Monthly Citizenship Test Pass Rates 2011-2015

Citizenship Monthly Test Pass Rates.001This time series shows the variation in monthly citizenship test pass rates from November 2010 to May 2015, highlighting the dramatic shifts over the past 4 ½ years.

This chart highlights a number of challenges that CIC faced:

  • the difficulty in managing the citizenship test to ensure broadly consistent results;
  • the inability to introduce new questions in a predictable manner, likely reflecting political reluctance to engage in focus testing  (2012 drop);
  • the eventual corrective measures in 2013, both administrative and test question wording changes, that resulted in a reversion to the previous average pass rates in the 80-85 percent range; and,
  • other changes, likely reflecting conscious policy choices as part of the effort to address the backlog of citizenship applications, aimed to increase the average pass rate to the 90 percent range in 2014.

This roller-coaster variation, also seen in citizenship applications processed, once again reflects the lessor priority CIC (and Ministers) attach to sound management of the program, in sharp contrast to the relative consistency and predictability of the immigration program.

The relevant memos to the Minister were heavily (excessively in my view) redacted as the following example from a 2013 memo indicates:

Citizenship_Monthly_Test_Results_A201510634_2015-08-06_08-29-32_pdf__page_8_of_13_Lastly, the CIC analysis of the number of those affected by the extension of knowledge testing and language assessment is relatively small: 5.5 percent for 14 to 17 year olds, 5.9 percent for 55 to 64 year olds (both figures for the period 2009-13 (see Citizenship Impact of Extending Testing to 14-17 and 55-64 year olds, while accompanying memo less redacted than above example, still some serious redactions on cost implications and the like).

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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