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College Exit Exam Proposal

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College Exit Exam Proposal

America has always been regarded as the land of opportunity and the best nation in the world to live in. This has been clearly evident over the history of the United States and continues today through the countless multitudes of immigrants that cross its borders everyday. How is it then that the public opinion of America according to the rest of the world has decreased severely and continues to do so? The answer to this lies in the overwhelming number of countries that view Americans as "rude" (Allen). A basic definition of "rude" that helps to clear up this opinion is "uncivil, lacking in manners or socially acceptable behavior". In essence, the fact that Americans don't act acceptable to the rest of the world directly affects their public opinion. Americans lack this acceptable behavior because they are uneducated about the rest of the world. It's not even a lack of international behavior knowledge, but a lack of general world knowledge. To help and improve this international ranking, it is proposed that college students be required to pass a world knowledge exit exam before they are allowed to graduate.

In a recent survey conducted by The Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA) at the University of Connecticut, 65 percent of college seniors were unable to pass a U.S. history survey that was based on the high school level. Such schools included in the survey were Yale, Smith, Northwestern, and Bowdoin (Starr). This begs the question that if college seniors at some of the most prestigious schools cannot pass a high school level history test, how could they possibly fare in the realm of world knowledge? This is such a big problem that one senator, Democrat Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut is quoted as saying "[The] survey reveals that our next generation of leaders and citizens is leaving college with a stunning lack of knowledgeÐ'..." (Starr). The one sure way to help resolve this national ignorance and to improve our international ranking is to implement a world knowledge exit exam that must be passed in order to receive a college degree. This would require that all college graduate Americans have a fundamental understanding of the world, past and present. What better way could there be to slowly increase the public opinion of America? College graduates are considered the top of the education totem poll in America and requiring them to have this knowledge would not only produce better Americans but would trickle down the totem poll to increase overall national knowledge of the world.

What has happened to Americans over the last generation to create such a lack of interest in the rest of the world? The answer to that lies in the ever growing interest in America itself, mainly through mainstream pop culture. In the same survey conducted by the University of Connecticut, 98 percent of the students answered Snoop Dogg's occupation as a rapper correctly (Starr). Ð'¬Ð'¬It is clearly evident that Americans know more about movie stars than about international affairs. This is a direct result of America's youth being raised through television and pop culture. To return the focus to important aspects such as world knowledge, it will take a huge step by America lead by the leaders of the future. With these future leaders focusing themselves on world knowledge through a required college exit exam, they would be taking America in the right direction. They would in turn be generating a nation of better Americans.

The phrase, better American, used above, draws from the fact that empowered with world knowledge, Americans would become better equipped to lead future America not only at home but abroad. America requires leaders to be well versed in internationalism because that is the only way America prospers. Without a good understanding of the world, American diplomacy and economic status suffer. Therefore, if college graduates are the future diplomats and leaders of America, it is without a doubt fundamentally important that they have a firm grasp on international knowledge. Requiring a world knowledge exit exam from college would be a sure way to ensure that college graduates were instilled with that fundamental element of world knowledge. The exit exam would be a safeguard to ensure that America's future leaders were prepared to lead such a nation aside from the fact that it would begin to drastically improve the international opinion of Americans.

With every debatable topic, there are always two sides to the coin. Those who oppose such an exit exam are predominantly college students themselves. In an informal survey of a few college students, they contested that requiring such



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