The Biden administration announced plans to alter the civics component of the naturalization test required for immigrants to become U.S. citizens by changing responses to multiple choice and adding new material to be covered.

According to a notice in the Federal Register published Wednesday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to conduct a trial next year with the aim of ultimately making the change to the test.

‘The naturalization test is a key step in becoming a U.S. citizen,’ USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou said in a statement. ‘We welcome input from – and the participation of – stakeholders who are familiar with this important process, as we continue to improve and update our naturalization test, ensuring that it is consistent with industry testing standards.’

The current test requires applicants to answer six of 10 questions correctly, with questions taken from a bank of 100 possible questions. The questions are asked orally. The proposed new test would show questions on a tablet screen, and applicants would choose an answer from four multiple-choice responses.

The Federal Register notice also indicated that the trial test will cover some new material in addition to what is currently being tested.

‘Much of the trial civics content will be familiar to adult citizenship students and will be similar to the current civics test content,’ the notice said. ‘The trial test will also contain new test items based on a design framework that includes an external review by subject matter experts in the field of test development.’

The notice did not go into specifics over what kind of new material will be included in the trial.

The Trump administration had proposed its own changes to the test – keeping the oral administration but requiring most applicants to answer 12 of 20 questions correctly – but the Biden administration scrapped those changes.

The Biden administration is also looking into a standardized English speaking component of the test, which will involve applicants asked to describe a number of photographs.

To conduct the test trial, USCIS plans to get volunteers from Community-Based Organizations. The administration hopes to get roughly 1,500 participants in adult education classes to participate in the trial.

The trial is expected to run for five months in 2023, with the expectation of implementing the changes in late 2024.

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