PADUCAH, KY — Your student will have to pass a citizenship test to graduate from high school in Kentucky. Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, a civics test will be a requirement just like it already is in eight other states.

Graduation is one week away.

“I will be attending Louisville in the fall,” graduating senior Alexia Tyler said. She’ll be attending with her classmate Promyse Davis. “I’m ready. I want to get out of this town,” Davis said.

For the next graduating class, there will be one more hurdle to jump on the way to graduation. The same test immigrants have to pass to become American citizens, Kentucky students will have to pass to graduate high school.

“Like half the stuff I can remember, but we haven’t learned this since sophomore year,” senior Bryson Brooks said. “I probably wouldn’t do good, because I’m not really interested in history. ”

Davis said she hasn’t learned about that subject matter in years. “There’s always a requirement that you have to have to graduate, and it’s changed so often,” Davis said. “So, if that’s really what’s going to happen, you need a heads up. You need to review, because we learn new stuff every year.”

With no heads up, I gave them 10 questions from the real civics test.

These are just a few of them.

  1. If the president can no longer serve, who becomes president?
  2. What are two ways Americans can participate in their democracy?
  3. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?

Students have to get at least a 60 percent to pass, and they can take it as many times as they need. The three seniors Local 6 spoke with passed the sample test, but they wondered: Why implement this now?

“I”ll be honest with you, I don’t believe it is necessary,” Brooks said.

Tyler said this test is just memorizing facts. She doesn’t think it says anything about whether a student is ready to graduate. “Ultimately, we are the next generation that is going to make decisions. So, where are (students) mentally to make the right decisions that will impact the nation, if not world?”

The real test is 100 questions, and none of them are multiple choice. Senate Bill 159 states if a student has taken a similar test in the past five years and passed, they won’t have to take it again.

You can read more about this new requirement here.

Paducah Tilghman High School Assistant Principal Kristopher Durfee said the school has already started having freshmen take the test as a pilot program.

Illinois currently requires a civics course to graduate. Missouri requires a civics test. Tennessee requires students to take the test, but they don’t have to pass to graduate.

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