Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Civic literacy again

Here’s a story on this report, which you can download from the site. You can also take the quiz.

There is arguably a connection between civic literacy (whether or not this quiz assesses it) and civic engagement (what I might call self-government). Many institutions, including my own, are eager to promote civic engagement. Is there a similar eagerness to promote civic literacy? Do we assume that engagement encourages literacy, or vice versa?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Update: Jon Schaff: what he said. I too scored 58 of 60, though my mistakes were in the economics section.

Discussions - 11 Comments


Thank you Ashbrook Center!

I am sure that all the Ashbrooks would do much better than this bunch. I can't imagine many doing worse than a B. None of these senior groups earned better than a D?! Even at Harvard? That ought to suggest something to parents reading this about where they should choose to spend their money.

Since I missed it, #36 is a really lousy question!


The business questions destroyed me . . .

I agree with John Schaff that many of the questions were poorly written. In fact, I had to read several of them more than a few times just to understand what was being asked. I still got 55 out of 60 correct--and all the ones I missed were about the Fed and economics. No surprises there. It was also telling that there was a big emphasis on Burke.

I sent the quiz to my daughter who has two small children and a part time job. She called me a nerd and refused to say how she did.

You answered 52 out of 60 correctly — 86.67 %. Add to this that I've been out of college for two years, and I didn't even complete the Ashbrook Program! BOOYAH.

That was fun. I got 57 out of 60 right. I did not think the questions were confusing at all.

HA--I scored 59! I may not know how to frame a wall, change the oil, or fix a radiator hose, but I'm for darn sure civically literate!

Ashbrook Grad. I scored a 55, but I still think that one of my answers was technically correct (I even considred emailing the quiz to point out the section in Smith that laid the foundation, but that's another issue), and on two of them I clicked my answer and then hit "down" instead of "tab" (thus selecting a "wrong" answer). I guess that means I could try to argue I deserved a 58, but then others would point out that someone capable of scoring a 58 should be capable of hitting the right buttons...

First, I too was able to get 58 out of 60.

Second, I agree with Jon Schaff that question #58 is not a good indicator of whether one is "educated" -- but then again, that might be because I missed it. However, I do have a quibble with his thoughts on question #27, that is, that none of the answers relate to the question. To understand that question, and thus get the answer, you must first understand the starting point of elementary logic: the law of contradiction. This law states that “A cannot be both A and not-A at the same time,” i.e., you can‘t be a married bachelor. Therefore, if someone says, "nothing exists" that statement is contradictory since a person has to exist in order for that statement to be said, so something does exist! Apply that basic logic to #27 and the answer is obvious.

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