The Naturalization Test (Revised)

October 2007

Contributed by Keil Hackley to the Weston Express

US CIS publicly introduced a redesign of the naturalization test on September 27, 2007. The government agency announced that it will wait another full year before applicants for naturalization will be required to take the revised version of the test. The one year period serves to properly prepare both adult educators and citizenship applicants for the revamped testing format.

The purpose behind the government initiated redesign of the naturalization test, efforts which began in the year 2000, has been the creation and implementation of a fair, meaningful, and better standardized naturalization process, guaranteeing a uniform and consistent testing experience across the United States . The revised test places emphasis on an applicant’s core understanding of American democracy next to requiring basic knowledge of the responsibilities and rights of U.S. citizens, in order to encourage a familiarization with essential American values. This portion of the revised test is taking cues from basic U.S. history and civics courses and consists of 100 additional history and government questions. The current English reading and writing section has been overhauled as well.

Before launching the final version of the new and improved naturalization test, US CIS, which took over responsibility for the redesign in April of 2005, sought the advice from a panel of adult education experts comprised of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), U.S. history and U.S. government scholars, and contractors specializing in test development among other interested parties. US CIS also initiated pilot testing of the new test version using ten sites nationwide, in order to generate feedback that would help in finalizing the testing procedures. The pilot contained a representative sample of persons who had reached different levels of education.

Depending on when a person applied for naturalization, the old or new version will be administered. If a naturalization application is received prior to October 1, 2008 and the naturalization interview is set before that date, the person will be presented with the current version of the test. If the person applied before October 1, 2008 and the interview is set to occur after that date, the applicant can choose between the current test and the redesigned version. Naturalization applications received after October 1, 2008 , will be matched with the new test design. Anyone scheduled for an interview past October 1, 2009 will take the new test as well independent of when the naturalization application was filed.

Keil Hackley is the senior partner at Hackley & Robertson, P.A. The law firm is located at 1391 Sawgrass Corporate Park in Sunrise , FL. You can contact Keil at 954-349-4994 or via email: kh@hackleyserrone.com