What’s New in Online Civics Education and Citizenship Prep?
By Jennifer Gagliardi
ESL/Citizenship Teacher, LINCS Moderator, OTAN SME
posted May 2023
Below are seven new online civics education and citizenship resources from USCIS, LINCS, and more. But first things first, the TEST!
Naturalization Test Redesign Development 2022
On Dec. 14, 2022. the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to conduct a nationwide trial of proposed changes to the current naturalization test. This trial will include changes to the English-speaking portion and the content and format of the civics portion of the naturalization test.
A pre-trial of the redesigned test has been concluded by select community-based organizations and careful preparations are being made to extend the trial over 5 months (ending late Sept 2023) to adult schools and citizenship programs. The trial test consists of two parts delivered via computer/tablet that has sound and voice-recording capability. There are two trial tests:
- A Multiple-Choice Civics test from a battery 125 civics questions similar to the 2008 civics test. (4 choices; no "none of the above," etc.)
- A standardized picture-based Speaking test (Daily Routines, Weather. Food, Shopping, School) (similar to Best Plus 2.0 or TOEIC Bridge). Prompt: "Tell me about this picture." Scored based on relevant content vocabulary / phrases.
Since many of our adult learners are co-enrolled in ESL and Citizenship programs, schools can choose to have their students (of any program enrollment or residence status) participate in the Speaking Test only, or have students in their Citizenship Prep program participate in the Speaking and Civics test. USCIS is making this distinction to maintain data integrity. Basic demographic date will be collected, but no personal identifiable information will be collected.
The results of the trial will be review by USCIS staff and technical advisory group (TAG).
Non-profits and adult-ed programs can volunteer to participate for the USCIS Naturalization Speaking and Civics Test Redesign Development 2022 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information, visit: USCIS Naturalization Test Redesign Development 2022 page includes announcements to national redesign engagements, webinar slides and a summary of the questions asked during the engagements.
Citizenship Test Revision Will Create New Barriers to Naturalization by Bill Bliss 2023-03-02
Update on the Citizenship Test Redesign Project by Lynne Weintraub, Citizenship News 2023-04-10
Uscis Eligible to Naturalize Fact-Sheets
Starting last year, USCIS release a series of Eligible to Naturalize fact-sheets based on data from the Office of Immigration Statistics. Information includes the number of Legal Permanent Residents (LPR's) who are eligible to naturalize by country of origin, number of years as in LPR status, category of admission, gender, age, and zip code. What is interesting to note is the location of our adult school and program offerings—particularly ESL/Citizenship Prep classes—in relation to the location, age, and language needs of LPR's eligible to naturalize. Why are these people U.S. citizens yet? Schools may want to consider fine-tuning their community outreach with the goal of cultivating new voters and Adult Education advocates. Fact-sheets also include other large population centers as well as promoting citizenship for homeless and low-income LPR's. Below are the California fact sheets.
Total CA LPR's 1,028,930 | CA Eligible Voters: 26,718,486 | CA Registered Voters: 21,980,768
LPR's per zip code in Santa Clara County
Milpitas, CA 95035 (my home town) leads the way!
See y'all at Milpitas Adult School!
New on @USCIS YouTube
In April 2023, USCIS released Multi-Language Naturalization Process Presentations, a playlist which describes U.S. citizenship requirements and a provides a brief overview of the naturalization process. The languages include: Arabic, Burmese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, English, Farsi, Haitian Creole, Korean, Kurdish, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language (ASL). The content will be familiar for those who have attended USCIS teacher trainings. It is great to have a clear and concise resource to share with our students in their native language.
Recently, USCIS added several videos to support recent Afghan Nationals: How to Create an Online Account (Dari | English | Pashto) and Applying for Asylum (Dari | English | Pashto).
USCIS has collected about 20 videos into a How To playlist and has also posted a 4-video series which describes the Naturalization Interview and Test.
New Resources From LINCS.ed.gov
In December 2022, The Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) announced two new forums: the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group moderated by Dr. Carmine Stewart and the Civics Education and Citizenship group moderated by Jennifer Gagliardi (OTAN SME). These forums post the latest news and resources, facilitate ongoing discussions, and host monthly webinars.
LINCS has also added more resources to the Enhancing Access for Refugees and New Americans web page,an interactive IELCE Immigrant Integration Framework that links to separate pages with resources on a variety of topics that include integrated education and training (IET), rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic participation, partnerships, and workforce preparation activities.
To support the EARN federal initiative, LINCS released a new video, "Contextualizing Civics for the Workplace" video | video with 508 Audio Description) that showcases how Montgomery College, in Maryland, contextualizes civics content in Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education (IELCE) activities to prepare learners for Integrated Education and Training (IET) in their pharmacy tech program. A quote from the video expresses the goal of the EARN Project:
"I like to think about the idea of civics more in terms of empowerment. . . The goal is for the students to feel that they have a good understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace with the health care system or with pharmacy in particular."
At COABE 2023, LINCS introduce a series of Profession Development Guides which helps users explore the PD opportunities on the LINCS site, including the Community, Courses, the Resource Collection, State Resources, Federal Initiatives, and the Learner Center. Six guides are now available, including one for Civics Education and Citizenship, with more to guides to come soon.
Content-Integrated Language Instruction for Adults With Technology Support Project (Cilia-T)
One of the most interesting workshops at COABE 2023, Developing a Digital Literacy Skills Roadmap, was presented by Nell Eckersley, who described the Content-Integrated Language Instruction for Adults with Technology Support project's (CILIA-T) development a road map of digital literacy skills to integrate into the ESOL Civics curriculum. I was really impressed by deft melding of adult ed pedagogy, digital literacy content, and civics. This project has the potential to transform adult Civics education curriculum. Stay tuned!
The Constitution EXPLAINED!
Starting planning NOW for Constitution and Citizenship Day September 17, 2023:
The Center for Civic Education and iCivics joined with scholar Linda Monk JD to produce 35 videos and lesson plans entitled, "The Constitution Explained," to explain key aspects of the U.S. Constitution. Check the respective Civics Ed and iCivics YouTube channels for videos.
Elizabeth Claire's ESL Materials has just updated US Constitution with a Side-by-Side Translation in Simple English available as a free PDF download.
The National Constitution Center also released, "Constitution 101". These resources can be easily adapted in adult education civics curriculum and citizenship classes.
VOA Learning English has audio, video, and textual resources about the U.S. Constitution, the Branches of Government, and history of the United States for intermediate and advanced ESL students.
Adult Civics Education Calendar
I have maintained my blog US Citizenship Podcast since 2007 and have posted over 5200 daily entries about Citizenship and Civics news and resources. I especially enjoy curating posts about American civic and cultural holidays to encourage Citizenship students.
Recently, I have developed a new calendar, the Adult Education Civics Calendar, which collects and concentrates these resources that can be easily importable Google Calendar. As of this writing, I have completed January to May 2023. In the near future, I will finish the complete 2023 calendar year, and in the future, I plan to extend the recurring events 2 years, with special attention on the run-up to the 2024 General Election. I also plan to add adult ed conferences such at OTAN TDLS, advocacy opportunities such as Adult Ed Week, and commemorations such as the Signing of the HIPPA Act of 1996 on August 21, a law that is studied by our IELCE/IET medical tech students.
Resources for CA Adult Education Week on the Adult Civics Calendar
I am looking for beta-testers—people who are willing to try out the calendar and give me feedback. Thanks in advance!
- Go to your Google Calendar
- Bottom Left corner: Click the "+" (add)
- Choose "Subscribe to Calendar"
- Add calendar: email@example.com
- Google offers you optional settings
- Click back to your calendar
I hope to see you online at my upcoming OTAN Tech Talk on May 12 or join me in the LINCS Civics Education and Citizenship soon!