously think that that person would be able to breeze through many of the questions.