Are Oklahoma students so ignorant of civics that they averaged 2.8 correct answers out of 10 questions taken from the citizenship exam passed on the first try by 92 percent of immigrants applying for naturalization. We’re talking about a test that asks: Who is George Washington?
An Oklahoma legislator repeated the Strategic Vision survey with high school seniors in his district, reports FiveThirtyEight. They aced the exam.
They answered an average of 7.8 out of the 10 questions correctly. By comparison, the high school students that were purportedly surveyed by Strategic Vision had gotten just 2.8 out of the items correct. 98 percent of the students on Cannaday’s survey — not 23 percent — knew that George Washington was the first President. 81 percent — not 14 percent — knew that Thomas Jefferson had written the Declaration of Independence. 95 percent — not 43 percent — knew that the Democrats and Republicans are the major political parties.
Why the stark difference? In comments on The Quick and The Ed, Matthew Ladner says he and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, which commissioned the poll, are investigating the survey’s validity. It’s possible that students didn’t bother to try on a phone survey.