Civics test requirement urges students to stay culturally literate


Piper Hansen

All Kentucky public high school students will be required to take and pass a civics test in order to graduate with a regular diploma beginning on July 1, 2018 under Senate Bill 159 (SB 159).

The Kentucky Department of Education will create and approve a test with 100 questions drawn from a civics test administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to naturalize citizens.

The passing rate is set at 60% and students will be allowed to retake the test as often as possible in order to pass.

While students at Manual are required to take three years of social studies material, a number of them do not feel ready to take the test because they were not informed of the new requirement.

“I do not feel prepared to take the test,” Kaleigh Hampton (11, YPAS) said. “Manual can at least help us prepare by telling us what will be on the test and what it will be about and let us take practice tests in the MAC.”

In addition, some students see the disadvantages that other Kentucky students face.

“As soon as I found out [about the test], I took practice ones online,” Maggie Stinnett (11, J&C) said. “I realized that most questions are common sense but not everyone in the state has the same education as I do.”

At the same time however, Manual students can still see the benefits of requiring students to take the test.

“I think more students will pay attention to social studies classes and current events,” Male sophomore, Lexie Overstreet said. “We’re constantly preparing for the ACT that focuses on math and reading and it seems that social studies is overlooked most of the time.”

And even though high school seniors will graduate before the new requirement is put to the test, they are hopeful for the future of Kentucky students.

“I think it will give students the opportunity to invest in current policy and truly understand how our government works,” Gabe Weber (12, MST) said. “Putting it into the curriculum and adding it to the graduation requirement list is the best way for students to stay informed.”

Check out this document to see the specific requirements discussed in SB 159 and to take a practice test:

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