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8 states consider requiring high school seniors to pass a citizenship test to graduate

The legislatures of North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Arizona, and four other states are considering bills that would make passing a citizenship test a high school graduation requirement. The proposal, which has bipartisan backing, would not be an immigration procedure: While the test in the North Dakota proposal would be the same as the one immigrants are required to pass to become citizens, the goal for students would simply be to demonstrate basic civics knowledge.

A 2011 study found that 44 percent of Americans could not define the Bill of Rights, while nearly a third could not name the sitting vice president. Only a quarter of graduating high school seniors could demonstrate civics proficiency.

Backers of the citizenship test initiative hope to have the requirement on the books in all 50 states by the Constitution's 230th birthday in 2017.