Social Studies

Arizona Student Creates App for Citizenship Test

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — April 25, 2016 2 min read
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An Arizona teenager has created an app to help his peers study for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Test, which is now a graduation requirement for high schoolers in the state.

The Arizona Republic reports that Riley Danler, who attends an online school, created the app after taking a programming course. It’s available for now on,the website of the Arizona Bar Association’s charitable foundation. The foundation’s director is Danler’s grandmother.

Do you suspect that answering questions about the U.S. Constitution might not sound as enticing as the new Kardashian app to Grand Canyon State youth?

To address that concern and entice students to take the test, the Arizona teen has gained a corporate sponsor. McDonald’s is offering students Egg McMuffins in exchange for using the app and for passing the state’s citizenship test. The initiative’s name: “Be an Egg-Xemplary Citizen.”

Arizona was one of the first states to introduce the citizenship test as a graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2017. The state requires that students answer 60 out of 100 questions on the test correctly.

The Civics Education Initiative is hoping to introduce the requirement in more states in coming years.

Danler’s not the first student to use technology as a way to help his peers learn about citizenship: A group of Nebraska teens created a civics game late last year.

The simple apps play into some critics’ arguments against requiring students to take or pass the citizenship test: Some have claimed that simply memorizing the answers to the citizenship test does not guarantee that students have gained important knowledge about civics and government.

But the Civics Education Initiative and other advocates for the test cite studies showing that dismally few Americans can answer basic questions about citizenship, such as identifying the branches of government.

A measure that would have required students in nearby Colorado to take the test failed earlier this month, with opposing legislators arguing that it didn’t make sense to add on a required test at a time when the state is cutting back on other standardized tests.

Wondering if you could pass the test? You can give it a try here.

Photo: The sun sets behind a McDonald’s restaurant in Ebensburg, Pa. --Gene J. Puskar/AP-File

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.