Last week Arizona became the first state in the country to require that graduating high school seniors to pass the U.S. citizenship test on civics (HB 2064). Currently, the naturalization process includes the requirement that applicants pass a civics test, based on 100 U.S. history and government questions. Under Arizona’s new law, the American Civics Act, starting in the 2016-17 school year high school students will be required to answer at least 60 out of 100 questions correctly to graduate highschool or earn a GED.
Backing the measure was the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute, which hopes that by 2017—the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution—all 50 states will adopt a similar requirement. The Institute also noted that:
About two-thirds of students tested below proficient on the civics portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in both 2006 and 2010.
This requirement makes sense considering current high school student civics knowledge, but findings from other research organizations also show that college students get little substantive exposure to civics and that their civic literacy deteriorates between the first and final years in school (see here and here).
These and other reasons help explain why currently 15 additional state legislatures are already considering adoption of similar laws, according to American Action News.