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November 24, 2008



I missed one question. My score was 97%. But, I thought some of those questions were far from "common knowledge."

Not many, for example, are familiar with the record of Thomas Jefferson's absolutely voluminous body of correspondence. Who in the world is going to read that in a basic civics class?

Some were outright opinions--hotly debated by economists and idealogues. The questions about economic stimulus are really just asking respondents to "agree" with a particular view, rather than verify a fact.

Now, in fairness, MOST if not all of the material these questions test was covered both in my High School history classes as well as Gen Ed survey courses in college.

But, it seems very clear to me that some of these questions are NOT basic--they are questions that only an American with a substantial personal interest would know how to answer.


***Spoiler Alert***

Yeah, I went back and looked at some of these questions. For at least one answer, you would have to have taken an accounting course to know the answer. How is that basic civics?

Further, Congress has not officially declared war since WWII. There's a federal act (I can't remember the name right now) that DELEGATES the authority to make war to the President. The president has used this statute to deploy U.S. forces in EVERY conflict since WWII: Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevermind that I think this is a clearly unconstitutional violation of separation of powers, it HAS NOT been challenged in the supreme court. For now, it IS the law of the land.

So, perhaps by answering that particular question, the respondent is actually showing a depth of understanding that surpasses that of the person who wrote the question. The question would be more accurate if it asked, "to whom does the constitution's text explicitly grant the authority to declare war?"

Another question: the Federal Reserve may not directly increase government spending, but it sure makes deficit spending possible. If it weren't buying treasury bonds, Congress wouldn't have the cash it needs for more reckless spending. Again, I'm not convinced that the prescient respondent might not seem "ignorant" according to the template of the questionnaire even if he's smarter than his interrogator.


I agree. These questions do seem to insist a personal interest in civics. The sluggard in civics class, who got by with the bare minimum or not at all, should have been able to answer (at least the first half of the questions) by process of eliminating the multiple answers. I also agree that Thomas Jefferson's correspondence concerning separation of church and state is not common civics knowledge. However, as Christians, we should know the reason behind separation of church and state and what upholds it, just as we should be well versed on the subject of abortion. Here is an excellent resource as it concerns abortion: prolifetraining.com.


Uh, well, I took the quiz and missed five! But before you high minded civic brainiacs start gloating, keep in mind I’m the product of 16 + years of public education, and, sadly, had I taken the quiz over two decades ago as a half brain dead college graduate, I probably would have failed it then. Therefore, in relative terms, I automatically receive a 6-point adjustment upwards to compensate for my improvement since that time (No Adult Left Behind). Thus, that makes ME the winner! Ain’t school good?


Wow!!!!I am not a civics person!!!! I do not do very good on that....Even with the help of Pastor Jim(He was standing beside me when I took the quiz....well at least part of it....Probably the parts I got right!!!!lol!!). Thanks, Pastor Jim!! Are there any quizzes on science???

James Fleming

I commend you for taking the test, even though you didn't do as well as you would like. I'll let you know when I come across something similar for science. Don't feel too bad about your test score. The average score among readers of Light-work is significantly higher than the national average. So keep coming to L-W and we'll get those scores up in no time. Plus, you might want to check out a few books on civics at the library - this topic is important, so it's worth doing some digging. Take the test again in six months and see if you improve your score.

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