In 2015, the Arizona legislature passed the American Civics Act (House Bill 2064). This bill will require students, beginning with the graduating class of 2017, to pass a Civics Test based on the United States Immigration and Naturalization civics questions. Students will be required to score 70% or higher in order to graduate from high school or obtain a high school equivalency certificate. As a courtesy, the Arizona Department of Education, with help from the Maricopa County Education Service Agency and Arizona educators, has developed a mostly multiple choice version of the required test.
Design of ADE’s Civics Test
The Civics Test provided by ADE includes the 100 civics questions from the naturalization test with most questions rewritten as multiple-choice questions. The few questions that require students to name specific elected officials are worded as short answer questions and placed at the end of the test. The multiple-choice questions are ordered by the grade based on test content alignment, beginning with Kindergarten and ending with high school.
Which Grade Takes the Test?
The statute requiring the civics test does not provide guidance regarding the grade(s) when students should be permitted to take the test. Students should have the opportunity to learn the content on the civics test before being asked to take the test. Based on the alignment of the test questions, students should have been exposed to virtually all of the test content by the end of Grade 8. It may be appropriate to offer the civics test to students as early as Grade 8. Once a student passes the civics test by answering at least 70 questions correctly, the student should not be required to take the civics test again, regardless of the student’s grade level at the time the test was passed.
Students who use accommodations in classroom assessments should be offered the same or similar accommodations for this civics test.