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Utah to Require Citizenship Test for High School Graduation

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, signed into law this week a bill that requires high school students to pass a U.S. citizenship test to graduate.

The bill will require students to take a 50-question civics test and get a score of 70 percent or higher. At least 15 other states are expected to consider similar bills this year. Two states—Arizona and North Dakotahave already passed such legislation, though the testing methods in those bills differ slightly from Utah's.

As EdWeek has reported, the Joe Foss Institute, a civics advocacy group located in Arizona, has been pushing such legislation as part of its Civics Education Initiative. This initiative seeks to make answering a portion of the 100 questions from the Citizenship and Immigration Services exam, normally given to people seeking U.S. citizenship, a condition of high school graduation.

In Utah, the bill has been met with frustration from teachers, who say that it contradicts another recently signed bill asking Utah educators to reduce student testing, according to The Deseret News, a paper based in Salt Lake City.  

To read more about the bill and civics education issues, check out this recent Education Week story.

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