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Indiana Law: Students Must Pass Same Civics Test as Immigrants

02 January 2015 The Report Card

(Editor: According to the US Department of Education, 88% of high school seniors are NOT proficient in US History, yet immigrants must pass an oral test about history and American government. Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn is introducing a bill to require students to pass the same test as immigrants. What a great idea. Scroll down, and see if you can pass the test).



Hoosier students who want to graduate from high school could soon be required to pass the same civics test as immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens.

That’s the idea behind a measure that one of Indiana’s top education lawmakers plans to introduce during the upcoming legislative session, which convenes Jan. 6.

“I believe that if we’re asking someone from a foreign country to know this information, that our own citizens ought to know it,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn.

The bill is still being written, but it would require all public and charter school students to correctly answer at least 60 percent of the 100 civics questions that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services uses to administer its naturalization test, Kruse said.

Immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship are asked 10 of those 100 questions and must answer six correctly to pass.

The test includes basic American government and history questions, such as “Who was the first President?”, “Why does the flag have 13 stripes?” and “When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?”

Kruse said students would be able to take the test any time from 8th grade to 12th grade. Passing it would be a condition for receiving a diploma, he said.


His bill will make Indiana one of about 15 states where such legislation is being considered, said Sam Stone, political director for the Civics Education Initiative, an Arizona-based non-profit group that is lobbying for the civics test across the country.

About 92 percent of immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship pass the test on their first try, Stone said, but studies in Arizona and Oklahoma have found that less than 5 percent of high school students passed the test.

“Those are really poor numbers,” he said.

The group’s push for a new civics test is a reaction to the current emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, subjects, which he said has caused a “massive shift away from civics and social studies.”

“No matter how much knowledge you have, if you don’t know how to use that knowledge within our system of government, it’s not much good,” he said. “Our government was designed to be run by informed, engaged citizens. We have an incredibly dangerous form of government for people who don’t know how it works.”

A spokesman for Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said she hadn’t seen the legislation and that it would be premature to comment.

Can you pass the U.S. citizenship civics test?

Could you pass the test? Try answering these 20 questions.

While these questions are from the actual naturalization civics test, the real test is not multiple choice. Rather, immigrants must orally answer up to 10 questions from a list of 100. A score of at least 60 percent is required to pass. These sample questions and answers are taken from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.




  • Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?

    • make treaties
    • coin or print money
    • provide schooling and education
    • create an army
  • What is freedom of religion?

    • No one can practice a religion.
    • You can’t choose the time you practice your religion.
    • You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.
    • You must choose a religion.
  • Who vetoes bills?

    • the President Pro Tempore
    • the President
    • the Vice President
    • the Speaker of the House
  • Who is in charge of the executive branch?

    • the Speaker of the House
    • the Chief Justice
    • the Prime Minister
    • the President
  • What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

    • the Articles of Confederation
    • the Bill of Rights
    • the inalienable rights
    • the Declaration of Independence
  • What is the capital of the United States?

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • Boston, MA
    • Washington, D.C.
    • New York, NY
  • What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?

    • Atlantic Ocean
    • Indian Ocean
    • Pacific Ocean
    • Arctic Ocean
  • The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

    • Thomas Jefferson
    • James Madison
    • George Washington
    • John Adams
  • What is the name of the national anthem?

    • America the Beautiful
    • My Country Tis of Thee
    • The Star-Spangled Banner
    • God Bless the U.S.A
  • Name one state that borders Mexico.

    • California
    • Arkansas
    • Alabama
    • Florida
  • Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

    • no one
    • American Indians
    • Floridians
    • Canadians
  • Name one branch or part of the government.

    • United Nations
    • parliament
    • state government
    • legislative
  • How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?

    • twenty-one (21) and older
    • sixteen (16) and older
    • eighteen (18) and older
    • thirty-five (35) and older
  • Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

    • Celts
    • Cherokee
    • Slavs
    • Zawi Chemi
  • If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

    • the Secretary of State
    • the President Pro Tempore
    • the Speaker of the House
    • the Vice President
  • What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

    • freedom to petition the government and freedom to disobey traffic laws
    • freedom of worship and freedom to make treaties with other countries
    • freedom of speech and freedom of worship
    • freedom of speech and freedom to run for president
  • Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

    • Franklin Roosevelt
    • Harry Truman
    • Herbert Hoover
    • Calvin Coolidge
  • What did Susan B. Anthony do?

    • fought for women’s rights
    • founded the Red Cross
    • made the first flag of the United States
    • the first woman elected to the House of Representatives
  • Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.

    • the War of 1812
    • the Civil War
    • World War I
    • the Revolutionary War
  • Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

    • the state legislatures
    • all people of the state
    • only the people in the state who voted for the Senator
    • all people of the state who belong to the Senator’s political party

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