Instapundit links to this rather alarming report. Seems our college students do very poorly on civics tests (probably because they don’t really teach “civics” – or what used to be called “civics” in high school anymore…but they do help students feel really good about themselves so…what could be wrong?)
•Average scores for the 25 selective colleges — chosen for type, geographic location and U.S. News & World Report ranking — were much higher than the 25 randomly selected schools for both freshmen (56.6% vs. 43.7%) and seniors (59.4% vs. 48.4%), but the elite schools didn’t add as much civic knowledge between the freshman and senior years. At elite schools, the seniors averaged 2.8 points higher than the freshmen vs. 4.7 points for the randomly selected schools.
•Harvard seniors had the highest average at 69.6%, 5.97 points higher than its freshmen but still a D+. A Harvard senior posted the only perfect score.
•In general, the better a college’s U.S. News & World Report ranking, the less its civic literacy gain. Yale, with the highest-scoring freshmen (68.94%), along with Princeton, Duke and Cornell, were among eight schools with freshmen outscoring seniors.
“Several of the colleges at the lower end of our survey are some of the most prestigious in the country, with average tuition, room and board somewhere north of $40,000 a year,” Bunting says. “These are the schools, although their stated mission is to help prepare active citizens, that are the most derelict in their responsibility.”
I love this last paragraph:
No one would argue that college students know enough about history or the world, but a civics test may not be the best measure of civic engagement, says Debra Humphreys of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, which promotes liberal education. Other studies have shown that college students are much more likely to vote and be civically [sic] engaged than non-students, she adds.
Says Humphreys: “It would be wrong to conclude from this study that the leadership of these selective schools is not committed to educating their students about these subjects.”
Yeah you guys…you’d better come to some other conclusion because the obvious one, that would be the wrong one. (Don’t you folks do nuance?) Look at the tables. NO college scored better than a D! When looking at the breakdown of each question, it’s interesting to note just how misinformed our students are about the origin of the doctrine of “separation of church and state” (question number eight) and what the Bill of Rights – quite reasonably – prohibits (question thirty).
You can take the quiz here. It’s not long.
You answered 55 out of 60 correctly — 91.67 %
Average score for this quiz during September: 75.2%
Average score since September 18, 2007: 75.2%
I’ll be honest, that score is not completely accurate; a few of those “correct” answers were purely guessing – at least four or five of them – I really stink at economics, and I’m not well-educated, either. Still, I seem to have done better than the average, which is kind of nice. Let me know how you scored. I know the majority of my readers are probably conservatives, and supposedly there’s a study out there that says conservatives are stupid, but I’m willing to bet my readers will score at least to the average or better.
Betsy Newmark doesn’t think the test results are a big deal but I’m willing to bet her students would do better on the thing than most!
By the way Indoctrinate U, the long-awaited documentary by Evan Coyne Maloney (one of my favorite Celtic names of all time) will be having its premier on Friday, September 28, at the Kennedy Center. Reviewed here and here. I can’t wait to see it. A trailer here.