OK students do OK on civics re-test

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.

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  1. …or maybe since teachers knew ahead of time there was going to be a re-test, they did some quick review.

  2. I said it was nonsense at the time. But there’s no news in announcing that our kids are reasonably well-informed.

  3. Everhopeful says:

    They didn’t ace it. Acing it would be getting 9.0 or better. They C+ed it.

  4. Cardinal Fang says:

    Or, maybe Strategic Vision never actually did any poll, and the initial report was a fraud. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight was always dubious of the poll’s result, which was numerically suspicious. For example, there was no correlation between correct answers: students who got a correct answer on one question weren’t more likely to get a correct answer on other questions.

  5. I did phone surveying for a summer job in college. Teenagers were notorious for messing with the surveys, just for the fun of it. It was verboten to say anything to them that might “skew the results,” such as telling them, “I don’t think you’re being serious about this.”


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