Citizen’s Test Required to Graduate

In the Utah legislature session of 2015 a bill was passed with a result of 11-0 that will directly affect the lives of the students at Bingham and all other high schools throughout the state. The bill, SB60, states that all high school students will have to pass a basic civics test (the same test immigrants take to become citizens) before being allowed to graduate. The bill goes into effect July of 2015, so this year’s seniors will not have to take the test, but the current juniors and sophomores will their senior years. The test will consist of 50 questions and in order to pass students will have to answer thirty-five of them correctly.

The reasons for this bill, according to Senator Howard Stephenson who sponsored it,

came mostly from statistics showing American citizen’s low understanding of their own government. “I believe that for the future of our country, a basic knowledge of civics is critically important for our survival,” he said.

Something that concerns many students about the bill is the length of the test, which will be five times the length of a normal citizenship test. Students will be required to get a 70 percent score to pass, while hopeful citizens only have to get 60 percent.

Other concerns have to do with the fact that the students who will be taking this test within the next couple years haven’t been prepared for this test the same way students who are younger will be. Some people suggest that the bill be implemented later so there is time to prepare students for the citizenship test more thoroughly before they have to take it their senior year.

Stephenson said that the test likely will not affect the curriculum, and it should be completely separate from school. Students will have to take the test outside of school on their own time.
Preparation materials for the test are available online from a variety a sources and students will be able to take the test as many times as they want.