Americans Fail Civic Literacy Test

Almost three-quarters of Americans, 71.4%, failed a basic civic literacy test, a new survey study of 2,508 Americans by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) shows.

In fact, 89.2% of the Americans surveyed got either a D or an F on the test!

Only 0.8% of the Americans scored 90 to 100, or an A, 2.6% scored 80 to 89.9, or a B, and 7.4% scored 70 to 79.9, or a C.

ISI considered a grade of 59.9 and below to be an F grade.

Liberals scored 49% compared to 48% for conservatives, while Republicans scored significantly higher than Democrats, 52% to 45%.

Sadly, fewer than half of all Americans could name all three branches of the federal government, a minimal requirement for understanding America’s political system.

Among the questions asked on the exam were:

1)    Which of the following are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence?

2)    What are the three branches of government?

3)    Name two countries that were our enemies during Word War II?

4)    What part of the government has the power to declare war?

5)    What was the main issue in the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglass in 1858?



Number Surveyed

Percent Surveyed

A (90 to 100%)



B (80 to 89.9%)



C (70 to 79.9%)



D (60 to 69.9%)



F (59.9% and below)



 – Source:  “Our Fading Heritage,” Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 11/20/08.