Teens struggle to ace history test

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A recent survey commissioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation shows that a large number of American teen-agers don’t know much about America’s history.

The nationwide survey of over 1,000 U.S. teens asked basic fourth grade-level history questions. The results show that students don’t know some important historical facts.

The bad news. One in 10 teens don’t know one of the most basic facts in American history – that George Washington was the first president of the United States.

There were several other large gaps in their knowledge:

* 24 percent (nearly 1 in 4) don’t know who fought in the Civil War.

* 19 percent can’t identify the three branches of government.

* 31 percent don’t know who wrote America’s national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

The good news. For those looking for a silver lining, there were two facts that most teen-agers do know:

* 98 percent know the capital of the United States is in Washington, D.C.

* 96 percent know George W. Bush is the current president.

“While we appear to be making some progress in educating children about our nation’s history, we still have plenty of work to do,” said Campbell.

“Both parents and educators alike need to know and understand that effective history education comes from a combination of textbook study and hands-on learning.

* * *

Teen-ager history survey



1. Who was the first President of the United States?

A. Abraham Lincoln – 4%

B. Thomas Jefferson – 1%

C. George Washington – 92%

D. John Adams – 1%



2. Who wrote the Star Spangled Banner?

A. Betsy Ross – 9%

B. John Adams – 11%

C. George Washington – 2%

D. Francis Scott Key – 69%



3. The Pilgrims typically are recognized on what holiday?

A. Christmas – 1%

B. Halloween – 0%

C. Thanksgiving – 96%

D. July 4th – 3%



4. On July 4, 1776, The Continental Congress formally adopted which document?

A. Declaration of Independence – 85%

B. Constitution of the United States – 9%

C. Magna Carta -1%

D. Bill of Rights – 3%



5. In the Revolutionary War, from whom did America win independence?

A. Canada – 1%

B. Native Americans – 3%

C. Great Britain – 78%

D. France – 14%



6. The Civil War was between the ______ and the _______.

A. North and the South – 76%

B. East and West – 5%

C. United States and Canada – 2%

D. United States and Great Britain – 13%



7. The three branches of government are Legislative, Executive and ________.

A. Supreme Court – 12%

B. Judicial – 81%

C. Education – 2%

D. Governing – 3%



8. Name the capital city of the United States.

A. New York – 1%

B. Philadelphia – 0%

C. Washington, D.C. – 98%

D. Boston – 1%



9. How many original colonies in North America declared independence on July 4, 1776?

A. 8 – 5%

B. 50 – 7%

C. 15 – 4%

D. 13 – 83%



10. Who is the current President of the United States?

A. Bill Clinton – 2%

B. Dick Cheney – 0%

C. George W. Bush – 96%

D. Al Gore – 2%



* Correct answers are in boldface type.

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