HB 578 Requires high school students and students seeking a high school equivalency certificate to receive a passing grade on a basic civics test

Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -

SCS/HCS/HBs 578, 574 & 584 - This act creates the "Missouri Civics Education Initiative."

A student of a college or university, who, after earning a passing grade in a course of instruction for United States or Missouri history or constitution, transfers to another college or university, is not required to earn a passing grade in another such course as a condition precedent to graduation.

This act repeals the prohibition on students receiving a certificate of graduation without having satisfactorily passed an examination on the provisions and principles of the United States and Missouri constitutions, American history, and American institutions. However, to receive a certificate of graduation, public or private schools other than private trade schools may require a passing score on an examination of the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution, Missouri Constitution, or both. (Section 170.011)

Any student entering ninth grade after July 1, 2016, who is attending a public, charter, or private school, except for private trade schools, or a student seeking to complete a high school equivalency certificate, must, as a condition of high school graduation or its equivalent, take and receive a passing grade on a basic civics test similar to the civics portion of the United States Naturalization test, produced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The test will consist of questions similar to the one hundred questions used by the USCIS. A school district will choose the number of questions for the test. In order to receive a passing score on the test, a student must answer at least sixty percent of the questions correctly. A student may take the test as many times as necessary for passage but must receive a passing score.

Each public school, charter school, or private school, except for private trade schools, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must certify that a student has taken and received a passing grade on the test. (Section 170.345)

Each district must adopt a policy permitting a student with a disability to receive a waiver from the basic civics test requirement if the student's IEP committee recommends it. (Section 170.345)

This act is similar to SB 271 (2015) and SB 273 (2015) and provisions contained in CCS#2/HCS/SCS/SB 172 (2015) and in HCS/SB 113 (2015).


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