Civics exam now required for high school graduation

Eric Chen, News Editor

The new civics test mandated for high schools across the state of Wisconsin is now required for students to graduate with a 60 percent or better on the test. The test is a result of a new law inserted into the 2015-17 state budget, with implementation starting with the class of 2017.

“I suppose they thought high school students should have a basic understanding of American history and government,” said AP United States Government and Politics teacher Mr. Matthew Dapelo.

The test can be taken an unlimited number of times until the student passes, and exceptions are made for those needing accommodations. For example, those with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) do not have to pass the civics test in order to receive their diploma, and those with limited English proficiency (LEPs) are allowed to take the test in the language of their choice.

The test itself is composed of the 100 questions that are on the actual U.S. citizenship test; however, prospective citizens need only answer ten questions while high school students must answer all 100.

The new law allows for some flexibility in test administration: it is up to each specific school how and when the test is given. School districts are also responsible for keeping track of scores and recording whether the student passed or failed on their transcript. At Brookfield Central, the test is its own Canvas course consisting of four multiple-choice sections:  Principles of Democracy and Rights of Government, Systems of American Government, American History, and Geography, Symbols and Holidays.

The law has stirred up some controversy regarding whether or not the test is effective and necessary.