From the American Civic Literacy Program website:
Are most people, including college graduates, civically illiterate? Do elected officials know even less than most citizens about civic topics such as history, government, and economics? The answer is yes on both counts according to a new study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took ISI’s basic 33 question test on civic literacy and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score 49 percent, or an “F.” Elected officials scored even lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent and only 0.8 percent (or 21) of all surveyed earned an “A.” Even more startling is the fact that over twice as many people know Paula Abdul was a judge on American Idol than know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Complete results from ISI’s third study on American civic literacy are being released today in a report entitled Our Fading Heritage: Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions. The new study follows up two previous reports from ISI’s National Civic Literacy Board that revealed a major void in civic knowledge among the nation’s college students. This report goes beyond the college crowd however, examining the civic literacy of everyday citizens, including selfidentified elected officials. But according to ISI, the blame and solution again lie at the doorstep of the nation’s colleges.
Take the quiz yourself here. I was proud that my Italian wife managed to score 10% higher than the average American college graduate (she got 67%), but then in my infinite arrogance, I lost a dishwashing bet with her that I could ace the quiz by getting three answers wrong! 🙂
I did eke out an 'A' though! Report your own score in the comments.