Citizenship Test Graduation Requirement?


Taken by Kara McGeehan

Kara McGeehan, Staff Writer

The citizenship test can change a life for incoming immigrants. Their citizenship status depends on whether or not they earn a good grade on a single test. This grade can give them a home or even a safer place for their families. If the government requires the incoming immigrants to take the citizenship test, why aren’t they requiring the students graduating from public schools to take it? Students will be, potentially, doing the same things as the incoming immigrants, living in the U.S. and voting. So, why isn’t it mandatory for schools to give the citizenship test to students who are graduating?

I think the citizenship test should be a requirement to graduate. This makes sure that students understand how government works. New adults may have more accurate opinions on things the government should or can do because they will know the in’s and out’s of the government.

In the article What Does the U.S. Citizenship Exam Actually Test?, Sam Harnett says “nearly everyone who takes the US citizenship test passes on the first try.”(1) It is especially easy to pass if you have already taken a civics course in the past. So, shouldn’t taking the citizenship test be easy for most students given that most schools require students to take a civics course? Mr. Pyszka, civics teacher at GHS explains, “it is our job, as Americans, to be informed and understand how the government works.”

If if students receive civics instructions, then why wouldn’t confirm the students’ knowledge with simple questions on the citizenship test. In Sam Harnett’s article, he mentions Winkle, a woman who surveyed Americans and immigrants answer questions. Winkles says “most Americans could not answer the question [Who wrote the Federalist Papers?],… Winke has found that US citizens only outperform immigrants on local governance questions, such as, ‘Who is your House Representative?’”(1) Although it is important to know who your local house representative is, it is also good to know the history and the backstory of how our government was formed and what processes it takes to protect us.

I believe that if we are not mandating this test, it could lead to adults who are not knowledgeable and misunderstanding of our government. This could, potentially, lead to the downfall of our government. Of course, there is a fairly simple solution to preventing the downfall of our government, a mandatory citizenship test near graduation.



  1. Harnett, Sam. “What Does the US Citizenship Exam Actually Test?” Public Radio International, PRI, 15 Oct. 2013,