Florida is committed to preparing students to become civically engaged and knowledgeable adults who make positive contributions to their communities. Florida students will graduate with sufficient knowledge of America's civics, particularly the principles reflected in the Unites States Constitution, so as to be capable of discharging their responsibilities as American citizens. On December 10, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis asked Commissioner Richard Corcoran to implement a new civic literacy requirement for high school students. Commissioner Corcoran offered school districts the opportunity to voluntarily administer a pilot of the civic literacy exam in Spring 2020.
In 2017, a college-level civic literacy requirement was put into state law. The pilot civic literacy exam for high school students will be the Florida Civic Literacy Test, the same exam used at the college level. This is a 100-question, multiple-choice, Pass/Fail exam (60% correct to pass). A State Board of Education rule will be proposed to require colleges to accept passing scores earned by high school students to meet the college-level civic literacy requirement. As an additional incentive, the proposed rule will retroactively apply to students graduating in 2020 that pass the pilot exam. More information on the pilot civic literacy exam can be found in the Civic Literacy Exam Pilot Guidance memo.
Resources to Foster Civic Literacy
- The American Presidency Project
- Avalon Project: The Federalist Papers
- Bill of Rights Institute: Founding Documents and Resources
- Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test
- Citizenship Resource Center: Study for the Test
- Constitutional Sources Project
- The Florida Constitution
- The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
- Government Publishing Office: Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government
- Khan Academy: U.S. Government and Civics
- Library of Congress: Primary Documents in American History
- Lou Frey Institute: Civics360
- National Archives: America's Founding Documents
- National Archives: Founders Online
- The Living Room Candidate
- United States Courts
Civic Literacy in Florida Schools
Civics and Government standards include Foundations of Government, Law, and the American Political System; Civic and Political Participation; and Structure and Functions of Government.
In order for a student to be promoted to high school from a school that includes middle grades 6, 7, and 8, the student must successfully complete a one-semester civics education course that includes the roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local governments; the structures and functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government; and the meaning and significance of historic documents, such as the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. Each student’s performance on the statewide, standardized end-of-course assessment in civics education constitutes 30 percent of the student’s final course grade.
Requirements for the receipt of a standard high school diploma include one credit in United States History and one-half credit in United States Government. Students are encouraged to participate in the pilot civic literacy exam. The department will report on which districts and schools participate in the pilot, and on student participation and pass rates based on enrollment.
Postsecondary Civic Literacy
Students initially entering a Florida College System institution or state university in 2018-19 and thereafter must demonstrate competency in civic literacy. Civic literacy competencies and outcomes include:
- An understanding of the basic principles of American democracy and how they are applied in our republican form of government.
- An understanding of the United States Constitution.
- Knowledge of the founding documents and how they have shaped the nature and functions of our institutions of self-governance.
- An understanding of landmark Supreme Court cases and their impact on law and society.