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WI Civics Graduation Requirement

Information on Taking/Passing the Civics Graduation Requirement

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The taking and/or passing of the state Civics Graduation Requirement is not included in DPI data collection, as it is not a state assessment.  It is the district's responsibility to track student's progress towards a graduation requirement.  If you have questions about a specific student, please contact your local district.   

Changes to the Civics Graduation Requirement from WI Act 59 (WI State Budget 2017-19)

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As part of 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, the minimum passing score on the civics test for high school graduation set forth by Wis. Stat. s. 118.33(1m)(a)1. was increased from 60 to 65 out of 100. The way the law currently reads, current students who have not obtained a score of at least 65 are ineligible to receive a high school diploma. This means that students who previously scored between 60 and 64 but have not yet received a diploma will be required to retake the civics test to obtain this new statutory minimum. 

Civics Graduation Requirement

Any students graduating from a Wisconsin high school (starting with the class of 2017) "takes a civics test comprised of 100 questions that are identical to the 100 questions that may be asked of an individual during the process of applying for U.S. citizenship by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the pupil correctly answers at least 60 of those questions" (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.33(1m)(a)1, Section 3266R).

*Note that WI 2017 Act 59 (WI State Budget 2017-19) changed this requirement to 65 out of 100 questions to pass (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.33(1m)(a)1, Section 3266R).

Main Points of the Statute

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There are no state funds to administer this test. DPI is not involved in the procurement, grading, or gathering of test scores for this test. Districts are responsible to give the test, score it, and keep records of student scores/passing. 

  • It is up to the school/district what format to use, and when in the school year to administer the test.

  • Students, starting with the class of 2017, must correctly answer at least 60* of 100 questions identical to the INS citizenship test in order to graduate from a WI public, charter, or private  school participating in a parental choice program.   (*Note that WI 2017 Act 59 (WI State Budget 2017-19) changed this requirement to 65 out of 100 questions to pass (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.33(1m)(a)1, Section 3266R).)

  • IEP teams will determine if the test is appropriate for each individual student with an IEP. For more information, please go to the FAQ page

  • Students identified as LEP may take the test in their language of choice. 

  • Transcripts should indicate students "passed" the civics test requirement.


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"The Challenge of Civics Education" - Joint Editorial by State Superintendent Tony Evers and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley


For questions about this information, contact Kristen McDaniel (608) 266-2207