KCBD Quiz: Texas House considers bill mandating high school civi - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

KCBD Quiz: Texas House considers bill mandating high school civics test

(Source: KCBD) (Source: KCBD)

Wednesday, the Texas House will consider a bill that requires high school students across the state to take a civics test similar to the U.S Citizenship test for immigrants.

Representative Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, who assisted in authoring House Bill 1776, says "this knowledge is critical to becoming an engaged citizen in our society, which is what we expect of any new U.S. citizens."

House Bill 1176 would also eliminate and replace the required U.S. History end of course test in the state’s public high schools, which one local school district has expressed opposition to.

Lubbock ISD high school students are gearing up to take their end of course STAAR test in United States History on Thursday.

Representative Ashby’s office sent us some background on the bill, claiming the curriculum for the end of course exam is over burdensome on teachers and fails to cover critical issues of historical importance.

But Joni Rodela, the K through 12 Social Studies and World Languages Coordinator for Lubbock ISD, says the district doesn’t agree.

“Much of the civics education that’s reflected in the United States Citizenship test is actually covered between kindergarten, and 5th grade. About 90% of the content that is on that test is actually covered in those grade levels," Rodela said. 

Rodela says they aren’t discounting the importance of the content in the U.S. Citizenship test, but she says the majority of those questions are based on repetition and memorization rather than full knowledge of the historical context.

“A child wouldn’t need to have any historical context to be able to recite how many congressmen we have in the United States House of Representatives, how many you know, and so on and so forth. On the flip side, within the STAAR test, as most of these questions are written in a very complex manner, meaning that there are multiple steps that the child needs to be able to think through before they can answer the question," Rodela said. 

Should this bill pass, students would be able to take the civics test at any grade level after ninth grade, and would need a 70 percent to pass.

There would be no limit on how many times a student can take the test before graduating.

Meanwhile, Rodela says Lubbock ISD will continue to follow this legislation.

“If our accountability for the high school end of course exam is only reflective of what’s in the United States Citizenship test, we will not see the level of scholarship that we currently have as intended in our state standards," Rodela said. 

Could you pass the Civics test that Texas may soon require all high school students to take? Test your knowledge with this sample quiz from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services:

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