The Intercollegiate Studies Institute
and the University of Connecticut`s department of public policy recently released a study that tracks the decline of "civic literacy
" in college seniors. The survey was conducted for the institute (which advocates traditional curriculum and supports conservative student publications on college campuses) by the University of Connecticut`s department of public policy. It contained 60 multiple-choice questions on American history, political science, and economics, and was completed by 14,000 seniors and freshmen at 50 different higher-education institutions.
Apparently, my classmates
were required to learn the details
of the Stonewall Riots
, but only 55.4% can name the final battle of the Revolutionary War
. While the Marx
-Engels reader is required in many introductory philosophy classes, 47.6% of students couldn`t properly define "federalism
." And, while college students commonly stage anti-war protests
, fewer than 25% can identify the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine.
And we`re not talking little-known schools, either:
According to the report, "The Coming Crisis in Citizenship: Higher Education`s Failure to Teach America`s History and Institutions," scores for college seniors on average were only 1.5 percent higher than those for freshmen. At some institutions — including such prestigious universities as Brown, Georgetown, and Yale — seniors actually scored lower than freshmen. The overall average score for seniors was 53.2 percent, the equivalent of a failing grade. Colleges Fail to Teach Civic Literacy, Report Says, by John Gravois, The Chronicle For Higher Education, 09/27/06