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Arizona 1st In Nation To Require High Schoolers To Pass Civics Test

A new U.S. citizen holds an American flag during a naturalization ceremony in July. An Arizona law will require graduating high school seniors to pass the same civics test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship. i

A new U.S. citizen holds an American flag during a naturalization ceremony in July. An Arizona law will require graduating high school seniors to pass the same civics test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

toggle caption Mark Lennihan/AP
A new U.S. citizen holds an American flag during a naturalization ceremony in July. An Arizona law will require graduating high school seniors to pass the same civics test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship.

A new U.S. citizen holds an American flag during a naturalization ceremony in July. An Arizona law will require graduating high school seniors to pass the same civics test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship.

Mark Lennihan/AP

What year was the Constitution written?

Who was president during World War I?

If you couldn't answer one or both of the above, you might not be able to pass a civics test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship. Or (starting in 2017) graduate from high school in Arizona.

On Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill making a high school diploma in the state contingent upon students passing the same test given to candidates for U.S. citizenship. The class of 2017 will be the first to have the new requirement.

According to The Arizona Republic:

"The bill sailed through the Arizona Legislature's committees Thursday morning, was approved by both houses Thursday afternoon and was signed by Ducey Thursday evening.

"The American Civics Act will require students to pass 60 of the 100 questions on the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization civics test. They can first take the test in eighth grade, and can retake it until they pass."

The Associated Press reports the test is "being pushed nationally by the Scottsdale-based Joe Foss Institute, which wants all 50 states to adopt it by 2017."

The AP says:

"The institute says legislatures in 15 states are expected to consider it this year.

"The Foss Institute, whose motto is 'Patriotism Matters,' created a civics institute to promote the test to state legislatures as a way to increase knowledge of basic government by students.

" '[Its] genesis is basically an extension of our original mission in trying to ensure the delivery the very basics civics education that every high school graduate should have,' said institute President Frank Riggs, a former California congressman who ran for Arizona governor as a Republican last year."

During an interview with an immigration official, candidates for naturalization are required to correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions selected from a pool of 100 shown below. Besides the civics test, they must also prove competency in English by demonstrating reading, speaking and writing skills.

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