Strong majority support civics test requirement in NH - 162 participants

Feb 07, 2015

It's a requirement for every legal alien seeking U.S. citizenship, but should NH's high school students also be able to pass the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test in order to graduate? That's the question raised by a bill (SB 157) currently under consideration by the NH Senate Education Committee, which would add achieving a passing grade (60% or higher) on the citizenship exam to the state's existing civics curriculum mandate. On February 7, Citizens Count, NH’s Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should passing the US Citizenship Civics test be a condition for high school graduation in NH?”

“Should passing the US Citizenship Civics test be a condition for high school graduation in NH?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Civics Test NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 162 participants gave 375 responses

A total of 65% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 35% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 162 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 375 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

Yes: A strong majority, at 77% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of making passing the US Citizenship Civics test a condition of high school graduation.

  • “Knowing the basics about how our government works, whether it's rote memorization or not, is necessary to make informed decisions.”
  • “We need our children to understand how the government works so that we can get them involved, and so they can know what they are a part of.”
  • “Why vote when you can't understand how legislative or executive branches operate in our country?”

No:  The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 23%, were opposed to making passing the US Citizenship Civics test a condition of high school graduation.   

  • “Civics should be taught all through school till it becomes a natural response that doesn't need to be tested.”
  • “I like the idea of a state based requirement, but I'm against using a national test curriculum here.”
  • “A change in the culture of how we teach the youth and what we teach them is a more permanent solution.”

Other: As noted above, 35% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • Alternatives: “Perhaps change the requirement to passing a civic class rather than passing a specific test? The class should cover all the citizenship material but could get students actually involved in civic activity.”
  • Indecision: “As somebody who had a robust civics class at my private high school I know the critical importance it can play in political understanding and engagement. However a test is a test and we need to be careful about additional testing, especially as memorizing facts does not equal civics understanding.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 


JBenson's picture
Jacquelyn Benson
- Kensington

Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:18am

SB 157 (2015) was passed by the Senate, and more recently received an 'ought to pass' recommendation from the House Education Committee. However, the committee did amend the bill so that using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Test is no longer required, but optional, with schools additionally having the power to develop their own assessment meeting state-set standards. Passing the test is also no longer required for graduation, with students instead receiving a certificate of recognition. 

The amended bill will now need to receive a passing vote from the full House before returning to the Senate. 

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