Students tested on Americanism, government

The American Legion Department of Wisconsin’s Americanism and Government Scholarship program has been testing youth statewide for the past 23 years on their knowledge of U.S. citizenship, the U.S. Constitution, flag etiquette and government at the federal, state, county and city level. The test is offered to students in grades 10 through 12, who are either home-schooled or enrolled in a public, private or parochial school within the state of Wisconsin. Thirty-two scholarships are awarded, 10 $250 scholarships to both sophomores and juniors, and 12 $500 scholarships to seniors.

The test moved from paper-based to an online format this year, allowing eligible students to take the test at their convenience during the 12-day testing period in April. "This being our first year utilizing computer-based testing in our high schools, versus the old method of direct mail and Legionnaires visiting the schools, has greatly enhanced visibility and participation," said Wisconsin Department Commander Wayne Jensen.

Three separate email blasts were sent to public and private schools starting in January to promote the new online test. And the success was overwhelming. Nearly 4,400 students from 162 schools took the test by accessing it from the department’s website:  

The scholarship test is comprised of 50 multiple choice and true or false questions, followed by a 300 word or less essay question. The essay question validates the students test. Students were allowed one hour once they began the test, and they were not able to restart or pause during the test, use notes or resources, or change answers to questions. Test scores were viewable upon completion.

Once the testing period ended, the Americanism and Government Committee chairman met with district chairman to select the scholarship recipients.

"This was an important strategic initiative reward that enhanced participation in all our Americanism and Children & Youth programs," Jensen said.