Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pop Quiz!

It's time for a Civics quiz! Oops, didn't study? Too bad! Books away, pencils out!

You may begin.

College seniors got scored about 54% (unlike some studies full of statistics, these folks actually provide information about their study, including sample size and methods, yay).

Seniors from Harvard got about a 69%.

I got an 86%, so I guess that means I'm qualified to homeschool my kids, even though I didn't go to Harvard. Although there are a few things I need to brush up on.

Via ODonnellWeb


Charlie said...

I got an 86% too, though I take issue with a couple of the questions.

One concerned federalism, and the correct answer said the "states and national govt. share power". However, in the context of American history, the debate wasn't so much that it was all or nothing, but that the anti-federalists argued for stronger state govt. and weaker federal govt. They both recongnized some level of sharing between state and national.

Not to mention the later anti-federalist movement against Hamilton's drastic expansion of fed. govt. powers. The federal govt. had already been established, and the anti-federalists sought to limit it's scope. So I picked "federal govt. has ultimate control" as my answer because I didn't think any of the choices were quite right.

Also, the question on Just War Theory threw me. The correct answer was that it requires "the authority of a legitimate sovereign", but I don't see how that gets to the essential altruistic basis of the theory. So I picked "no civillian casualties are allowed" because that speaks to the essential nature of the theory. The enemy civilians are more valued than American lives.

Regardless, it was a good test, and I'm not surprised how many kids fail it. And, frankly, were it not for and Scott Powell's First History for Adults, I wouldn't have fared too well either.

Charlie said...

And yes, I just saw that my proofreading failed to catch an errant "it's" in the 3rd paragraph.... ugh. Next time I'll use the "preview" feature before I post' comment's.

Rational Jenn said...

Yeah, I got that one wrong, too! I was thinking Hamilton versus Jefferson. I got the Just War Theory one wrong, too--don't remember what I put. I think some of the questions were a bit vague in the wording, but overall it was a good test.

Did you look at the stats any? I thought it was interesting that students scored lowest some of the "current event" questions (Iraq, etc) which occurred during the lifetimes of the students.

I am positive that I would not have scored 86 as a senior in college. Positive. Probably would have been more like 70. Many of the things I've learned about American history have been as an adult, especially the last 10 years. I'm looking forward to taking Powell's class in January. And when it comes time to approach history with Ryan and Morgan, we'll be using Powell.

Anonymous said...

71% for me. I can't believe I scored a tiny bit better than the Harvard seniors, since I consider myself horribly ignorant about history and current events.


Anonymous said...

93.33% for me. But I took Powell History. :)


Charlie said...


Were you thrown by some of the questions? I was thinking that I had such a good context of knowledge about some of them that I couldn't guess what slant some of the questions were getting at. In other words, I could identify that the questions were incomplete or vague but couldn't step back and guess what they were asserting as the correct answers.

I remember the same thing in college and standardized tests. I knew that the question was designed for people who didn't really get it, and I had to try and figure out what someone without the full context would identify as the "right" answer. It's the "Art of Taking a Test".

Are you taking Powell's European History course right now?