Time to be Tested!

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Go here to take an online civics test put out by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and please report your results in the comboxes.  I missed one question and got a score of 96.7%  ( I missed the last question because I got in a hurry to complete it and didn’t read the possible answers carefully.)  My wife took the test and also got a 96.7%.  The average score of 2508 Americans taking the tests was 49% and for college educators 55%.  I found these numbers shocking as I thought the test was fairly simple.  I am sure you will all do much better than the averages!

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  1. Hew doggies! Got me a hunnert percent! Musta got me sum edjumacayshun back yonder a-ways, yep.

    Seriously, though, it would be interesting to see what the breakdown is between Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.

  2. You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

    Incorrect Answers

    Question: Which of the following fiscal policy combinations has the federal government most often followed to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
    Your Answer: increasing both taxes and spending
    Correct Answer: decreasing taxes and increasing spending

    I think I got this one right. The question doesn’t ask which policy works best, rather which policy did they most often follow. Other than J.F.K and Reagan, and perhaps, but not really, W. Bush (43), they raise taxes, inflation and spending. I am not accepting a reduction in the employee’s FICA tax, as a tax cut, nor, is NOT raising taxes a tax-cut.

    If anyone cannot get at least 80% on that, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote and probably not tie their own shoelaces.

  3. This Republican got 100%. AK makes a fair observation, but I would think that a reduction in FICA tax is a tax cut from the perspective of fiscal policy.

  4. 30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %. Oh, well.

    I noticed in the intro that college educators scored an average 55%. I suspect it was all the questions on capitalism and free markets that brought their scores down.

  5. Revision: I’d like to see the breakdown between Public School and Catholic School graduates.

    Pretty cruel, I’m thinking.

  6. 93%

    As for college educators only scoring 55% I’ll bet that those in the hard sciences, math, and engineering depts far outperformed those in the humanities/liberal arts.

  7. That public / private breakdown would be interesting. I was publicly educated through college, and then a private (tier 2/3, depending on year) law school.

  8. 100%

    Though there was one where I benefited from reading the comments first: I am not sure which method of stimulating the economy can be described as most often tried — though I’d say that the answer they have as correct is the one that could get the most economics agreeing with it.

  9. I’ll be the dunce and admit to 84.89, though one of those was the question that American Knight notes:

    Question: Which of the following fiscal policy combinations has the federal government most often followed to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
    Your Answer: increasing both taxes and spending
    Correct Answer: decreasing taxes and increasing spending

    I got it wrong for the same reason he did: the phrasing isn’t “which is the most effective policy” but “which is most often followed”, and I chose “increasing both” because I thought was most often followed.

  10. Mike,

    You have a point about fiscal policy, but that ignores the fact that a reduction of a temporary and uncertain sort of only a third of the employees portion does not stimulate much at all. As an employer, I still pay the full ride on my end, so my out-of-pocket is exactly the same, no savings, no raises, no new hires. Additionally, although LBJ brought the SS trust into the general budget, we are intentionally underfunding it as those making demands on it are increasing at the highest rates ever.

    So essentially, the employees are de-funding their own benefit and we are increasing deficit, debt and trust. This can hardly be considered sound fiscal policy.

    I find it interesting that everyone is scoring well above 80% and we are parsing the words of the questions and answers to seek more accuracy; rather, than because we don’t understand. Naturally, this site is not a fair sample; however, it tells you something: Americans are intellectually lazy and don’t care; Catholics are aware that we are deficient. Just because we score well on this little test that an eight-grader should pass, doesn’t mean we are doing much about it – we always have work to do.

  11. The test is unfair to recent public school pupils. Some of the answers would not raise self-esteem.

    Also, unfair to liberals. Most of the correct answers are not affected by whining.

    I’m about the second dummest guy I know. I think I was in school before they started teaching what to think, not how to think.

    Score 90.91

  12. Score: 90.91%

    The quiz looked familiar. I believe I have taken it before. In fact, I missed the SCOTUS/Roosevelt/New Deal question… again.

  13. Mrs. Darwin is no longer the Dunce. I got 81.82 %. But I have an excuse! I’m only in the first few weeks of my High-School Government class.

  14. I’m not surprised by the 55% for college profs.

    As a penance, I read econ profs’ sites. I am constistently shocked and bewildered at the other-worldly nonsense they and commenters fling about.

    It’s like troops of apes throwing feces at each other.

    Also, Alan Blinder and Paul Krugman are PU econ profs. That tells me more about the university than it does about Blinder/Kruggist.

  15. I missed 3. I’m shocked that the average “professor” would get much more than that wrong. I’m no American History buff but I have basic test taking strategies that led me to the right answer most of the time.

  16. Wayne,

    Don’t be shocked. Professors, even those in political science, are not as familiar as you think with the language of the Constitution and with American history. And even though test taking strategies might help, they would not if one “knew” that the language of “wall of separation” appeared in the Constitution.

  17. Donald,

    Are you sure that was Rogers? I’ve seen it attributed to Mark Twain (S.L.C) and Josh Billings. Its driving me crazy, because it is right on.

    I’ve seen it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

  18. AK, according to the quote verifier Mark Twain stole it!

    “It AIN’T so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.” In various forms this popular observation gets attributed most often to Mark Twain, as well as to his fellow humorists Artemus Ward, Kin Hubbard, and Will Rogers. Others to whom it’s been credited include inventor Charles Kettering, pianist Eubie Blake, and–by Al Gore–baseball player Yogi Berra. Twain did once observe, “It isn’t so astonishing the things that I can remember, as the number of things I can remember that aren’t so,” but biographer Albert Bigelow Paine said he was paraphrasing a remark by humorist Josh Billings. (In Following the Equator Twain also wrote, “Yet it was the schoolboy who said, ‘Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.'”) Billings, whose real name was Henry Wheeler Shaw, repeated this theme often in different forms. On one occasion Billings wrote, “I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.” A handbill for one of his lectures included the line “It iz better to kno less than to kno so much that ain’t so.” Across this handbill Billings wrote longhand, “You’d better not kno so much than know so many things that ain’t so.” Apparently the humorist considered this his signature “affurism.”

    Humorists always steal from each other. Milton Berle once said that he and Bishop Sheen, who was broadcast at the same time as Berle’s show was, had something in common: they both used old material!

  19. People always wonder how I can keep so many useless facts in my head and blurt them out dogmatically, but I ain’t no lawyer and you amaze me. So, I suppose I know how they feel – of course, your facts are usually not so useless as mine. 😉

    Rogers it is, I prefer him to Twain anyway. Thanks.

    BTW-I’m surprised no one attributed this quiz to the Masons – it does have 33 questions – exactly. Kind of suspicious huh? ;O

  20. 100%. Advantages of being a freshman in college. And since I finished all of my English/social science courses in high school (I’m a biomedical engineering major), I’ll probably have forgotten half of it by this time next year.

  21. Dear American Knight. Albert Einstein could not tie his own shoelaces, and he had to be taught how to eat an ice cream cone. But his life was spent in wonder about creation. My score was 81.? something, knowing very little about the Federal Reserve or the economy. I would not have posted my ignorance for the world to see, however, you asked. It was a fun test and I enjoyed it.

  22. disappointed– 30 out of 33 –missed the new deal, the slavery vs the state’s rights and the last one abut taxes — I should have known those first two–

  23. Mary, come to think of it, I just checked my closet and none of my shoes have laces. Hmmm? Plus I’m lactose-intolerant, so not much for ice-cream either. However, I have no idea what calculus is and my experience with physics is having gotten a D in high school and I read a book about the proof for God by Fr. Spitzer (the metaphysics I got, the math, well not so much.) 🙂

    As for the Federal Reserve all you need to know is it is a private bank, its owners are secretive and they control all of the money in the world. Despite what any self-righteous economist will tell you, it is an evil scheme built by the descendents (I mean that in spirit not genealogy) of the money-lenders whom Jesus chastised in the temple. It has to go, but please don’t vote for Ron Paul to get rid of it, well, unless you were planning on voting for (dim)Mitt Romney. 😉

  24. I got 76.76 – and I’m just a simple humble kiwi carpenter.

    Does this score qualify me as an American ? 😉

    What got me were the questions specific to US policy etc. – tried to “logic” it out, but fluffed a few.
    Actually, had the opportunity to move to the US back in 1978 as a specialist roofing contractor, to an NZ company that had a product that became very popular there, based in Anaheim CA. I would have probably gone to San Diego, because there was a contractor there who was lookng for a contract supervisor – US$200 per day, plus a vehicle; that was excellent money back then. The trouble was getting all the paper work through to qualify, and being a lazybum when it comes to paperwork, I opted to move to Australia – in those days there was free passage between NZ and Oz and I had Aussie cousins in Wollongon NSW, so moved there instead. Actually, within a few months was earning AU$200 per day – so was quite happy about that.
    Went to the US in 2002 – to Bellingham WA. and stayed with people from the Bellingham Yacht Club, for a sailing regatta. Spent most of the time sailing on Bellingham Bay, cruising the Juan de Fuca straits, drinking beer (and a little rum) at the yacht club, or visiting various scenic spots, then indulging in great food evenings, or drinknig beer (and a little rum) at the yacht club.. Great trip. Oh, and BTW did I mention that I spent a bit of time drinking beer (and a little rum) at the yacht club? 🙂

  25. “I’ll probably have forgotten half of it by this time next year.”

    Sad to say Jason, but about all I can recall of college some 33 years on are the girls I dated! (I have more vivid memories of law school, but I attempt to repress those.)

  26. “I’m bucking for honorary Kiwi status with my annual ANZAC day posts”

    No wurries Don, I’ll have a chat to the Prime Minister 🙂

    Actually, you could probably go for for honorary Aussie status too – but you’ll have to learn to cuss a lot more! 😉

    But it would be a good idea to come visit us some time, to make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for. 🙂
    BTW, you can take that as an invitation.

  27. Another perfect score to throw on the pile. Of course, I have the advantage of being in the middle of high school Government at the moment.

  28. “Of course, I have the advantage of being in the middle of high school Government at the moment.”

    Good work MT! I remember High School, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and gas was 39 cents a gallon!

  29. 93.94% – 32/34

    I missed the last one, even though I took my time on purpose because of Donald’s problem. However, the other one I missed (about levees & defense), I missed because I jumped on an answer without even considering the others. Dumb mistake.

    Oh well.

    What caught my attention about the results wasn’t the college educators’ scores; it was our public officials scores.

    “This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected.

    When looking at individual questions, public officials scored lower on 29 of the 33 (!) questions than than average citizens.

  30. First, a history review/excuse: @ public hs, civics was given only for generals or vocationals, ancient or US history for people w/ 2 foreign langs. Last, with fingers stiffly typing, 69.7, and I still can’t roll R’s or think w/ TV on.

  31. 84.something — one miss for going too fast (no excuse), one I’d argue with, and two slap-my-forehead-for-ignorance. I’m a part-time adjunct faculty nobody at a two-year college; do I rate a promotion now?

  32. 32 out of 33; it is astounding that the average person tested couldn’t get at least 70% of the questions right…

  33. I got 30 out 33 right. Not bad for a non-college educated retired Navy man. Can’t wait for my son to take this tonight (17 years old…knows everything just ask him lol) Smart kid though just don’t any of you tell him I said that

  34. 2 wrong. I share the reservations of another commentor about that question on fiscal policy in a recession. Their correct answer should have been to the question, “what policy is BEST?” because I don’t think decreases in both taxes and spending is what is most frequently done. Not in the last seven decades, anyway.

    Just a homemaker who finished a degree in education (!) got married and had seven kids. So, not too bad considering my college background.

  35. 87.88% and I are in business. I was told in skrewl to have high esteem so I still think I’m great and that my perspectives on reality are totally new and unique as long as I work on good things like saving the planet.

  36. 84.??%. It should have been closer to 90%, but I the buttons are a bit sensitive (at least using my computer) and one question I KNOW i answered right but it was marked as wrong. Another one, the one about the Dam levees and public goods–I must not have read that properly. I am pretty sure most of what I’ve learned about civics I learned outside of school. (I’ve been out of school 20 years now.) I don’t think much of this was covered in school or college.

  37. You answered 33 out of 33 correctly — 100.00 %

    I’m curious to see how talk radio listeners compare to the college professors.

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