14 Strayer students perfect on civics exam

Of 361 eighth-graders who took the test, 191, or 53 percent, scored higher than 80 percent.
Posted on 03/10/2023
Students with a perfect score on the 2023 civics exam were recognized by the School Board on March 9.

By Gary Weckselblatt

Fourteen Strayer Middle School students received perfect scores on the civics exam, and the average score of eighth-graders was 73 percent on the test. Several of the students were recognized at the March 9 School Board meeting.

"It's as good a group of students as I've had in my 28 years of teaching,” Strayer social studies teacher Chris Goerlitz said. “I'm really, really proud of them and everybody should be, too."

The civics assessment was mandated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly for students between grades 7 to 12 in 2018. That same year, the Quakertown Community School Board agreed to have the district implement the assessment, which utilizes 30 questions from the 100-question US Naturalization and Citizenship test to meet this requirement.

“Our students have shown they have a level of understanding of civics and government that is proficient and above,” said Dr. Michael Zackon, QCSD’s Supervisor of Secondary Programs. “That’s both a credit to them and to their teachers, whose instruction enables us to achieve our mission, which includes giving students the skills they need for engaged citizenship.”

Perfect scores were earned by Samuel DeBernardi, Luka Duric, Carly Grida, Jacob Guers, Brody Hrycko, Kylee Kelly, William Kummery, Alexandria Laco, Elijah Lowrie, Aiden Myers, Gavin Rodgers, Nathan Steinberg, Aeryn Tuck, and Chase Williams.

Of 384 eighth-graders, 94 percent took the assessment. Here’s the scoring breakdown:

  • 90-100 percent - 9580-89 percent - 96
  • 70-79 percent - 83
  • 60-69 percent - 58
  • 59 percent or less - 30

“I am truly proud about what our kids know and how well they are taught,” Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said. “We want to make sure that when our students graduate they understand our Bill of Rights, know how to have civil discourse, and recognize how lucky we are to be citizens of this country.”

While adults have improved their understanding of the U.S. Constitution in the last 15 years, according to the Annenberg Civics Knowledge Survey, which has been conducted since 2006, their results pale in comparison to Strayer students.

Among the most recent 2022 findings:

  •  Less than half (47 percent) of U.S. adults could name all three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial), down from 56 percent in 2021. One in four respondents could not name any.
  •  Asked to name the five rights protected by the First Amendment, fewer Americans could name any of the five than in 2021. For instance, less than one in four people (24 percent) could name freedom of religion, down from 56 percent the prior year.

 Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].

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