Controversy over Constitution test

By Christina Schauls

During the controversy resulting from doubts from students and faculty about the need for the Constitution test, lowered standards are yet another consideration.

The NIU Testing Service is continually making up new Constitution tests for students to take, said Political Science Chairman Lettie Wenner. Because each test is different, there must be a different passing score for each test, she said.

Wenner said a passing score for Spring 1989 semester’s test was 29 out of 50, while this semester’s passing score was 24.

“The passing score is different, but the percentage of people that pass the test is the same as in the past,” Wenner said. The reason for lowered passing scores are the attempt by the testing services to match former passing percentages, she said.

“The constitution test is not an appropriate test for a college student to have to take,” since they have already taken the test in high school and junior high, Wenner said.

In a previous interview with The Northern Star, Pamela Jackson, chairman of the General Education Commission of the Undergraduate Coordinating Council said, “The Council agreed that it was a waste of time to repeat a test which is so similar to one they have already taken.”

The Student Association held a vote of intent at the Dec. 3 meeting to delete the Constitution test requirement. SA President Huda Scheidelman said the test is not an accurate assessment of knowledge, but regurgitation of facts.

Wenner said she would prefer students to have to take a Political Science 100 class to complete the Constitution test requirement rather than just taking the test.

By requiring a class to pass the Constitution test, Wenner said she feels people will gain an understanding of the whole system of the government. “College students should leave college knowing about the government and their constitutional rights.”

The testing service continually creates new tests because some students take the exam with them after they have completed it, she said, adding the service knows when students take exams. By creating a new test, no one will have an unfair advantage over other students, she said.