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WI Civics Graduation Requirement

Civics Graduation Requirement - COVID-19 Updates

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Wisconsin statute requires that 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 65 of those questions" (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.33(1m)(a)1, Section 3266R).

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some students may not have passed the graduation requirement before Wisconsin schools were closed by Governor Tony Evers on March 18, 2020, which may prohibit their ability to graduate in 2020.

To support students in passing the civics graduation requirement, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has created these resources:

Civics Graduation Exam Study Resources

If there are extenuating circumstances that prohibit students’ ability to graduate in 2020 because they have not passed the civics graduation requirement, you may request a waiverNote that any waiver request must show that a public meeting on the topic was offered to the community.

For questions about the civics graduation exam or study materials, contact Kris McDaniel, Social Studies Education Consultant.

For questions about the waiver, contact Tamara Mouw, Director of Teaching and Learning.

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.   

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 65 of those questions" (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 and/or pupil records should indicate students "passed" the civics test requirement.

Resources

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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