For Students

Civic Literacy Requirement

WHAT IS THE CIVIC LITERACY INITIATIVE?

All undergraduate degree-seeking students who enroll in a Florida public institution in fall 2018 and thereafter must demonstrate civic literacy. Amended legislation in 2021 now requires undergraduate degree-seeking students to meet the State of Florida’s Civic Literacy requirement by passing BOTH an approved civic literacy course and a passing score on a designated civic literacy assessment BEFORE graduation from the USF. Please talk to your academic advisor about whether you need to enroll in a course and take the assessment. We will update this website regularly as further details are clarified from the Board of Governors, State University System of Florida.

University of South Florida undergraduate students must complete the State of Florida’s Civic Literacy requirement prior to receiving their bachelor’s degree. Depending on when a student first enters a Florida public college or university, the following requirements must be met.

Students entering a Florida public college/university for the first time in summer/fall 2021 or later.

Students who enter any Florida public college or university as an undergraduate degree-seeking student for the FIRST time in Summer/Fall 2021 or after must earn credit in an approved civic literacy course AND achieve a passing score on a designated civic literacy assessment.

Who must meet this requirement?

  • All first-time in college (FTIC) degree seeking students who entered USF starting in Summer B/Fall 2021 or later
  • Transfer students who entered USF (or another Florida public college or university) as an undergraduate degree-seeking student in Summer B/Fall 2021 or later, including:
    • Students with an AA degree.
    • Students pursuing an additional bachelor’s degree.
    • Students who transferred from out-of-state.
    • Students who transferred from a private college or university in Florida.

How to meet this requirement:

Students entering Summer B/Fall 2021 and later must satisfy BOTH the Civic Literacy course and assessment requirements.

The course requirement may be met by doing one of the following:

  • Completing POS2041 American National Government with a grade of “D-“ or higher.
  • Completing AMH2020 A History of the United States Since 1877 with a grade of “D-“ or higher.
  • Receiving accelerated credit through completion of one of the following:
    • Advanced Placement Government and Politics: United States exam with a score of 3 or more.
    • Advanced Placement United States History exam with a score of 4 or more.
    • CLEP American Government exam with a score of 50 or more.
    • Cambridge AICE History, US History (AS-Level) with a score of A-E.
    • IB History: History of America with a score of of 5-7.

The assessment requirement may be met by doing one of the following:

  • Scoring 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement Government and Politics: United States exam.
  • Scoring 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement United States History exam.
  • Scoring 50 or higher on the CLEP American Government exam;
  • Scoring 60% or higher out of 100 on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Test (Civic Literacy Exam) is available through Canvas. There is not cost to students for the test itself.

Note to students graduating from a Florida high school:

Course requirement: The following students are considered to have met the course requirement portion of Civic Literacy and are NOT required to take an additional course at USF.

  • Students earning a D- or higher in POS2041 or AMH2020 via high school dual enrollment at a Florida postsecondary institution.
  • Students earning high school credit through Advanced Placement Government and Politics or Advanced Placement United States History.

Assessment requirement: High school students who pass the Florida Civic Literacy Exam taken in a United States Government course are exempt from the postsecondary testing requirement.

 

Students Entering a Florida Public College/University for the First Time in Summer/Fall 2018-Spring 2021

Students who enter any Florida public college or university as an undergraduate degree-seeking student for the FIRST time in beginning Fall 2018 through Summer 2021, must earn credit in an approved civic literacy course OR achieve a passing score on a designated civic literacy assessment (not both).

Who must meet this requirement?

  • All FTIC (first time in college) undergraduate degree-seeking students who enrolled at USF in Fall 2018 or later must meet the requirement.
  • Transfer students who entered USF (or another Florida public college or university) as degree-seeking in Fall 2018 or later must meet the requirement, including:
    • Students with an AA degree.
    • Student pursuing an additional bachelor’s degree.
    • Students who transferred from out-of-state.
    • Students who transferred from a private college or university in Florida.

  • Students who transferred to USF from another Florida public college or university who were enrolled as undergraduate degree-seeking students prior to Fall 2018 are not subject to the requirement.

How to meet this requirement:

Students entering beginning Fall 2018 through Summer 2021 must satisfy the Civic Literacy requirement by doing ONE of the following:

Students who have not met one of the requirements above (and are not enrolled in POS 2041: American National Government or AMH 2020: American History II) are auto-enrolled into the Civics Literacy Prep and Test Canvas Course which provides:

  • Preparation materials for the Civic Literacy Test and
  • Access to the Civic Literacy Test

FAQs by TopiC

SUS Students Subjected to the Requirement

How does the course and exam requirement apply to students who transfer to an SUS institution?

Out-of-state students transferring to an SUS institution during the 2021-22 academic year or thereafter, who have never previously enrolled in a public Florida institution (SUS or FCS), must meet the new civic literacy requirement, which includes both a course and an exam.

For in-state students or students that have been previously enrolled in a Florida public institution and are transferring back to a System institution, the institution should refer to Table 1 in this document to determine their cohort and civic literacy requirements.

If a student received an associate degree from an FCS institution prior to fall 2018 and is enrolled in a baccalaureate program beginning fall 2018 or after, does this requirement apply?

No, because the initial enrollment in a Florida public institution (SUS or FCS) was prior to fall 2018.

How does this requirement apply to dual enrollment students?

Enrollment in a Florida public institution (SUS or FCS) prior to graduating from high school does not exempt a student from having to meet the civic literacy requirement. These students would still be considered FTIC upon their enrollment in a Florida public institution.

How will universities know if a student transferring between public institutions within the State of Florida has met the civic literacy requirement?

Board of Governors office staff worked with the Department of Education, Office of Articulation, and the Florida College System to ensure that the FASTER system has a common notation. Transcripts will have Yes/No/Exempt indicators to show whether the civic literacy requirement has been satisfied.

During the 2021-22 academic year, Board of Governors office staff will continue to work with the Department of Education, Office of Articulation, and the Florida College System to discuss potential changes. Additional information may be forthcoming.

Does the civic literacy requirement apply to students seeking a second baccalaureate?

If a student has never enrolled in an SUS or FCS institution prior to fall 2018, yes. For students who enroll for the first time in fall 2018 and thereafter, refer to Table 1 in this document to determine their cohort and civic literacy requirements.

Beginning in fall 2021, Florida high school students who take the United States Government course must take the civic literacy assessment. If they pass, these students are exempt from the postsecondary exam requirement. How will postsecondary institutions be made aware of students’ performance on this exam?

The secondary FASTER transcripts will be updated to reflect if the student passed the civic literacy assessment.

 

Civic Literacy Options  

What qualifies as synchronous debate?

All sections of eligible courses (POSX041 and AMHX020), regardless of mode of delivery, must provide opportunities for synchronous discussions at least every other week when offered during the fall and spring terms. Courses offered during the summer should provide the equivalent minimum number of opportunities.

What if my institution’s course-level outcomes for POSX041 or AMHX020 do not align with the competencies in statute?

According to section 1007.25 (4)(b), Florida Statutes, courses identified as satisfying the civic literacy requirement, in this case POSX041 and AMHX020, must align with the competencies listed in the subsection beginning in fall 2018. Institutions should follow internal procedures to modify course outcomes to align with the competencies and work with the Office of Articulation to update the course profile(s) in the Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) database.

What if my institution’s POSX041 or AMHX020 course did not provide students with opportunities to engage synchronously in political discussions and civil debates with multiple points of view and to master the ability to synthesize information that informs civic decision-making?

According to section 1007.25 (4)(b)(1), Florida Statutes, courses must include such opportunities in order to be eligible for meeting the civic literacy requirement beginning with courses offered during summer B 2021.

What if POSX041 or AMHX020 do not align with a student's approved program of study?

If POSX041 or AMHX020 do not align with a student’s program of study, the options available will depend on the student’s first entry into a Florida public institution:

  • The institution should encourage the student to consider demonstrating competency through one of the approved assessments to avoid possible excess credit hours.

  • Academic advisors should inform students of the graduation requirement to complete both a civics literacy course and civics literacy assessment and work to include POSX041 and AMHX020 as part of the general education requirements to avoid excess hours.

What if an institution does not offer POSX041 or AMHX020?

Students first entering a Florida college or university for the first time in fall 2018  - summer A 2021 may take an approved exam in lieu of these courses or they have the option to take POS X041 and AMH X020 at a Florida college or university outside their home institution through the Transient Student Admission Application on Florida Shines. Students should contact their SUS institution for more information.

Students first entering a Florida college or university in Summer B2021 or after have the option to take POS X041 and AMH X020 at a Florida college or university outside their home institution through the Transient Student Admission Application on Florida Shines. Students should contact their SUS institution for more information.

Can POSX041 or AMHX020 be used to meet General Education Core Social Sciences requirement and the Civic Literacy graduation requirement?

Yes but the course must be completed with a grade of "C-" or higher to satisfy both General Education and Civic Literacy. If credit is earned with a grade lower than "C-", the course will only satisfy Civic Literacy requirement.

 

Additional Assessments

Which additional assessments are currently available?

Only the Naturalization Test - Civics (U.S. History and Government) is available for use for students enrolled in an SUS institution. The Florida Civics Literacy Exam is still in development by the Florida Department of Education and has not yet been approved for use by SUS institutions.

How can the institution access the Naturalization Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government)?

An authorized SUS institution representative may obtain an approved version of the assessment from Florida Virtual Campus, at no cost to the institution.

How many questions from the test bank of the Naturalization Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government) should be given to students?

Institutions must administer all 100 questions of the Naturalization Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government), which includes supplemental questions developed collaboratively by the SUS Board of Governors office staff, the FCS office staff and the Lou Frey Institute, and incorporated into the test. An authorized SUS institution representative may obtain an approved version from the Florida Virtual Campus.

What format will universities and colleges use to administer the Naturalization/Citizenship Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government)?

Institutions may choose to administer the approved version of the Naturalization/Citizenship Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government) in any format. Test administration can be given in, but not limited to, a learning management system (LMS), a paper-based examination, or another format that is designed to meet the needs of students with special needs. Institutions should ensure that the test is administered in a manner that maintains the integrity of the test and its content.

What is the cost of the U.S. Naturalization/Citizenship Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government)?

There should be no cost to students for the test itself. The approved version of the U.S. Naturalization/Citizenship Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government) is available from the Florida Virtual Campus without cost to institutions. There is no cost to the institution for the exam itself, however, beyond any institution-specific fees associated with administration of the exam.

Will institutions be required to keep a record of each student’s score on the U.S. Naturalization/Citizenship Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government)?

Yes. Institutions are required to maintain records of each student’s final passing score on the test. The scores, however, will not be noted on the transcript.

What happens if a student fails the Naturalization Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government)?

Institutions will develop and implement their own internal policies regarding test administration, including the number of attempts available to students. Students should contact their SUS institution directly for more information.

How many attempts does a student have to successfully pass the Naturalization Test – Civics (U.S. History and Government)?

Institutions will develop and implement their own policies related to test administration, including the number of attempts available to students. Students should contact their SUS institution directly for more information.

Will students who previously took the U.S. Naturalization/Citizenship Test to become a U.S. citizen be considered to have satisfied the Civic Literacy requirement?

No. Students who took the U.S. Naturalization/Citizenship Test to become a U.S. citizen will not have met the Civic Literacy requirement, as that test does not include the competencies as required by section 1007.25(4)(b)(2).


ABOUT THE CIVIC LITERACY TEST:

Universal among all Florida state university systems (SUS), the test spans 100 questions compiled by the Florida Board of Governors. Students must score 60% or higher and are allowed unlimited attempts.

WHEN DOES THE CIVIC LITERACY REQUIREMENT NEED TO BE FULFILLED?

The civic literacy requirement must be met in order to graduate. USF strongly encourages students to complete the civic literacy requirement within their first year to ensure timely graduation.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your academic advisor.