Special Report: 100 questions to graduation
WESTERN KENTUCKY (WFIE) - Wrong answer after wrong answer, as we asked dozens of people on the street some of the questions from the civics test, many adults got tripped up. But local lawmakers say that's not the point.
"They'll pass this test," Senator Dorsey Ridley said. "This is not a trip up thing. This is an attempt to educate our children and show them that it's so important."
Ridley is a senator in the Henderson, Union, and Webster County area. He says he and other Kentucky senators realized Kentucky high school graduates weren't educated enough in government and civics.
"They just really didn't understand how government worked," Ridley explained. "They didn't really understand the three branches of government."
And he said even some of the senators had problems.
"Let's throw a few of these test questions out to legislators," Ridley said. "Not in public, but behind, in our own caucuses. Because we ask those questions.. And you know, even some of us who live everyday in a civics lesson. Some of those answers we didn't really know."
The bill states that as long as a student has taken a similar test in the last five-years, it will fulfill the requirement. When the bill passed in April of last year, Henderson County Schools went right into action.
"Almost all of our juniors took it this year and have already passed the assessment," explained Kim White, Director of assessment and accountability with Henderson County Schools.
That is because the students only need a 60 percent to pass and can retake the test as many times as possible. The bill also gives the school districts flexibility, the test can be taken in several ways as well as broken up into sections.
"Some students prefer paper pencil version, we let them do paper pencil," White said. "Others are like no, I'd rather do it on the computer, so they're allowed to do it that way."
The test will be composed of 100 questions, chosen from the test given by immigration services to those wanting to become US citizens. School districts can choose any 100 questions from that test.
"We see it as relevant," White said. "Because if we're asking other people who are coming to our country who want to be citizens of this country to know this information to be able to pass this assessment, then I definitely see it as being relevant for our students who are here, who are current citizens as well to be knowledgeable in these areas."
And both parties say they'll take it seriously.
"We're really gonna hold those graduation diplomas until they pass this," Ridley said.
"They want to graduate," White stated. "So we will do everything we can to help them be successful to do that."
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