Test Your Knowledge of American Education

Plato's_Academy_mosaic_from_PompeiiWe are in the middle of another school year in the United States, and I thought it might be fun to look at a little quiz (small test) on American education. Try to answer the following seven questions as best you can, then look at the bottom of the page for the answers (but read the questions first – no cheating (being dishonest)!).

1. How many children are enrolled in (attend; are part of) primary (elementary; K-6) and secondary (high school; 7-12) education in the U.S.?
A. 27 million
B. 35 million
C. 55 million
D. 62 million

2. What percentage of public schools in the U.S. have Internet access?
A. 50%
B. 75%
C. 90%
D. 100%

3. Which Supreme Court decision declared (decided) that the segregation (separating students based on some characteristic) of public schools by race to be unconstitutional (against the fundamental law of the United States, the Constitution)?
A. Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke
B. Brown v. Board of Education
C. Hopwood v. State of Texas
D. Bob Jones Univ. v. United States

4. Which test is the most common standardized test (usually given to large numbers of students nationally) required for admission to most undergraduate institutions (colleges or universities for students with a high school degree) in the U.S.?

5. What kind of visa (official government permission) does a non-U.S. citizen need if he or she has been accepted into a program to study, or to conduct research (do scientific investigations) at a U.S. college or university?
A. M Visa
B. F Visa
C. J Visa
D. K Visa

6. Which of the following statements (sentences) about community colleges is true?
A. Community Colleges provide two-year associates degree programs but do not award (give to students) Bachelors, Masters, or Doctoral degrees.
B. Community Colleges provide training to members of the community in which they are located.
C. Community colleges provide more hands-on (practical) and vocational (for a specific kind of job that normally does not require a Bachelors degree) training than four year colleges and universities.
D. All of the above.

7. Accreditation (approval from a special kind of education organization given to a school) of U.S. schools, postsecondary institutions (colleges and universities), and other education providers is:
A. Mandatory (required) for all institutions
B. Mandatory only for institutions with more than 5,000 students
C. Mandatory only for institutions offering services to students with special needs
D. A voluntary (not required) process.


1 – Total number of students: (C) 55 million. California has the single largest number of students, with more than six million, followed by Texas with around 5 million and New York with a little more than three million.

2 – Percentage of schools with Internet: (D) 100%. Also interesting to note: Percentage of students who spend time on the Internet in school and are actually studying: 0%.

3 – Desegregation ruling: (B) Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954 (see English Café 166). The other court cases were all related to education and race, but not desegregation. The Bakke case was about affirmative action (giving certain students advantages in admission due to their race or sex), as was Hopwood. Bob Jones related to racial discrimination at a university.

4 – Undergraduate admissions test: (B) SAT I, which used to stand for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The test is given by a private company but used by most universities. The ACT is similar to the SAT, but from another testing company. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is used to test the English of international students wanting to attend U.S. colleges. The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is a test for those who want to get a Masters or Ph.D. at an American university.

5 – Student visa: (B) F Visa, although M Visa is also a possible answer here. M Visas apply just to students of vocational schools, however. Come to think of it (now that I am thinking more carefully about this), the J Visa can be used for people coming to the U.S. to do specialized medical or business training, too, although it is typically for “cultural exchange” programs. The K Visa is for the fiancé (man you plan to marry) or fiancée (woman you plan to marry) of an American citizen. The difficult part of this visa is not getting permission from the U.S. government, but from the person you want to marry.

6 – Community colleges: (D) All of the above. We talked about community colleges in English Café 135.

7 – Accreditation: (D) A voluntary process. Most people are surprised to learn that there is no law that requires educational institutions like colleges and universities to get “accredited.” However, most schools do go through the process of accreditation in part in order to show their students that they are, in fact, legitimate schools.

Note: Material for these questions comes in part from the U.S. State Department’s website.


Photo credit: Plato’s Academy mosaic from Pompeii, Wikipedia, PD

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14 Responses to Test Your Knowledge of American Education

  1. A+M says:

    Dear Dr. Jeff
    Thank U for Ur nice attitude.

  2. Peter says:

    Hi chief,
    Welcome back to our blog.
    It is always good to read from u
    Well,I answered them all right.what is my reward boss?:))
    Well,count me out my man. it is not fair to my fellow classmates simce I live right under the nose of U.S. ,so I know the provided info above as common knowledge.
    U know ,I live in the neighboring country. The education level is pretty much the same here.

    We ,too, enjoy 100 percent Internet acess in all educational institutes across Canada


  3. emiliano says:

    so nice to see you again in the blog. We all know you were working on new ideas to make this ESL poscast even better but we
    miss you Jeff a lot.

    About this new subject I have to confess that only two has been my goal.
    Number second and fourth only, I´m sorry but that is the truth.

    My best to you Jeff and I hope to see you soon.


  4. Cauat says:

    Dear Dr. Jeff

    Haha..Those questions were hard for a non-Americans to answer..I only know the third question because i have some impression about ‘Brown vs. Board’ in your eslcafe. But it’s long time ago, maybe last year…

    It makes me feel that being born in the US does not mean you know everything about that.. Am i right? Is that anyone get a full score?

  5. Thiago Messiah says:

    Thank you so much Jeff, for this post!!!
    It helped me a lot 😀

    Keep up with the awesome work

    Thiago Messias

  6. parviz says:

    Dear Jeff,
    welcome back man

    I has always been my habit to peek to the conclusion. that’s why I got 7 correct answers.

    believe me I didn’t mean to cheat.

  7. Dan says:

    Hey Guys! how are you all doing?

    Hello Jeff, and thanks for the newsletters. Very usefull info, written in plain English very easy to understand.

    Congr! Peter. you are the first of the class. I did badly with the test.

    Tanks and have a good week guys.

  8. Dan says:

    Can I share with you guys something I witnessed today? Just a short and simple story.

    My neighbor has this big and hard coated white dog.

    He is used to combing out the dog and leaving the remaining fur on the yard.

    I can see this pile of white fur from my window.

    What I wanted to tell you, is that today there was this crow picking up the fur and flying away with it.

    I do not what for. Probably it is going to use it for its nest.

    I found the scene cute and interesting.

    That’s all. Thanks guys.

  9. emiliano says:

    Congratulations to all Christians, Habemus Papa.
    Francisco I, felicidades a todos los Argentinos y Latinos en General.
    Primer papa jesuita de la Historia.
    Es genial, educado por jesuitas durante mas de 10 años, se que
    es una persona inteligente.
    Los jesuitas siempre lo han sido a lo largo de su historia.
    A su jefe, le llamaban el Papa Negro.
    “Francisco I, congratulations Argentina and all South america. First Jesuit Pope, me being educanted
    by jesuits for more than 10 years I know by my own experience that it is sure he is inteligent person,
    all of them have being inteligent and have power along the history”

    Ignacio de Loyola, Spanish, was the man who founded the order of the Jesuits about 1534 – 1540
    The Superior General has been called “The black pope” because the garments is black, has a lot of
    power and his position as Superior of the Order is for life, but lately only two have resigned for
    reasons of health, the first Pedro Arrupe in 1983….it is something similar at the Popes.



  10. emiliano says:

    Sorry, Catholics Christians……only.
    There are Protestants and Ortodoxos….who are also Christians…SORRY.

    My best, emi

  11. HILARIO says:

    X RAYS TO THE U.S. SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.- Thanks a lot for this accurate testing of my poor knowledge about the educational nomenclatura and griefs of the U.S. system, it is probably due to some extent to the fact that, much the same as most of us, language fighters as esl’s listeners, that I’m non-U.S. citizen. My score has been something as to not take it into account at all. Regarding the test, in MHO, whatever the structure be, it must guarantee in the last end, that the so called social changing’s engine is activated, that there’s no segregation of any kind, that biological, organic, Darwinian ..and so forth sort of opening in accessing to high-end top knowledge is going to provide new blood and neurones to the superpower’ structures of society. What matters very much is the final result, the quality output, because education is a weapon loaded with future but also it is for rest of global competitors. You can’t save ammunition in the front line of the battle if you aspire to win the war of maintaining a certain level of well being and a worthy social protective system. My curious concern is about the last test item issue, that of accreditation, it appears to be the most obscure and shady. Because, who credits to the accreditors? which accreditation overcomes to the other’s one? Where the limits are between social purpose and others like core-hard tuition business.? It seems to be a bit much more of the same that has been happening with credit rating agencies, does it sound to most of you like as that?

  12. Peter says:

    I have a lot on my mind . I can’t sleep
    So , I figured to drop a like here.
    There is one thing I remembered
    There was this protest rather Rally one month ago or so in Toronto against the government decision on cutting school budget.
    Here,in Canada , there are some sort of money shortage. I mean they were gonna cut the school operating budget to remain solvent. By that I mean to keep their head above water. U know, the budget allocation for schooling in Canada is low as it is.
    I studied in colleges here two times. All they do is to get money from us and expand the university space in order to accommodate more and more student for the following school tears instead of allocating the money to upgrade equipment and renovate labs or get more reference books for students.
    the cost of education is too high here
    The get the money and the claim that the money pumps into the system to improve the overall education system.
    U see people run around all year round but they have nothing to show for


  13. Dan says:


    To me it does NOT sound like that.

    What on earth do rating agencies have to do with accreditations of colleges and universities.

    I do not see anything shady/ obscure. I mean it is clear and well explained.

    At your question ” who credits to the accreditors?” my guessing is that is done by the State government or Federal government.


  14. Tania says:

    Hi! Welcome back, dear Jeff!
    You came back bringing us the spring in our souls.

    Yes, “spring is the time of plans and projects”.

    All the best for you,


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