In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring Minnesota students in public schools to pass a civics test. Passing this test is not required for graduation. The test consists of 50 out of the 100 questions in the INS Naturalization Test. Students must pass 30 of the 50 questions selected by Learning Law and Democracy Foundation in consultation with civics teachers.
Schools or districts determine the logistics for administering the civics test questions and for recording the results.
The law impacts students in grade 9 in 2017 and later.
Follow-up statements for Civics Test implementation by co-author, MN Rep. Urdahl
- These questions should be asked any time after 6th Grade.
- Passing is 30 correct answers out of 50 questions.
- The test may be retaken as many times as needed to pass.
- How the test is given is up to local school districts and instructors.
- These questions can be given as part of an existing civics examination.
- The intent of this exercise is to help establish a foundation for civics education. It is not the destination. Students are still required to master the Social Studies Citizenship and Government standards and benchmarks. (Minn. Stat. § 120B.024, Subd. 1(5)) There is no provision in state law for waivers that allow schools to opt out of the social studies standards and corresponding benchmarks.
Minnesota Civics Test Questions (Official) (bottom of page)
120B.02 EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS AND GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR MINNESOTA’S STUDENTS.
Subd. 3.Required knowledge and understanding of civics.
(a) For purposes of this subdivision, “civics test questions” means 50 of the 100 questions that, as of January 1, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officers use to select the questions they pose to applicants for naturalization so the applicants can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of United States history and government, as required by United States Code, title 8, section 1423. The Learning Law and Democracy Foundation, in consultation with Minnesota civics teachers, must select by July 1 each year 50 of the 100 questions under this paragraph to serve as the state’s civics test questions for the proximate school year and immediately transmit the 50 selected civics test questions to the department and to the Legislative Coordinating Commission, which must post the 50 questions it receives on the Minnesota’s Legacy Web site by August 1 of that year.
(b) A student enrolled in a public school must correctly answer at least 30 of the 50 civics test questions. A school or district may record on a student’s transcript that the student answered at least 30 of 50 civics test questions correctly. A school or district may exempt a student with disabilities from this requirement if the student’s individualized education program team determines the requirement is inappropriate and establishes an alternative requirement. A school or district may administer the civics test questions in a language other than English to students who qualify for English learner services.
(c) Schools and districts may administer civics test questions as part of the social studies curriculum. A district must not prevent a student from graduating or deny a student a high school diploma for failing to correctly answer at least 30 of 50 civics test questions.
(d) The commissioner and public schools and school districts must not charge students any fees related to this subdivision.
NOTE: Subdivision 3, as added by Laws 2016, chapter 189, article 25, section 3, is effective for students enrolling in grade 9 in the 2017-2018 school year or later. Laws 2016, chapter 189, article 25, section 3, the effective date.