Only 3.5% of Arizona public school students got six or more questions correct on a version of the United States Citizenship Test. Matthew Ladner of Jay Greene’s blog thought that was pretty pathetic–new immigrants to the U.S. have to answer six or more correct–until they gave the same test to kids in Oklahoma. The results were not OK.
Perhaps I ought not to have been so hard on Arizona students. After all, they passed at a rate that was 25% higher than their peers in Oklahoma! That’s right: the passing rate for Oklahoma high school students was 2.8%. They somehow underperformed Arizona’s already abysmally pathetic performance.
“These kids wouldn’t do much worse if the pollster asked them questions in Sanskrit instead of English,” Ladner concludes. Over at Joanne Jacobs, guest blogger Diana Senechal says Ladner’s right. ”According to a binomial distribution calculator, the chances of getting at least 6 out of 10 questions correct (where each question has 4 options) is about 2 percent. So, no, they wouldn’t do much worse in Sanskrit,” she writes.
“I have an empty metal coffee pot in my office marked “Sweden Civics Survey Fund,” Ladner writes. “Please drop by a give what you can afford. Once it gets to a couple of thousand bucks, I’ll retain the pollster to give this exact same survey on AMERICAN civics to high school students in Sweden.”
Great idea. I’ve got a ten-spot in my hand, Matthew. What’s the address?