Do we really need a test to measure civics knowledge?

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Randy Richardson reports on a proposed Republican solution in search of a problem for Iowa schools. -promoted by desmoinesdem According to a study by the Council of Great City Schools, a typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-kindergarten classes and 12th grade. At least a few of those tests are of dubious value. Now it appears as though one more test may be required in Iowa schools. GOP State Senator Jerry Behn from Boone introduced Senate File 2341, which would require Iowa students to take and pass a 100 question multiple choice civics test as a requirement for graduation. The idea for this test originated with the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute. The Institute believes there is a national crisis around civics education based on the fact that a recent National Assessment of Education Progress test showed that only 24 percent of American high school students were proficient in civics. There appears to be little evidence that this is a problem in Iowa. Most Iowa schools offer a civics class in middle school and American history and government in high school. Combine that with the fact that over 91 percent of Iowa students graduate from high school (the highest rate in the country) and it’s pretty obvious that large numbers of Iowa students are exposed to and complete classes in civics and American government. In fact, all 50 states require students to successfully complete some level of civics education. The bill requires schools to offer the proctored examination at least one time per calendar year for students in grades 7-12. The test questions come directly from the citizenship exam required of all new U.S. citizens. Iowa students must get 60 percent of the questions correct in order to be eligible to graduate from high school. Students can take

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