According to this article in the nationalpost 33% of american 8th graders believe that Canada is run by a dictatorship:

In recent results from the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress — billed as the Nation’s Report Card — fully 33 per cent of American 8th graders said Canada, Australia and France are dictatorships of one kind or another.

Is the following claim true?

  • Very weird. I found no evidence online. – Shougo Makishima May 19 '15 at 17:14
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    @georgechalhoub I'm not sure that by itself constitutes a sufficient answer, since it's just the study that the article cites (and can be found through a simple Google search). I think a better answer would need more studies and data either backing this up or refuting it, and I don't really have time to hunt that down. – Reinstate Monica -- notmaynard May 19 '15 at 17:47
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    The article in the question makes a claim about the answers to a question, and the link backs it up exactly. I don't know why that wouldn't be an answer. Are we expecting a more authoritative source, in order to prove that the NAEP didn't lie? – DJClayworth May 19 '15 at 17:54
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    I would just like to go on record, as an American, that I'm pretty sure in eigth grade I knew that all three of those nations were not dictatorships. That was a little while ago, however. – Reinstate Monica -- notmaynard May 19 '15 at 17:56
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    Of course "think Canada is run by a dictatorship" is reporting hyperbole. The just don't understand the implications of what they are answering. – DJClayworth May 19 '15 at 17:58

Participants in the 2014 Grade 8 NAEP civics assessment (9,100 students) answered the question "What do the current governments of Canada, France, and Australia have in common?" as follows:

  • 10% - They are controlled by the military.
  • 54% - They have constitutions that limit their power.
  • 23% - They have leaders with absolute power.
  • 12% - They discourage participation by citizens in public affairs.

Whether that makes 33% as having answered that "Canada, Australia and France are dictatorships of one kind or another" is a matter of opinion. It looks to me like that description of the results aggregates the group that answered "They are controlled by the military" with the group that answered "They have leaders with absolute power".

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    Aside from the question, this is shocking... Please atually think the UK is a dictatorship... – Tim May 19 '15 at 18:06
  • @Tim UK is probably the only other government talked about in US government classes, so i would hope that scores would be better towards questions about the UK. – Himarm May 19 '15 at 18:14
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    18% of the students were ELL. There may be a loss of meaning from translation. Additionally, the 23% (they have leaders with absolute power) is debatable; it doesn't single out a single group, so it could just apply to leaders in general, which is the case of all governments where officials have any power; the combined leadership (executive, legislative, judicial, etc) have absolute power. – user25296 May 19 '15 at 19:07
  • @Himarm But isn't the UK presented as "those evil freedom-hating people we got independence from'? – DJClayworth May 20 '15 at 15:41
  • @DJClayworth depends on which class, if its american revolution then yes, almost every other instance of the UK in relation to the US is positive. Most Americans know that if we start some shit the brits got our back. – Himarm May 20 '15 at 15:52

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