Arizona Passes HS Civics Test

Arizona has recently required that their high school seniors take a civics test, which will decide whether or not they can graduate.

Joseph Rivas, Columnist

Arizona will become the first and only state to require all high school students to take a civics test in order to graduate. Arizona legislature passed a bill that requires high school students to correctly answer 60% of the questions on the civics portion of the test taken by immigrants who want to gain U.S. citizenship beginning in 2017.

The entire process from proposal to its passing took place in a matter of hours, which lead to an enormous amount of public criticism and questioning by those who either feel a high school civics test is unnecessary or are upset at the hastiness with which the bill was passed.

The test is often criticized for the tentative nature of the questions asked, and many claim that some questions are too simple or unrelentingly convoluted. Another critique is that the test favors those who have existing knowledge on the subjects the questions are about. The fact is that a considerable amount of preparation would be needed to fairly assess students. That seems inconsiderate, and even then many don’t see how it’s beneficial or how it accurately represents the knowledge of students in general.

Frank Riggs, CEO of the Joe Foss Institute, hopes to bring this requirement to all 50 states by 2017. So far Arizona is the first state, but legislation is pending in North Dakota. Riggs says that the testing is “to ensure the delivery the very basics civics education that every high school student should have.” The intended goal of making high school civics tests a requirement for graduation is to make more informed, involved citizens out of students, but whether it does just that is yet to be seen.