Are you Smarter than the Average Citizen?

by | Apr 14, 2010 | Education, Politics

The nonprofit, nonpartisan educational Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) released shocking findings on their 4th Annual National Civic Literacy report. This year’s study reveals that college students lack knowledge on basic essential elements of American history, government and economics, but are being influenced more by leftward political indoctrination on the most polarizing social issues.
Dr. Richard Blake, co-chair of ISI’s National Civic Literacy Board argues,

“… if colleges were adequately teaching their students about America’s history and its institutions, and the same leftward political influences were discovered, then it could be logically concluded that as citizens learned more about their country, this academic enlightenment leads naturally to liberal political enlightenment. But this peculiar combination of collegiate civic ignorance on the one hand, and collegiate liberalism on the other, suggests a wholly different story, one featuring academic neglect at best and political indoctrination at worst.”

Specifically, The ISI’s Civic Literacy Research has discovered:
  • Only 24% of college graduates knew the origin of the famous phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people;”
  • 32% of college graduates do not know which branch of government has the power to declare war;
  • Only 36% of college students were familiar with a speech warning the nation of dangerous foreign entanglements;
  • 10% of test takers thought the famous phrase “We hold these truths that all men are created equal . . .” comes from The Communist Manifesto, however 46% could properly identify it.  (Still less than half.)
  • College makes people more likely to support same-sex marriage and abortion on demand, and less likely support school prayer and the American work ethic;
  • A college degree moves a person toward the Democrat/liberal side of the political spectrum, while greater civic knowledge moves a person toward the Republican/conservative pole of the spectrum;
  • Only 17% can accurately distinguish free markets from centralized planning;
  • College professors are more likely than non-professors to believe that America corrupts otherwise good people, and that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant.
With fewer than 60% of college graduates being able to properly identify on a multiple choice test, the 3 branches of federal government – how do you think you would fair?  No need to wonder, ISI provides a sample 33 question Civics Test for us online.  Their website claims that the average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the test was 49% with college educators scoring 55%., and elected officials scoring a measly 44%.  Are you more knowledgeable than the average citizen, college educator or elected official?   
Take the Quiz.  Don’t forget to share your results with us in the comments…