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Seniors tackle civics exam

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 It has been a busy month for seniors. This class will be the first to graduate with the new requirement to pass the Civics Test, which assesses students’ knowledge about U.S. history and government, along with taking the SAT, ISAT 2.0, and completing the Senior Project. This year’s seniors had an average score of 86 percent.

The test is meant to improve civic awareness so citizens can take full advantage of our democratic process, but it has been controversial because many think it is not needed. After all, students already have to pass a government class in order to graduate. Some see it as just another hurdle that might prevent some students from being able to graduate; however, the questions are pretty basic. One of the questions is “Who is the President of the United States?”

This criticism doesn’t just come from the students. Even some of the teachers are opposed to this new test, especially some of the history and government teachers.  “I think that they will have to memorize more knowledge that  may not mean anything to them, because on the Civics Test, some of the question on there are like ‘What is the longest river in the United States?’ ‘Name a state that borders Canada.’ How do questions like that increase their patriotism?” Billie Wixom, government teacher, said.    

Student responses were varied. “It is important to know the information we require citizens to know for the civics exam, but it shouldn’t necessarily be required for graduation,” Jenness Wayment (12) said. “I think it’s dumb,” Nick Tucker (12) said. “Honestly, you should already know everything that’s on it.”

“The fact that none of the teachers have any test prep for it shows that it’s stuff we should know already. It’s not worth taking a whole day off for like the SAT,” Konnor Wiley (12) said. However, Wiley did respond with enthusiasm the morning of the test as he acknowledged taking the test will make him “one step closer to graduating.”

On the morning of the test, many students began to finish within 15 minutes.  Others took up to 40 minutes. When asked how she felt after taking the test, Brianna Tangreen (12) replied, “Really good. It was easy.”

What did the seniors plan to do after the test? Responses ranged from sleep, party, go out to lunch, or prepare for Senior Project presentations later.

For underclassmen who may need to take the test in the future, here are some tips: study the actual test. All seniors were given a link to the actual test with answers. Also, freshen up on history and geography.

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Seniors tackle civics exam