Flash cards. They may bring back memories of studying for a big exam like the SAT or GRE, or they may remind you of elementary school when they were used as a great way to learn your numbers and letters.
But did you know that the US Government Printing Office produces flash cards for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Office of Citizenship under the Department of Homeland Security?
This week marked an important milestone for all U.S. citizens as the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America.
September 17 is now commemorated annually as Constitution & Citizenship Day, a time to reflect on the rights, honors and privileges of being a U.S. citizen, so I thought it was a perfect time to introduce our readers to the Civics Flash Cards.
The Civics Flash Cards are one of the most popular products sold in the US Government Bookstore as a tried and true way for immigrants and to learn about U.S. history and government while preparing for the United States naturalization test. These easy-to-use flash cards (available in English and now also in Spanish) contain each of the 100 civics questions and answers contained on the United States naturalization test, and are updated when there is a change of leadership in the White House or Congress.
The Civics Flash Cards also feature interesting historical photos and relevant captions, thus providing additional civic learning opportunities, making them ideal not only for use as an instructional tool for U.S. citizenship preparation, but also in standard American social studies classes or home schooling. For example, one card contains a picture of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, while another shows Hiram Revels of Mississippi, the first African American U.S. Senator, elected in 1870.
A description of the Spanish version of the Civics Flash Cards:
Recién actualizadas para 2012, las Tarjetas Flash de Educación Cívica en Español ayudarán a a los inmigrantes a aprender sobre la historia de los EE.UU. y del gobierno mientras se preparan para el exámen de naturalización. Estas tarjetas de memoria fáciciles de utilizar contienen cada una de las 100 preguntas y respuestas cívicas (sobre la historia y el gobierno) del exámen de naturalización estadounidense, y conllevan fotos históricas y leyendas pertinentes a que proporcionen el aprendizaje cívico adicional.
Failing grade in civics for American kids… and maybe their parents?
In 2010, The Department of Education administered the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP test, known as the nation’s report card, to 27,000 4th-, 8th- and 12th-grade students throughout the United States.
The New York Times reported that the civics examination results were dismal, as “fewer than half of American eighth graders knew the purpose of the Bill of Rights… and only one in 10 demonstrated acceptable knowledge of the checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches.”
Of the high school students who took the NAEP, 75% “were unable to demonstrate skills like identifying the effect of United States foreign policy on other nations or naming a power granted to Congress by the Constitution.”
Reading through the flash cards, it makes me wonder how many native U.S. citizens— parents and children— could correctly pass the test given to immigrants aspiring to become citizens?
See how you compare to these 8th and 12th graders on these questions constructed from information on the Civics Flash Cards
(Hint: I provide the correct answers at the end of this post 😉 since they are trickier than one would think!)
And finally, some geography:
HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN a copy of the Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test, either the English Version or the Spanish Version?
- Buy them online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore:
- Buy them at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
- Find them in a library.
You may also be interested in our other Constitution and Citizenship products, such as the pocket edition of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Click here to shop our entire Citizenship Collection.
Correct Answers to the Flash Card Poll Questions:
1) Which of these does NOT represent one of the powers of the Federal Government under our Constitution? To provide protection & safety such as police and fire services is a function of state and local governments.
2) Which of these are responsibilities that are only for United States Citizens? Only citizens may vote in a Federal election, serve on a jury, or run for Federal office such as U.S. Senate or House of Representatives and for most state and local offices. Unfortunately, everyone has to pay Federal taxes, citizen or not!
3) Which of these states does NOT border Canada? Of all of these, only Wisconsin does not share a border with Canada. All the international border states with our northern neighbor are (east to west): Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania (border on Lake Erie), Ohio (also border on Lake Erie), Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Alaska.
About the Author: Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.
[…] our posts: “Quiz and History for Bill of Rights Day December 15”, “Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?”, and “Notable Documents 2009: Civics Flash Cards” for more information on these […]
[…] For even more challenging questions based on the U.S. Citizenship test, take our fun Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student? […]
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[…] blog post, not only did I retake the civics quiz from last year’s Constitution Day post (see Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student?), I also scrolled through my tablet last night, reading the Preamble to the Constitution and […]
I am embarrassed! I was wrong on 2 out of 3 questions…..school was a very long time ago. It may be time for those flashcards, especially since I am helping someone study for her citizenship test!
Jan- Don’t be embarrassed! When I was reading them for the blog article, I was impressed at how tough they were and thought there were few American adults who would know them all. That’s what inspired me to do a quiz instead of a straightforward article. There are Civics flash cards in English or in Spanish, which are the best tools possible for learning the test questions… or just for us citizens who just want to brush up on our civics! Best regards, MICHELE
Thank you….Nice that the Flash Cards are available for studying, but (if you know), doesn’t the Citizenship test have to be taken in English?
Jan- I did some quick research, and it turns out there are a few “Exceptions & Accommodations” to taking the citizenship test only in English. This article on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site explains them.
Thank you! You have been extremely helpful!
You’re very welcome!
“Reading through the flash cards, it makes me wonder how many native U.S. citizens— parents and children— could correctly pass the test given to immigrants aspiring to become citizens?”
To answer to this question is quite simple, just look off the poll result.
I didn’t do well as I would have liked on this quiz. Maybe it’s time to take another look at my government books from college.
[…] Since the people who write the flash cards also set the test questions, the questions and answers are accurate (barring the warning about current appointments of specific officials). Instead of researching the answer to “¿Cuáles son dispuestos a nivel de gabinete?”, get the flash cards and be sure of the correct answer (hint: you’d be right if you said Secretario de Estado and Secretario del Tesoro, although there’s more than two right answers). If you teach citizenship or civics classes, or if you are studying for the test yourself or helping a friend or family member to study for the test, you are going to want to buy a copy of these cards. For a quick test of your knowledge of civics topics, take our Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grade Civics student? […]
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Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!
Thanks so much for your interest! Since we are a Federal site, you can feel free to quote us (and credit us) to your heart’s content… We love to know our content is helping fulfill our mission of “Keeping America Informed.” Drop us a line when you do!
Would love to know the percentage of eighth graders got all of these correct.
Jan- To see some sample Civics questions from the 2010 8th grade NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) exam.
Also, here’s the full Civics Framework of the civics skills and knowledge that 4th, 8th and 12th graders should exhibit.
This part outlines the various standards of civics proficiency an 8th grader should have.
I enjoyed this little grammar school exercise. Nevertheless, as a sixty-year Westerner who has never traveled east, to my chagrin, I’ve forgotten by national geography! How embarrassing. Thank you.
Makes me feel out of touch and I could sure use a refresher course!
This is why a lot of school teachers, parents and citizens get them for themselves just to catch up. Covers issues like the electoral college and who can run for office. I enjoyed my set of the Flash Cards for the same reason!
Good news, though: they’re only $14 (including free shipping) on our online bookstore! 😉
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Reblogged this on Jestoryas's Blog.
[…] From Government Book Talk Blog: In honor of Constitution & Citizenship Day, test whether you know as much about U.S. civics as an 8th grader with our quiz containing questions from the Civics Flash Cards produced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services https://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2012/09/20/civics-flash-cards-quiz/ […]