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Purdue civics literacy pilot test shows 'good not great' results

The exam could be a requirement before graduation.

Posted: Oct 18, 2019 7:18 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue freshmen are better than the average student when it comes to knowing facts about the United States. The results are from a pilot test of Purdue President Mitch Daniels' civics literacy exam.

A 28-question test was given to a group of Purdue freshmen during orientation this year. It's in response to what Daniels called a "disheartening national phenomenon" about college students not knowing basic citizenship facts.

The results showed about 77-percent of the students earned a passing grade. That's compared to 36-percent of the general population, and 53-percent of college-educated Indiana residents.

Purdue said the results showed good, but not great civic literacy.

"I wasn't surprised, I wasn't particularly pleased," said Daniels. "I wasn't surprised that incoming Purdue students did a little better than people at large, or college students at large. I'm glad that the senate committee undertook the project. I think it proves we need to do something."

The test would be short and similar to the United States Naturalization Exam. Students would know about the requirement when they begin at Purdue and would have their entire career to finish it.

"We can make a contribution to the lives of these young people and to the reputation of our university if we can certify that each of our graduates pass a test that out there, half of their peers or more can't pass," said Daniels.

The test could include questions like:

-What is a right guaranteed in the First Amendment? (Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly)

-What are the first three words of the constitution? (We the People...)

-What year was the Declaration of Independence adopted? (1776)

If you would like to take a similar exam to see how you do, click here.

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