We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliot


Welcome to Ten Roads! This blog is intended to be a place for me to share my (generally Civil War-related) thoughts and experiences. I try to update once a week at the very least. All comments and readers are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is America history-challenged?

We talked about this article from USA Weekend in my History Seminar class yesterday.

A report released last year showed that when more than 14,000 seniors and freshmen at 50 American colleges and universities were tested on some basics of American history and civics, the average score was about 52% -- a failing grade by any measure -- with the seniors scoring slightly higher than the incoming class. The best results came from Harvard, where seniors scored a 69.6% -- passing, but still a high D.

I cannot say I'm surprised. I know that many of my peers regard history as boring. But I still think it's extremely unfortunate that many people do not have this basic knowledge. Like one of the signs in the History Seminar room, "Everything that happened before you were born is your own kind of." I think not knowing basic things about American history is just like not knowing much about some part of yourself.

By the way, you can take the aforementioned test here. I'd love to hear what you get. I got a 73.3% Because the economics questions kicked my butt.

3 comments:

Drew@CWBA said...

I got 93.33%. Interesting test, with some strange question and answer wording.

Daniel Sauerwein said...

Sarah,

I belong to the organization that put together that test. I would like to encourage you to join the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). It offers free membership to students and provides many great opportunities including a free subscription to their journal The Intercollegiate Review. It is quite sad what students do not know in college. Go to http://www.isi.org and you can join online, again it is FREE.

Take care.

Bob Pollock said...

Sarah,
I took the test and got 85.0%. I am 52 years old, with a B.A. in Political Science from University of Washington (1982) and an M.A. in History from Missouri State University (2008). Yes, I returned to school three years ago and am graduating this semester. I manintained a 4.0 g.p.a. throughout my graduate program. I am only telling you this for reference. You see, my problem with tests like these is that on a test with sixty different questions I might score higher or lower, and so might you. So, what does that really tell us?

Congratulations on your scholarship and job appointments.

Yore