Students at many of the country's most prestigious colleges and universities are graduating with less knowledge of American history, government, and economics than they had as incoming freshmen, with Harvard University seniors scoring a "D+" average on a 60-question multiple-choice exam about civic literacy.You can take the test yourself.
Eric Foner (right) blames the format of the test:
A professor of American history at Columbia University, Eric Foner, said that a multiple-choice exam testing factual knowledge of history could exaggerate student ignorance of American history.Oh dear. These battle questions are impossible:
"The study of history has changed enormously," Mr. Foner said. "It's become much more broad and diverse. The study of facts about particular battles has diminished, but maybe students are in a better position to answer questions about the abolition of slavery."
5) Which battle brought the American Revolution to an end?I imagine Foner's students are in a better position to opine about slavery in all-night dorm room bull sessions. And that's hard to capture in a multiple choice exam.
C. The Alamo
E. New Orleans
Here's another question:
Which author's view of society is presented correctly?Pity all those poor little noggins faced with challenges like that.
A. Edmund Burke argued that society consists of a union of past, present, and future generations.
B. Adam Smith argued that the division of labor decreases the wealth of nations.
C. Alexis de Tocqueville argued that voluntary associations are usually dangerous to society.
D. Max Weber argued that the Jewish work ethic is central to American capitalism.
E. John Locke defended the divine right of kings.
p.s. Chris Wehner noticed this story before I did.
p.p.s. Can you spot the Civil War historian?