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American Civics Test

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  • American Civics Test

    I have a particular bone to pick with our failing public schools. Every day I'm amazed (even here) at how our younger Americans lack a simple education in American history. Take a look and try it out. Let us know how you did, or don't.

    EDIT: The original test which the Washington Times butchered at the link below can be found here in a much more friendly format.

    Washington Times Article --College freshmen earned an average grade of F, or just 53.7 percent, when asked a series of questions about U.S. presidents and key historical events from their times in office. At schools such as Cornell, Duke, Yale and Princeton, all ranked in the magazine's top 12, seniors actually did worse than freshman.

    And the test. (you have to score it yourself and the formating is a bit off, but if you can't figure that out you'll definitely fail the test ;)
    Last edited by USN_Squid; 08-01-2008, 06:21 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: American Civics Test

    does stopping after the first question say anything about my add?
    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
    The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

    If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

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    • #3
      Re: American Civics Test

      Whoever formatted that test gets an F-
      A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

      "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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      • #4
        Re: American Civics Test

        I am pretty sure I would fail that test. Most the questions are of the trivia type. Take woman's suffrage. Does it matter if it was 1920 or 1926? I think the important thing is to know is that it didn't happen until the early twentieth century and it took an amendment to the constitution to get it. It is also important to know that it happened in other countries before it happened in America.

        One of the main reasons I disliked history is because it almost always focuses on the trivia aspects of it. Specific date and geographical locations are very important to some teachers while the historical significance is not discussed at all.
        Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
        - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
        - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
        - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
        - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
        - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
        - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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        • #5
          Re: American Civics Test

          42. I am the answer to ...

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          • #6
            Re: American Civics Test

            Apart from the aforementioned trivia questions with useless dates, I found it pretty easy.


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            • #7
              Re: American Civics Test

              At least they get some education in American history. Philosophy is not even part of our primary or secondary curriculum.

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              • #8
                Re: American Civics Test

                I got 7 out of 8 and then got bored by the terrible formatting. Seriously, that's pathetic.

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                • #9
                  Re: American Civics Test

                  Not to get the thread off track, but I'm not sure what you mean by that. Painting is an art. Music is an art. Poetry is an art. But philosophy is not like any of those. Philosophy is a science--a non-empirical science for sure--but a science nonetheless. The primary goals are the same: to gain knowledge of reality. Art typically does not have that goal.

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                  • #10
                    Re: American Civics Test

                    Edit: (see below) In that case I shall retract my post responding to your post responding to the other post which isn't here because it was retracted.

                    Confusing enough? :p

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                    • #11
                      Re: American Civics Test

                      Um. I was responding to a post from Manga. Apparently he deleted it while I was posting my response.

                      Edit: I'm so confused.

                      Anyhoo. Although the test is terribly formatted. The conclusion doesn't contradict my experience with college students at a well regarded private university. Students in my class know very little about American--or any other nation's--history. I generally try to place our discussions within a context I thought they might know about--basic American history or current events--and they fail pretty miserably.

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                      • #12
                        Re: American Civics Test

                        Yeah, I realised it wasn't saying what I wanted to say I couldn't think of a way to say what I wanted to say that wouldn't say something else, too.

                        So I'll try with a paragraph. Philosophy isn't a science. You can't measure morality in a laboratory. History is matter-of-fact, there is no mechanism behind history per-se, just a line of deterministically-connected events. Philosophy is an art of thinking. It can be scientifically focused, when Decartes is melting wax, or socially focused, when founding fathers are drafting constitutions, but this isn't really teachable so much as trainable. Some people are good thinkers and enjoy speculating, others are not or do not. The history of philosophers and their conclusions and the ramifications of their writings can be taught, but that's history. A process for analyzing philosophical commentary can be trained, but you can't get great minds with an hour-a-day for four months in high school. But you can get a meeger level of mathematical competency or ability to read a book and relate in writing what it was about, so that's what public schooling focuses on.

                        But no, I disagree on your statement that philosophy is a science. Now, the psychology of philosophers... that I believe warrants investigation. :D

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                        • #13
                          Re: American Civics Test

                          History is not matter-of-fact, it's matter-of-perception. Establishing what happened at a certain point in time, using the surviving fragmentary records viewed through the tinted lens of modern biases produces the most extraordinarily diverse range of "facts".

                          Anyway. Yes, awfully formatted test.
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                          • #14
                            Re: American Civics Test

                            Yes, awfully formatted test. I gave up after about 20 "pages".

                            Very little of the test was memory recall of historical dates. It's worth read at least.

                            A fitting example:

                            29. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas would concur that:

                            a) all moral and political truth is relative to one's time and place.

                            b) moral ideas are best explained as material accidents or byproducts of evolution.

                            c) values originating in one's conscience cannot be judged by others.

                            d) Christianity is the only true religion and should rule the state.

                            e) certain permanent moral and political truths are accessible to human reason.
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                            • #15
                              Re: American Civics Test

                              Aha! I found the orginal test in a much easier format.

                              "You answered 48 out of 60 correctly — 80.00 %" Hmm, better than freshman but not very good imo.
                              Last edited by USN_Squid; 08-01-2008, 05:55 PM.
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