USCIS Announces Nationwide Trial for Updates to the Naturalization Test
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Pursuant to President Biden's directive to review the naturalization process in his Executive Order 14012, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) has announced plans to conduct a nationwide trial for proposed changes to the current naturalization test for naturalized U.S. citizenship. As explained by USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou, "The naturalization test is a key step in becoming a U.S. citizen."
The naturalization test has four components: reading, writing, civics, and ability to speak English. While the reading and writing portions of the naturalization test are standard, the purposes of the trial are to test a civics component with updated format and content as well as a newly developed English-speaking component. These could become standard depending on the results of the trial. The proposed updates stem from a review conducted by USCIS subject matter experts and are consistent with the feedback that USCIS received from multiple external stakeholders. Specifically, the updates to be assessed during the nationwide trial are based on feedback from stakeholders about the standardization and structure of the naturalization test.
The proposed trial will take place in 2023, and is tentatively expected to run for a five-month period. USCIS will conduct the trial with the help of volunteer community-based organizations who work with immigrant English language learners and lawful permanent residents preparing for naturalization. USCIS will seek approximately 1,500 individuals enrolled in adult education classes to take the trial test. Thereafter, USCIS will work with a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), composed of external subject matter experts from the field of language acquisition, U.S. history and civics, and test development, to trial data and provide recommendations on suitability of items and a review of educational materials for the new test. USCIS will use the recommendations from TAG and the trial test data to develop the final test item banks which USCIS would announce through a Federal Register Notice. USCIS expects the new updates to be implemented by late 2024. For now, the next step in USCIS' plans to introduce and conduct this nationwide trial will be an initial virtual engagement to officially introduce the trial testing on Jan. 12, 2023. USCIS welcomes all interested parties to submit written data, views, comments, and arguments on all aspects of this trial and the naturalization test via e-mail at [email protected]. Please note that throughout the trial process, applicants who file Form N-400 will continue to take the current naturalization test, not the trial test.
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