U.S. citizenship test called into question

7:00 AM, Mar 13, 2012   |    comments
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HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A new study from Michigan State University suggests that some questions on the citizenship exam lack relevance.

The research also shows that many of the questions were equally as difficult even for current citizens to answer.

Juan Alfaro is in charge of a program called, LAUP, that prepares immigrants for the exam.  Every week there are about 20 people in the classroom.

The civics section of the exam consists of 100 questions. 

"Could they add more or could they edit it better? Probably," says Alfaro.

Alfaro points to questions like "What is the longest river in the U.S?"

"Its more of a geographical thing, but how does that help you as a U.S. citizen?" says Alfaro.

The MSU study also found that current citizens didn't any better than non-citizens on most of the questions.

U.S Senator Carl Levin believes the test should focus more on the constitution than on local and U.S Lawmakers.

"Obviously those of us in office would like that our constituents know we're there and our names, but I would not make that a condition for legal citizenship," says Senator Levin. 

However, despite questions about the exam's content, the success rate for passing the test is very high.

"We have not had anyone from here fail. We're very fortunate for that," says Alforo.

Applicants only need to get six out of the ten questions selected correct in order to pass the test.

Supporters of the U.S citizenship test say it comes with a high reward and that those who pass should have knowledge of the country in a variety of topics.

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