American college students bombed on a recent test of their global literacy, showing that many "are not prepared to understand the world they will enter," said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Stop reading here if you want to test your own knowledge with this link to a shorter version of the 75-question quiz. The test was given to 1,203 randomly selected current or recent students and sponsored by the council and the National Geographic Society.
Fewer than half the students knew that Congress is the branch of government that declares war, that most Indonesians are Muslim, or that more Mexicans have been leaving the U.S. than entering it. Only 57 percent knew Sudan is in Africa. Only 25 percent knew China has a veto over United Nations Security Council resolutions. And just 12 percent knew the U.S. spends only 1 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid.
The median score on the test, which was scored in five-point ranges, was 51 percent to 55 percent of the answers right. Only 17 respondents of the 1,203 got an A, or at least 91 percent.
For students, being ill-informed "will have adverse consequences for their individual prosperity and for the country’s economic competitiveness, national security, and democracy," Haass said in a statement.
A survey accompaying the quiz asked students where they learned about national and international issues. Facebook was the source most often mentioned, at 43 percent.