South Carolina

Most South Carolinians couldn’t pass part of US citizenship test, foundation study says

Most South Carolina residents couldn’t pass part of the U.S citizenship test, according to a new study from educational nonprofit the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

After giving Palmetto State residents 20 history questions from the citizenship test, the foundation found that only 34 percent of participants could earn a passing grade, according to the statement.

About three percent of South Carolinians scored an A on the quiz, seven percent a B, 10 percent a C and 14 percent a D, according to the statement. Nationally, only four in 10 passed.

Overall, South Carolina ranked 44th in the country in the study, surpassing states like Louisiana, Kentucky and Alabama when it comes to passing grades.

Though Wyoming and the District of Columbia had the most residents score an A, Vermont saw the most passing participants.

Foundation officials said Americans are lacking the history knowledge necessary to be productive citizens, according to the statement.

“American history education is not working, as students are asked to memorize dates, events, and leaders, which the poll results shows are not retained in adulthood,” Foundation President Arthur Levine said, according to the statement. “Based on our research, this is not an issue of whether high school history teachers are adequately prepared or whether kids study American history in school. The answer to both questions is yes. This is an issue of how we teach American history.”

The following states had the most passing participants:

  • Vermont
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Montana
  • Virginia

The following states had the least passing participants:

  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana

Over two dozen former immigrants celebrate America's birthday by becoming citizens during a Naturalization ceremony in Raleigh, N.C.

Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.