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Most Americans Fail Civic Literacy Test

John on November 22, 2008 at 10:21 pm

The headline on the press release is that self-declared “elected officials” scored significantly worse than regular citizens:

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

But in my opinion the real headline is this:

Of the 2,508 Americans taking ISI’s civic literacy test, 71% fail.

Most chilling in light of recent events is this factoid:

The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents’ basic understanding of economic principles, asking why “free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government’s centralized planning?”

I’m thinking now would be a good time to know that one. Where is Joe the Plumber when we need him?

The quiz itself is here. Takes about two minutes. I got 31 out of 33, a 93.94%. One of my misses was the result of failing read through all the answers. Consider yourself warned: Read carefully.

After you’ve taken it, here’s a list of how your fellow citizens did on each question.

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Category: Politics |

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