Minnesota Council 
for the Social Studies

Civics Test in Minnesota Schools

In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature approved language calling for Minnesota students in public schools to pass a test related to civics. The test pulls questions from the INS Naturalization Test; students must pass 30 of 50 questions selected from that INS test.

The Minnesota Department of Education, on their social studies standards website, clarifies with this language: "Schools or districts determine the logistics for administering the civics test questions and for recording the results."

Teachers can find the 50 questions, chosen by Learning Law and Democracy in consultation with civics teachers, on the Minnesota Legacy website.

PDF of the 50 questions


MCSS cannot interpret the legislation, or provide logistics for incorporating this into schools, but we can link to resources related to civics education that may be helpful to teachers in regards to this new requirement.

Text of the bill language, approved in the 2016 session of the Minnesota Legislature.

H.F. 2749, Conference Committee Report, 89th Legislature (starting at line 444.17)

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 120B.02, is amended by adding a subdivision to read:

Required knowledge and understanding of civics. (a) For purposes of this subdivision, "civics test questions" means 50 of the 100 questions that, as of January 1, 2015, United States citizenship and immigration services officers use to select the questions they pose to applicants for naturalization so the applicants can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of United States history and government, as required by United States Code, title 8, section 1423. The Learning Law and Democracy Foundation, in consultation with Minnesota civics teachers, must select by July 1 each year 50 of the 100 questions under this paragraph to serve as the state's civics test questions for the proximate school year and immediately transmit the 50 selected civics test questions to the department and to the Legislative Coordinating Commission, which must post the 50 questions it receives on the Minnesota's Legacy Web site by August 1 of that year.

(b) A student enrolled in a public school must correctly answer at least 30 of the 50 civics test questions. A school or district may record on a student's transcript that the student answered at least 30 of 50 civics test questions correctly. A school or district may exempt a student with disabilities from this requirement if the student's individualized education program team determines the requirement is inappropriate and establishes an alternative requirement. A school or district may administer the civics test questions in a language other than English to students who qualify for English learner services.

(c) Schools and districts may administer civics test questions as part of the social studies curriculum. A district must not prevent a student from graduating or deny a student a high school diploma for failing to correctly answer at least 30 of 50 civics test questions.

(d) The commissioner and public schools and school districts must not charge students any fees related to this subdivision.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective for students enrolling in grade 9 in the 2017-2018 school year or later.

See the full bill here.

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