By Alexandra Phlox
American vegetation now outranks American college students in knowledge of history, according to standardized test results released Monday. U.S. educators were dismayed by the poor performance of the roughly 22 million American students who took the test, none of whom answered any of 100 questions correctly.
Although U.S. vegetation does not attend school and is considered functionally illiterate, it still scored significantly better than male and female students in all seven sections of the BT (Back Then) Proficiency Assessment Test.
“The younger generation’s ignorance of history is worse than abysmal,” said Wally Prescott, author of The History of Vinyl Place Mats. “It’s now so catastrophic that it threatens the very existence of the past. I mean, we’ve got a philosophical question here: if history occurred but people don’t study it or even acknowledge it, did it really happen? I don’t think it did.”
Among the test questions were:
- Was Thomas Jefferson a person?
- What happened in Russia?
- Why was the American Civil War so civil?
- Spell Africa.
- WWI + WWII = ____ ?
- Which book of the Bible narrates the development of jujitsu or judo?
- Who is the central figure of Christianity: Jesus, Governor Chris Christie, the Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, or an itinerant peasant woman from Minneapolis named Sarah Christianson?
- What was Julius Caesar’s favorite salad?
- Has civilization begun? If not, when is it expected to begin?
In an exit interview, students and vegetation commented on their attitudes toward history:
“I like to touch things. If you could stand in the present moment, like I’m doing now, and lean backward and touch the past with your finger, that would be really cool. But you can’t do it. One time I tried for twenty minutes to touch the American Revolution and got nothing but air.” (Emily, a person)
“If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.” (A blade of prairie grass, quoting Michael Crichton)
“History’s gone, man. The stuff that happened, assuming it really did, keeps getting smaller and smaller until…I don’t know, you’d probably need a kick-ass microscope to see it. Just move on, is how I feel.” (Jason, a person)