Thursday, September 20, 2007

In what year was the war of 1812?

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute performed a study where they asked students from 50 different colleges and universities across the country a series of multiple choice questions relating to U.S. History. According to the results, we don't know beans when it comes to our own history; on average, college seniors got about 30 correct out of 60 questions.

As you can imagine, educators and chairpeople and historians and parents and clergymen and politicians and bus drivers and the like are up in arms about the results, saying things like "we are failing our students" and "we need to focus more on educating our young people in regards to our own history" and "this bus wreaks of puke". At first glance, I couldn't agree more. 30 out of 60? That's horrible. But then I got a look at some of the questions.

Examples:

1. The power of judicial review was established in:
A. The Constitution.
B. Marbury v. Madison.
C. McCulloch v. Maryland.
D. The Bill of Rights.
E. A presidential executive order.

2. The struggle between President Andrew Johnson and the Radical Republicans was mainly over:
A. United States alliances with European nations.
B. The nature and control of Reconstruction.
C. The purchase of Alaska.
D. Whether to have a tariff.
E. Whether slavery should be allowed in the Federal Territories.

Apparently the folks behind the questions forgot about answer F - who gives a shit?

Maybe the educators and chairpeople and historians and parents and clergymen and politicians and bus drivers should leave these kids alone and let them continue to do important things like drink beer and tear down goalposts after their football team wins a big game. I bet if you asked those same students who won the blue ribbon for best beer at the 1893 World's Fair, more than half would know it was Pabst.

Hey, that's U.S. History, right? And important history indeed.

[Editors note: to take the quiz yourself, click here]

2 comments:

  1. Brian Says:

    NOTE: The correct answer to both of those questions is "B". I know the suspense was killing you.

  2. Erin Says:

    I got 52/60 -- holla! :)