MSSU creating civics exam to meet state mandate
Online program to offer lessons and test
JOPLIN, Mo — Students entering Missouri colleges after July 2019 must pass a civics exam in order to graduate.
That’s created some challenges for universities like Missouri
Southern. But student’s are okay with the idea.
Allec Uber is already a freshman at Missouri Southern but next year’s freshman class and transfers will have another requirement to check off to graduate: Civics.
Allec wouldn’t mind if he had to take the exam. He said, “You should know what your country’s about, if you really classify yourself as a citizen, to help make decisions for your country.”
And civics information is something Allec and others said you need, especially if you vote.
Freshman Hanna Bennett said, “Definitely, otherwise you’re just going to go in there, ‘Oh check, oh check, like I don’t care who wins, whatever.”
Allec added, “Without it your opinion doesn’t get heard.”
Under the revised Missouri statute, the exam would have to have at least 50 questions and no more than 100. And those should mimic a citizenship test.
MSSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Paula Carson said the test covers a lot. “Holidays, constitutional requirements, a whole variety of things,” said Carson. “So there’s not one course on campus that would cover all those things. How you need to be a good member of society or citizen is covered in several different classes.”
It’s the first time the university has a requirement not tied to the curriculum. Carson is getting help from other faculty, including some who’ve taken the citizenship test, to create five online video and digital learning modules to teach the content, give feedback, and test students.
Carson said, “We’re very excited about it. I think it will be one of if not the most innovative approach to this assessment in the whole state.”
it will be mandatory for international students too.
Darrissa-Ilona Jansen, a senior from the Caribbean admitted she doesn’t know much about her own government and said of the civics requirement, “It would be good to have that general knowledge of the place you live in.”
Carson explained that it could also help international students get immersed in the culture understanding that Fourth of July fireworks are a symbol of important history. And it can also help them in a global society.
But overall Carson emphasized, “The purpose of this test is to make sure they understand what we regard is important content. Not to trick them or create a barrier to graduation by any means, but just to help make sure that we’re educating fully rounded citizens.”
The exam is not required for graduate students. But just those seeking an associate’s or bachelor’s degree entering a college after July, 2019.
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