Quite possibly the only thing that Donald Rumsfeld and Kelly Clarkson have in common is they are both wrong answers on the general knowledge quiz passed out among Castleton students late last semester.From Dick Cheney as U.S. Secretary of the State to Mount Everest being located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, students failed the quiz miserably.
At complete random, 50 students ranging from freshman to senior, male and female, participated in the quiz. Six general knowledge questions were asked concerning history, geogrophy, and even pop culture. On average, students scored only 22 percent.
The first question asked who is the United States secretary of the state? Now, if you find yourself scratching your head in bewilderment, you’d fit in with the 40 out of 50 students to respond.
“Oh, I know this!” stated many of the participating students.
“It is that guy . what’s his face?” others said as they gripped their pencil firmly trying to pick through their brains for another wrong answer.
It’s Condoleezza Rice, and she’s not a he.
The third question revealed how little students remember of major historical events.
Even major wars.
What war took place between 1950 and 1953? Well, I can promise it wasn’t WWI as some apparently thought. The Korean War was answered correctly only 16 times, which, incidentally, was the question that received the most right answers.
Speaking of wars, only 11 students could correctly identify Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
Matthew Kimball, a leading campaigner on campus against the war in Iraq, is troubled by the results.
“It just kind of shows the general arrogance and apathy of what our country is doing around the world and just not caring . The youth is really pacified,” he said.
Maybe so, but at least one student from another college suggested maybe it was a Castleton student issue and that the quiz if given elsewhere might garner better results.
“It’s just one place and maybe the quiz was at random, but that doesn’t speak for an entire country of college students,” said Nyal Monett, a UVM student who answered all the questions correctly.
Another question on the quiz asked who the winner of American Idol of season two was. This was the second most correctly answered question of the quiz. Thirteen students were able to pound out Ruben Studdard on the bottom of the paper. And most every paper had at least the correct name of other former American Idol winners from Kelly Clarkson to Fantasia.
“I’m actually surprised there aren’t more kids that answered (the American Idol question) right. American Idol was such a huge craze as far as the numbers go, Monett said while perusing the Internet trying to get the ratings and numbers for American Idol viewer ship.
Some students stuck their nose up in refusal to even look at the quiz. Others took a quick look and then declined to participate.
And while those who did take it didn’t fare well, some interviewed about it have a different idea about the college smarties –or lack thereof. Sara Korejwa, who attends Massachusetts Maritime Academy, said it would be impossible to store memory of a lot of general knowledge questions.
“I bet the numbers would go up a lot if you gave (students) multiple choice questions,” Korejwa says laughing. “Us students like multiple choice. I think a lot of people could give you the right answer if it was in a list instead of just picking it out of nowhere.”
The fact remains that 50 students took the quiz and of those 50 only 2 quizzes received a perfect score.
While taking the quiz, many students said it made them feel stupid. Others said that the questions were too hard and far from general knowledge. Maybe they were. Maybe not.
Castleton’s Matt Tuthill, in response to the poor grades, says that this is the reason why the rest of the world has such a poor outlook on Americans.
“This answers the rest of the world’s belief about Americans. It all starts with parenting . Parents need to focus more on making sure their kids are growing up caring about the world around them. If it doesn’t affect them, so why bother with it; that just seems like the personal attitudes of too many kids,” he said
The majority of students just laughed at the fact they did poorly, suggesting that it’s not taken serious enough to make any real change.
“I think what this goes to show is that we all need to pay more attention to the world around us and not be so caught up only by the things that affect us directly,” Korejwa said. “There are a lot of things that affect us indirectly also that we just don’t care enough about.”
“It think its time that we start to care. I think its time we start to act like students of a higher education.