"Don't Know Much 'bout History" quiz

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sauronsfinger
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"Don't Know Much 'bout History" quiz

Post by sauronsfinger »

Here is a quiz going around the net on knowledge about civic matters. Reports indicate that the average person fails to get half correct. Other reports indicate that many of our elected officials do not even get that many correct.

I had some quibbling with a few of the questions, but it is fun just the same.

http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/re ... /quiz.aspx

this was from someone who posted on another site ....
Seventy-one percent of Americans fail the test, with an overall average score of 49%.

[Public] Officeholders typically have less civic knowledge than the general public. On average, they score 44%, five percentage points lower than non-officeholders.

Earning a college degree does little to increase knowledge of America’s history, key texts, and institutions. The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor’s degree is 57%, or an “F.” That is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score among those who ended their formal education with a high school diploma.

Students did poorly even at the most elite schools. Harvard seniors, who did best, earned an average score of only 69.56%, or a “D+.”
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Post by axordil »

The questions on economics were not as well worded as one might have hoped. Even so I only missed one, and I'm a frickin' English major. I just pay attention.
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Dave_LF
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Post by Dave_LF »

Well I got 29/33, which I guess is pretty good in relative terms (I didn't know what Roosevelt threatened, what the anti-Federalists achieved, missed one that asked which rights come from which number amendment, and think the last one has two legitimate answers, though one is better than the other in retrospect).

Why is the definition of profits in there?
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Post by WampusCat »

I was doing fine until it got to economics. :shock: But I still managed 31 of 33, for 93.94%. Some of the econ questions were puzzling. I wonder if those were the ones that tripped up most people.
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Post by axordil »

Puzzling and not agenda-free. ;)
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Post by Maria »

I got 28/33 despite relative disinterest in the subject.
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Post by solicitr »

Really makes you despair for democracy, doesn't it? Just think: absolutely none of the debates conducted so passionately of which this forum is an example really have the slightest effect on who gets elected. Voters are operating on slogans and bumper stickers.

After all, how on earth can you possibly explain the subprime mess to folks who can't even pass this elementary quiz?
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Looking at everything through an ideological lens does not help with understanding what one sees. And I'd guess that most people see the world that way, whether they realize it or not.
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Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

32/33, and I disagree with the test as to the correct answer of the one I got wrong.

On anther one I did get the right answer to even though I disagreed with it on the grounds that "this is what they do even though this isn't what they should do." They asked "what do they do", not "what should they do".
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Post by MithLuin »

I think that some of these questions weren't entirely relevant/important to understanding civics.

I mean, take the Lincoln/Douglas debates. Hopefully, everyone knows that this was part of the lead up to the Civil War. I happen to know that the main political issue of the time was the balance of slave vs. free states in the Senate. But what if you didn't recall that? Is that really important for understanding how the gov't works? If they had debated secession, would that really matter? If you wanted to test knowledge of how Congress worked, you would have asked a different question.

There were 3 questions on the Bill of Rights; 2 were on the freedom of religion, even though that was only one of the many freedoms guaranteed in the first ammendment, and the third was about the political movement that clamored for the Bill of Rights in the first place. FDR and his New Deal made 2 or 3 appearances as well.

The economic questions made me go 'huh?' because the answers I would have given generally weren't there in a recognizable form.

Anyway, I'm not sure this test actually tests what its writers think it tests. It was more of a 'highlights of American History' quiz than a 'Do you understand civics?' quiz. Obviously, some of it was about how the gov't functioned, but not all...or even most.


I see no need to despair over people scoring poorly. If you really wanted to test yourself on something like this, you'd brush up on your knowledge first. Just mixing up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (or other famous-sounding things) gets you a lot wrong, I think. Oh, and my score was 30/33.
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Post by sauronsfinger »

Mithluin - I agree about the econ questions. A couple of them were far from clearly worded.
Just mixing up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (or other famous-sounding things) gets you a lot wrong, I think.
Yes indeed. Just listen to people talk about their "Constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that either in person or in the media.
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Post by ToshoftheWuffingas »

29 out of 33 and no googling. I guessed the first amendment was due process not religion but got that wrong. I guessed correctly the Lincoln Douglas debates were about the extension of slavery to the new states. I found that the answer that the price system utilises more local knowledge of means and ends an odd one. Also that when tax income equals expenditure can't really mean tax per person equals spending per person as there is always some form of redistribution unless it's simply a tautology.
Not too bad I suppose for a non-Yank.
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Post by Frelga »

ToshoftheWuffingas wrote:I found that the answer that the price system utilises more local knowledge of means and ends an odd one. Also that when tax income equals expenditure can't really mean tax per person equals spending per person as there is always some form of redistribution unless it's simply a tautology.
That's the two I didn't get, too. Possibly the one about taxes and expenditures meant on average, but that's not economics, that's math. :scratch:

And the one about government increasing spending and lowering taxes to stimulate growth? Does it really?

Got a couple of historical questions wrong, for a final score of 27/33 or 81.82%.

I also notice that the average score stands at 77.6%, although it just might be the influence of this bunch here. :D
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Post by Padme »

I got a a score of 27/33 also.

I wanted to pick some of the answers because they were so far out there.
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Post by Inanna »

22/33.... and I am not an American.
I lost in all the core US kind of questions, and gained in economics. Though I got Q.33 wrong, and I still don't know why.
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Post by River »

30/33
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Post by truehobbit »

That was a fun thing to do for breakfast. :D

I got 23 out of 33, which for a non-American isn't so bad, I guess. :)

But :bow: for Tosh.
Anyway, I'm not sure this test actually tests what its writers think it tests. It was more of a 'highlights of American History' quiz than a 'Do you understand civics?' quiz. Obviously, some of it was about how the gov't functioned, but not all...or even most.


I see no need to despair over people scoring poorly. If you really wanted to test yourself on something like this, you'd brush up on your knowledge first. Just mixing up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (or other famous-sounding things) gets you a lot wrong, I think.
I think knowing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are a test of how well you understand civics.
And there were a number of questions about the different powers in the state and what their job is, which is pretty much the essence of civic knowledge.

I didn't mix up the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence right, because the latter happens to be the only text relating to US history that I've actually studied. :blackeye:
I found that the answer that the price system utilises more local knowledge of means and ends an odd one.

LOL, yes, same here.
Also that when tax income equals expenditure can't really mean tax per person equals spending per person as there is always some form of redistribution unless it's simply a tautology.
I got that one right because all the others were so obviously rubbish. :P
And I think it makes sense if you don't take "per person" literally - I was doubting it was the right answer, because I expected them to be very literal, but concluded they had to mean "proportionally per person".

I'm a bit confused about #14. I thought both "sinfulness" and "religious freedom" were right, but I picked the latter. I guess it hinges on the "complete religious freedom". Still, where and how did the Puritans want to see religious freedom limited?
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Post by Lidless »

32/33, though I confess several of the more detailed history questions were educated guesses rather than knowing 100%.
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Post by truehobbit »

Wow, lidless. :D Guess they didn't let you go to Cambridge for nothing, eh? :thumbsup:
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Post by TheEllipticalDisillusion »

28/33

I disagreed with one question's answer: the question on free enterprise... government implements policies that favor businesses over citizens... that is totally the way free market actually works... damn academics.
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