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American Civics Act

The American Civics Act requires that all Arizona students pass a basic civics test before graduating from high school. It was the first bill Governor Ducey signed, making Arizona the first state in the country to enact such a law.

Fulfilling a key campaign promise, Governor Ducey called on the Legislature to pass the American Civics Act in his 2015 State of the State address.

"This is an issue that can and should unite us," said Governor Ducey in January 2015. "These are our children, and not long from now, it will be for them to vote on who sits in your chairs and who stands at this podium. How can we expect them to protect the principles on which this country was founded, if we are not preparing them for that task right now?"

The American Civics Act requires high school students to correctly answer at least 60 out of 100 questions on a test identical to the civics component of the naturalization test used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  You can find a copy of the USCIS Naturalization test here.

Click here to find  A.R.S. § 15-741.

More on A.R.S. § 15-741:

      • A district school or charter school shall document on the pupil's transcript that the pupil has passed a test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States citizenship and immigration services as required by this section.

The governing board of a school district shall:

      • Prescribe curricula that include the academic standards in the required subject areas pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section.
      • Prescribe criteria for the graduation of pupils from the high schools in the school district. These criteria shall include accomplishment of the academic standards in at least reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies, as determined by district assessment. Other criteria may include additional measures of academic achievement and attendance. Pursuant to the prescribed graduation requirements adopted by the state board of education, the governing board may approve a rigorous computer science course that would fulfill a mathematics course required for graduation from high school. The governing board may approve a rigorous computer science course only if the rigorous computer science course includes significant mathematics content and the governing board determines the high school where the rigorous computer science course is offered has sufficient capacity, infrastructure and qualified staff, including competent teachers of computer science. The school district governing board or charter school governing body may determine the method and manner in which to administer a test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States citizenship and immigration services. A pupil who does not obtain a passing score on the test that is identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test may retake the test until the pupil obtains a passing score.

A teacher shall:

      • Determine whether to pass or fail a pupil in a course in high school as provided in section 15-521, paragraph 4 on the basis of the competency requirements, if any have been prescribed. The governing board, if it reviews the decision of a teacher to pass or fail a pupil in a course in high school as provided in section 15-342, paragraph 11, shall base its decision on the competency requirements, if any have been prescribed.

 

REQUEST A CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION

Certificate of Recognition

To request a Certificate of Recognition for high school students who have met the American Civics Act requirements, please click here. All certificates will be emailed back to the requestor in PDF form.

PROJECT CITIZEN (Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education)

Project Citizen is a portfolio-based civic education program for grades 5-12. It helps teachers and students understand public policy and use this information to create change in their community thereby empowering them and their teachers. Click here to read Project Citizen historical information, advisory committee members, supporting organizations and past state champions.

Project Citizen:

      • Is interdisciplinary
      • Is based on cooperative learning
      • Is an excellent model for performance assessment
      • Is an excellent method for implementing project based learning
      • Focuses on state and local government
      • Applies student learning to real public policy issues that concern them Develops participatory skills

Click here to find out more.

WE THE PEOPLE (Law for Kids)

The primary goal of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation's elementary and secondary students. What makes the program so successful is the design of its instructional program, including its innovative culminating activity.

The instructional program enhances students understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. At the same time, students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. 

Participants hold a simulated congressional hearing as the culminating activity for the We the People program. The entire class, working in cooperative teams, prepares and presents statements before a panel of community representatives who act as congressional committee members. Students then answer questions posed by the committee members. The format provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles while providing teachers with an excellent means of assessing performance.

Click here to find out more.

iCivics

Founded by Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2009, iCivics, is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in U.S. democracy. Find out more...

Meaningful Play: Play games, earn points, and put them to work supporting fellow students! Donate your points to your favorite student service project, and every semester, iCivics will support the group with the most points. 

Welcome TeachersiCivics supports you with effective and engaging digital resources for your classroom and students.

CIVICS GAME ADVANCED BY FORMER JUSTICE IS CLASSROOM HIT
November 13, 2016

Amid a contentious presidential campaign, a civics videogame from a group founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor got a lot of play in New York and New Jersey classrooms.

iCivics, a nonprofit, has released 19 free games aimed at helping students in grades 4 to 12 improve civil discourse, use evidence in arguments and understand others’ views.

Click here to read more.

ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL CITIZEN APP
April 15, 2016

Riley Danier, a 16-year-old Primavera Online High School student, has developed a free app to help students pass the Arizona civics test, which soon will be required for students to graduate. Read more here.

Riley's app can be downloaded at Lawforkids.org. Law for Kids provides resources, information, and news on Arizona laws to kids and parents.