New Kentucky Civics Test


Caleb Buford, Messenger Reporter & Business Manager

On September 26th, 2017, the Kentucky Department of Education announced that the State of Kentucky passed Senate Bill 159 that states beginning in 2018, students of Kentucky high schools will be required to pass a civics test as a part to receiving their high school diploma. The test would be made by each high school’s local school board but must be created using the 100 questions found on the United States Citizenship test. There is no set standard or format to the test, all test planning and score recording is up to the local school boards. This new test affects students aiming to attain a high school diploma, making it very crucial for students to understand the purpose of the test and what to expect.
The United States Citizenship test is the test that all immigrants applying for citizenship are required to take. The test questions your knowledge of government, economics, geography, history, and legislation. Some question examples include “What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?” and “What is one responsibility that only applies to United States citizens?” There is plenty of support behind this legislation, and with support comes advocacy.
One of the biggest advocacy programs for this movement would be the Civics Education Initiative. Their catchphrase, “100 Facts Every High School Student Should Know,” refers to the 100 questions on the United States Citizenship test, content they believe needs to be taught to future generations. “Unfortunately today, too few students are learning basic civics,” stated Joe Mantegna, an award-winning actor on “Criminal Minds” and an advisor on the Civics Education Initiative’s National Board of Advisors. “In Arizona and Oklahoma studies, for example, the vast majority of high school students failed the same basic civics test that 91% of those applying for U.S. citizenship passed. That’s why we need to pass the Civics Education Initiative in all 50 states.”
Now that the Civics Education Initiative has passed in Kentucky, it affects all students starting with the graduating Class of 2019. Congratulations, Class of 2018, no extra tests for you! We talked to Mr. Nathanael Bazzell, a history teacher at McCracken County High School (MCHS), about the test. The testing date is up to the teacher, as some teachers have already administered the test and have had passing grades. If students don’t pass the first time, they are given as many chances as they need in order to pass the exam.
Testing for those of you have a half-year class has either already occurred or is right around the corner. If you still haven’t taken the test or need to retake it, consider studying before the day of the test to increase the chance of passing on the first time. You can find a list of all of the questions, flashcards, audio recordings, and online practice tests on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s website. Click here to access the study materials.