Historical Illiteracy


#1

Historical Illiteracy
By Eileen F. Toplansky
American Thinker
12/26/10

Naturally, I felt compelled to answer the questions established by the Intercollegiate Student Institute American Civic Literacy Program who, for the past five years, has attempted to measure how well colleges and universities are transmitting American core values and history.

The results from the schools of higher learning are very discouraging. …

In fact, according to the findings of the ICI group, when tested as freshmen, “half of the incoming [college] freshmen tested fail the 60-question multiple choice [history] quiz.” Three years later they have learned very little, with seniors scoring a mere four percent higher. In fact, “no school, not even Harvard or Yale, got above a 69 percent average among seniors. Worse still, in some schools, students did less well coming out than going in.”

WASS! People who don’t understand how things got to be the way they are - the good and the bad - are going to repeat the same mistakes and throw away things that were well thought out.


#2

While the averages are rather telling, I would prefer to the statistical spreads for each school. That would be even more telling.


#3

From what I have gleamed from reading and other sources history is no longer taught in school with facts or figures but feel good platitudes.


#4

I hear that they are no longer teaching the real history of our country, but the history of the few people who lived here long before it became a country. I understand that they are also teaching a lot of their legends. No biggie, good stuff to know, but they are replacing the stuff that is needed to be known.


#5

I never learned anything about that. =/ Or are you only talking colleges?


#6

I think it is happening in some public schools. I only heard about it vaguely, it doesn’t surprise me, but it may not be wide spread.


#7

History should be taught, not history according to politics and deconstructionism.


#8

Well, I’ve been public schooled for my whole life, unless you count kindergarten. =/ I wonder if I could pass this test. I’m all right with American history, but sometimes I get the littler wars mixed up. Doesn’t help that they all seem to have a dozen different names apiece. :bored:


#9

I never learned anything about that.

If you want, look into Joy Hakim’s A History of US series, especially Volume One. It’s approved for use in CA public schools, grades 5 and 8. My local public library had a set.


#10

[quote=“PeteS_in_CA, post:1, topic:28716”]
Historical Illiteracy
By Eileen F. Toplansky
American Thinker
12/26/10

WASS! People who don’t understand how things got to be the way they are - the good and the bad - are going to repeat the same mistakes and throw away things that were well thought out.
[/quote]I took the quiz in the article

Civics Quiz

You answered 27 out of 33 correctly — 81.82 %

Average score for this quiz during December: 74.9%

Not bad considering I have not studied history for over 40 some years


#11

As is often the case with online quizzes, I found a few of the questions in the one linked to in the OP article to be ambiguous, confusing or misleading. For example, #10 says: “Name one right or freedom guaranteed by the first amendment.” in fact, the 1st Amendment guarantees no rights. Only that Congress shall make no law, etc.

Some of the ones that I didn’t know were logical deductions on the multiple-guess questions.

Anyway, my results:

You answered 27 out of 33 correctly — 81.82 %

Answers to Your Missed Questions:
Question #7 - D. Gettysburg Address
Question #8 - C. appoint additional Supreme Court justices who shared his views
Question #13 - E. certain permanent moral and political truths are accessible to human reason
Question #14 - B. stressed the sinfulness of all humanity
Question #27 - A. the price system utilizes more local knowledge of means and ends
Question #30 - C. decreasing taxes and increasing spending


#12

[quote=“Fantasy_Chaser, post:11, topic:28716”]
As is often the case with online quizzes, I found a few of the questions in the one linked to in the OP article to be ambiguous, confusing or misleading. For example, #10 says: “Name one right or freedom guaranteed by the first amendment.” in fact, the 1st Amendment guarantees no rights. Only that Congress shall make no law, etc.

Some of the ones that I didn’t know were logical deductions on the multiple-guess questions.

Anyway, my results:

You answered 27 out of 33 correctly — 81.82 %

Answers to Your Missed Questions:
Question #7 - D. Gettysburg Address
Question #8 - C. appoint additional Supreme Court justices who shared his views
Question #13 - E. certain permanent moral and political truths are accessible to human reason
Question #14 - B. stressed the sinfulness of all humanity
Question #27 - A. the price system utilizes more local knowledge of means and ends
Question #30 - C. decreasing taxes and increasing spending
[/quote]It is true some of the answers could be deducted from the fact that the choices were so blatantly wrong. I also have to agree on the first amendment question


#13

You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %


#14

:wink: :tongue: Tiny, you might not be a redneck. :tongue: :wink:


#15

Bite your Tongue. Shhhh! Someone will figure me out.


#16

My score was: “You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %”.

Looks like I intended to click the right answer on a question but clicked a wrong one, so had I been more careful, I would have gotten 32/33, growl.

Also interesting from the grading page: “Average score for this quiz during December: 74.9%”.


#17

I changed from a “right” answer, to a wrong one. Oh Well.


#18

31/33 - missed the one about the Federal Reserve and the President being commander of the military, which I really should’ve known. I also almost missed the Cuban missile crisis one, but I changed my answer at the last minute and got it right.

I feel like I’ve taken this test before, though. =/ Either way, it was a lot easier than I expected.


#19

That Puritan one - have you ever read anything by them? O_O’ It’s downright scary, it is. There’s a famous sermon by this dude Cotton Mather - same guy from the Salem Witch Trials, incidentally - called “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” that makes it seem like God hates your guts and would be wonderfully pleased to condemn you to eternal damnation. These Calvinists… shakes head disbelievingly But Cotton Mather also introduced inoculation to the Americas, so he’s not all bad.


#20

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was by Jonathan Edwards, not Cotton Mather. And the Puritans get a bad rap on the Salem witch trials. That was where the witch burnings were put to an end, while thousands of people were being burnt as witches in Europe. And I just read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” recently, and it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds - it’s really a call to repentance, and salvation by a loving God.