Citation

A Natural Disaster of Civic Proportions: College Students in the Natural State Fall Short of the Naturalization Benchmark

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Abstract:

Democracy depends on an informed citizenry holding public officials accountable for their policies in regular elections. Theory suggests an ignorant citizenry is incapable of serving in this capacity. The APSA has recently made civic literacy a priority in civic education. Using a convenience sample of Arkansas Tech students taking American Government from 2008 to 2011, we assess the extent of student civic literacy across four dimensions: American political heritage, government structure, current politics, and the Constitution. Our instrument consists of 25 questions drawn from the bank of USCIS naturalization test questions. The findings are grim: using the naturalization benchmark (60%) and a letter grade-based benchmark, we find that 86.5% of ATU students failed the naturalization test, while 96% failed to score a ā€œCā€ or better on civic literacy. Contrary to previous research, we found significant improvement in civic literacy among ATU students after their government class in the fall of 2010 employing a pre-posttest design. Over 70% of students showed improvement in civic literacy. Furthermore, while 80% of the students failed to meet the naturalization benchmark in the pretest, less than a third failed to meet it in the post-test. We conclude, civic education is an effective ameliorative for civic literacy deficits.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

civic (189), polit (143), literaci (95), student (92), citizenship (69), educ (67), sampl (64), american (55), govern (47), score (40), improv (39), natur (39), question (39), posttest (38), knowledg (38), citizen (37), particip (37), semest (35), test (34), pretest (33), figur (32),
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Association:
Name: Southern Political Science Association
URL:
http://www.spsa.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p544297_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Gooch, Donald. and Rogers, Michael. "A Natural Disaster of Civic Proportions: College Students in the Natural State Fall Short of the Naturalization Benchmark" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Hotel InterContinental, New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan 12, 2012 <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p544297_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gooch, D. and Rogers, M. T. , 2012-01-12 "A Natural Disaster of Civic Proportions: College Students in the Natural State Fall Short of the Naturalization Benchmark" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Hotel InterContinental, New Orleans, Louisiana Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p544297_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Democracy depends on an informed citizenry holding public officials accountable for their policies in regular elections. Theory suggests an ignorant citizenry is incapable of serving in this capacity. The APSA has recently made civic literacy a priority in civic education. Using a convenience sample of Arkansas Tech students taking American Government from 2008 to 2011, we assess the extent of student civic literacy across four dimensions: American political heritage, government structure, current politics, and the Constitution. Our instrument consists of 25 questions drawn from the bank of USCIS naturalization test questions. The findings are grim: using the naturalization benchmark (60%) and a letter grade-based benchmark, we find that 86.5% of ATU students failed the naturalization test, while 96% failed to score a ā€œCā€ or better on civic literacy. Contrary to previous research, we found significant improvement in civic literacy among ATU students after their government class in the fall of 2010 employing a pre-posttest design. Over 70% of students showed improvement in civic literacy. Furthermore, while 80% of the students failed to meet the naturalization benchmark in the pretest, less than a third failed to meet it in the post-test. We conclude, civic education is an effective ameliorative for civic literacy deficits.


Similar Titles:
Inspiring Citizenship: Does Civic Education Provoke Political Participation?

Political Science, Civic Education and the Construction of the Citizen-Student

Educating Citizens: Integrating Knowledge from Political Theory, Participation, and Socialization


 
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