In Washington, D.C., 58 percent of the individuals taking the U.S. citizenship test have failed, according to a new survey conducted among 41,000 Americans by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Vermont came first with the majority passing the multiple-choice citizenship test. Vermont was followed by Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and Virginia as the top successful states, while Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana landed the bottom of the list, becoming the five worst-performing states.
In Vermont, only 53 percent of the test-takers received a passing grade for their knowledge of U.S. history. People failed in all other surveyed states. Only 27 percent passed the test in the lowest-performing state, Louisiana.
The poll for the Foundation was administered by Lincoln Park Strategies. About 41,000 interviews were carried out among adults across the country for the survey.
“Unfortunately, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation has validated what studies have shown for a century: Americans don’t possess the history knowledge they need to be informed and engaged citizens,” said Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine.
Levine added that American history education has failed as students are asked to memorize dates, events, and leaders, which the poll results indicate are not retained later in adulthood. A fundamental change is required on how American history is taught and learned to make it relevant to the students, said Levine.
The survey revealed that only 15 percent of American adults could correctly recall the year U.S. Constitution was written and only 25 percent of adults surveyed knew how many amendments there are to the U.S. Constitution. The survey also showed that 25 percent were unaware that freedom of speech was guaranteed under the First Amendment, and 57 percent didn’t know that Woodrow Wilson was the commander in chief during World War I.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation was founded in 1945. The Foundation identifies and develops America’s best minds and next generation of leaders to meet its most critical challenges.