Monday, November 24, 2008

Eileen had nothing to do with it - UPDATED

This morning's quiz
is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute American Civil Literacy Program.

Intriguing stuff. When they did a survey they found elected officials scoring lower than regular citizens overall.
All survey respondents were asked whether they have ever engaged in any of 13 different political and civic activities. These included, for example, registering to vote, signing a petition, contacting a public official, publishing a letter to the editor, and whether they have ever been elected to a government office.

Among the 2,508 respondents, 164 say they have been elected to a government office at least once. This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected. It would be most interesting to explore whether this statistically significant result is maintained across larger samples of elected officials.
Feeling civic today? Take it here.

h/t to BarbinMD

linc at Daily Kos points out that the folks who sponsor this test are a bunch of serious right-wingers and the questions are subtly designed to foster conservative thinking in several areas (linc gives examples). Simply given the graphic layout of the test site, I am not surprised; it just has a conservative feel. I suspect linc is right but still found it an interesting test to take. Maybe some progressives should put together their own civics test.

Let me toss in a yes/no question of my own:
Have you read the United States Constitution any time in the last five years?

--the BB


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Woo hoo! I only missed one (tax question, natch). Glad to know that I was paying attention during all those civics classes... ;-)


Paul said...

I expected nothing less of you, Doxy. Way to go!

IT said...

I got a 90%. Not bad given my profession is molecular biology.


susan s. said...

I got 84.85%. I am surprised I got that much.

susankay said...

Me too, Doxy. Only one.

Jane R said...

87.something percent. I screwed up on Lincoln-Douglas, tax, and two others. But considering I didn't grow up here and never had a U.S. civics class (I did, however, learn all about Louis the Fourteenth's mistresses) it's not too bad.

And yes on the Constitution, but I think I will re-read it soon. In fact, maybe I will launch a "Read the Constitution on Inauguration Day!" movement in the blogosphere. What do you think about that? (I know, you wish you'd thought of it ;-).)

Tobias Haller said...

On yr question -- Yes, I have read the US Constitution, last year. It had been a while, and I thought it time. Maybe the John Adams miniseries had something to do with it... ;-)

Tobias Haller said...

btw, I god 90.1%

Paul said...

Oh, Jane, yes. I absolutely wish I'd thought of it. But you get full credit (and will get credit when I promote it).

Wormwood's Doxy said...

There is a diary at Daily Kos today (no link, sorry!) that points out that this quiz is from a libertarian think-tank with an agenda.

In fact, the way that FDR got us out of a recession was to raise taxes and increase spending at the same time. I knew this, but answered the quiz the way I figured they were going. (And that's probably why I missed the tax question as well...relying on one way of looking at things, while the quiz was coming from a different direction.)

All of that to say...these are fun, but I'm not sure they mean much in the long run.


susan s. said...

I don't think I can read that on Inauguration Day. I will be flying home after attending my son's institution as Rector of a lovely small church in Illinois. First of all I will be tired from all the festivities. Second I couldn't read it without falling asleep anyway. I need lots of caffeine to grapple with that.

Paul said...

Yes, Doxy, and I'm glad that this was pointed out. So nice to have lots of fact and source and bias checkers on the internet - to help keep us honest and informed rather than misinformed (or dishonest). I added an update when I saw that post.

I still enjoyed taking it as it made me dig into the old memory banks. Encouraging that this crowd has a pretty good grasp on our civics and history - libertarian framework or not.

In the long run - not much at all. In the short run a bit of stimulus. Aren't most of the online quizzes we take fluff? But I can't blame this one on Eileen. She will be so disappointed.

Earthbound Spirit said...

I had 4 wrong - 2 of the economics questions, Lincoln-Douglas, and one I can't remember now. I have a friend who re-reads the Constitution every Independence Day. He blogs, too, and is one of the most articulate people I know.

Paul said...

Re-reading on Independence Day is a pretty cool idea, Earthbound. I usually read the Declaration of Independence on that day, encouraging group readings when I can.