During her State of the State Address, Governor Kristi Noem said she’d like a law passed that would require all high school students to pass the U.S. Citizenship tests before they graduate. 

Is it a good idea?

To become a U.S. citizen, a person has to answer six out of ten questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.   

Students we talked with Wednesday at New Tech High School aren’t in favor of it in order to graduate. 

“I have looked over the questions and I don’t really know any of the answers to any of them so expecting a whole high school class to answer these questions to just get their degree seems kind of confusing to me,” junior Austin Gray said. 

“It also kind of seems pointless and takes up time that we really don’t need to spend for it, that we could spend doing other things,” junior Amaya Gogue said 

New Tech government teacher, Scott Sorenson listened to Noem’s State of the State.  He initially thought it was a good idea, but he has a lot of questions.  

“As a teacher my mind starts running through the ‘where do you fit this in, is it a senior capstone, do you throw it in as an end piece of a government class, is it a week long thing, what if students fail it, can they just keep taking it over and over,” Sorenson said. 

Sorenson also thinks it might be a bit repetitive, because he already teaches the material to his students. 

“The majority of the questions I would guess most Americans would probably get wrong, if someone was to ask Joe Schmoe on the street who are the three people who wrote the federalist papers I would guess 1 percent of the population could do that maybe around there, but my students would know,” Sorenson said. 

Just for fun, I asked the students a couple of the questions on the test. 

Don:  Who vetoes bills? 
Amaya: Ummm, the President. 

Don: What’s the highest court in the land? 
Austin: U.S. Supreme Court.

Don: What’s the highest court in the land? 
Amaya: Supreme Court.

Don: What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? 
Austin: I have no idea. 

They did okay, which doesn’t surprise Sorenson. 

“Everything in the Citizenship Test, they learn during high school, geography, government, history, all of those things, every question I’ve seen we cover in high school,” Sorenson said. 

Take a Civics Practice test online.