ARKANSAS (KFSM) — Arkansas high school graduates must now pass an exam similar to the citizenship exam before they can get their diploma.
The Arkansas Civics Exam, or Act 478, is a 100 question test with questions you would find if you were taking the United States Citizen Test. The new law went into effect for the 2018-19 school year and all Arkansas students must pass the test in order to get their diplomas.
The electronic test consists of questions you might see on the citizenship exam about geography and history.
The questions are general knowledge questions like who is in charge of the Executive Branch of who makes Federal Laws.
"I was nervous at first because I didn’t know exactly what it would be out, but I felt pretty prepared by most of my classes, like my civics classes," Pugh said.
Senior Patrick Pugh is one of the almost 3,000 Bentonville students who has already passed the exam since the law went into effect at the start of the school year.
"It seemed like a bigger deal than it was. I just answered the questions and did pretty good," Pugh said.
Social Studies Instructional Specialist for Bentonville Schools Sarah Dewitt says teachers have had about a year to prepare students. She said they started testing a group of juniors last year.
"They have found that students have been pretty successful. That the test tests general knowledge and important things that we as social studies teachers do think it's important for our students to all know and understand and if this is the way the state wants to measure it then we are okay with it," Dewitt said.
In order to pass the test, students must get 60 percent of the questions correctly. So far, only five Bentonville students have not passed the exam. There is no timeline on the test and students can retake it until they pass.
Arkansas is one of less than 20 states that have laws requiring students to pass the exam before graduation.