Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Culture Quiz Results

We asked 144 students to write their answers to the following questions:

1. Who was the first American in space?
2. Who perpetrated the Bataan Death March?
3. Who were the Khmer Rouge?
4. Name the first book of the Bible.
5. Who wrote, “With malice towards none; with charity to all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right…”
6. To whom did Churchill refer when he said “Never in the field of human conflict, has so much been owed, by so many, to so few.”?

And I got the following results:
Around half (54%) could name the first book of the Bible. A little more than a quarter (28%) knew that the Japanese were the perpetrators the Bataan Death March.
4% knew that the first American in space was Alan Shepard. Popular answers were Neil Armstrong, the trumpet player Louis Armstrong and the Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong. Slightly over one in twenty (6%) recognized Abraham Lincoln’s quote from the Second Inaugural address; some attributed the quote to Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. Fewer than one in twenty (3%) s knew that the Khmer Rouge were the communist murderers responsible for the annihilation of 1/3 of Cambodia’s whole population, a massive feat of genocide. Fewer than one in twenty (3%) knew that Churchill was thanking the Royal Air Force for its heroic victory in the Battle of Britain; more than twice as many (8%) thought that Churchill was talking about the Nazis—an extraordinary answer suggesting either an inability to read English or to think straight.
40% of students could not answer a single question.

I will be writing a more complete article shortly to further explain the results of my poll.


At 8:31 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

Oh no Dan! We didn't pass your precious culture quiz! I guess you'd better ship us away so that you can detoxify your country...

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Nick Speth said...

God, Kyle, chill out. Did you take the quiz yourself? Nowhere in Dan's piece did he suggest people were less than American for not knowing these things.

But it seems to me I remember something about a reputedly out-of-touch President being ridiculed for not knowing the price of a gallon of milk. Who was that . . .

At 3:54 AM, Blogger allen said...

Nick, what would a liberal be without their precious, false dichotomies? Just a garden variety narcissist.

Don't worry Kyle, you're quite safe to believe anything you want as you well know. Liberals have the courage of their convictions as long as there's no danger, inconvenience or much cost associated with them.

So get an airline ticket using daddy's Mastercard so you can join the "Troops Out Now Coalition" to protest the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq. It's the least you can do.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

I suppose we liberals also have a sense of humor too... c'mon people, lighten up a little... you're scaring me

At 1:34 PM, Blogger MyPoint said...

without getting bent out of shape, the least we can do is lament the level of knowledge the kids know in this country. That may be the first step toward raising the level of education.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

me and my friend made it
have a look

At 2:05 PM, Blogger SinaMoravej said...

how do u disable anonymous comments?

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Another Bleeding Heart Liberal said...

Interesting quiz. However, I hardly think it's fair. You said in a previous post that you thought these questions to be common knowledge. I couldn't answer many of them, but I thought I must have not been a good enough standard. So, I asked my mom, a college graduate and schoolteacher. The only two questions she got right were the one about the Khmer Rouge, and the first book of the Bible. How can these questions be considered common knowledge when, apparently, the common people don't know them?

At 7:32 PM, Blogger unluckyluciano said...

Hello, my name is Lucian, I am a paleocon, take a look at my blog, if you would like you can become a correspondant.

At 2:29 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Ummmm, Bleeding Heart Liberal, have you considered that the fact that your mother could only answer two of the questions correctly may say more about the state of the academy and the current educational establishment than it does about the fairness of the test?

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