Thoughts about the USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test Resign

Yesterday, USCIS hosted an online nationwide engagement about the new Naturalization Interview and Test Resign.  If you missed the engagement, here are the USCIS engagement slides.

Lynn Weintraub posted further comments about the Naturalization Interview and Test Resign at Citizenship News.

What are your comments or questions about Naturalization Interview and Test Resign?


I also attended that engagement session, and like Lynn, I believe that this is a genuine attempt to make the test fairer and more efficient, especially as regards the "speaking test." The "speaking test" currently is the interview, going over the form, which has considerable legal jargon, and is definitely not English in ordinary usage! After the redesign of 2008, USCIS officers (adjudicators) were trained to rephrase if needed. In more recent years, there had been a certain amount of "gotcha" playing around with that. Not only are there legal terms such as espionage, but there may also be tricky legal concepts. For example, "Were you married before?  Do we mean a "court marriage," a religious marriage/traditional marriage etc.?   .   . So it is good that they will be using a speaking test per se and using one that professional adult educators use. And it is good that they got and will get feedback from professional educators.  They did sidestep the question about how the interview going over the application form will be conducted. (Will interpreters be allowed?  If so, will they provide one?  etc. )              

As to the multiple-choice format, that may be somewhat easier for many, depending on what distractors they use and how they format the questions. (None of this: [ "1,"      "2," "1 or 2," " none of the above," or "all of the above" please.) As to the tweaking of the content, it may be intended as just tweaking but may well result in a lot of animated discussion before the final version is released. 

Bill Bliss just posted a thought-provoking article offering an analysis of USCIS planned changes in the civics and English tests for naturalization. Please read it carefully and think about questions for the USCIS Pilot Program presentation, March 3, 2023 (link below).

Citizenship Test Revision Will Create New Barriers to Naturalization


 Naturalization Test Redesign

Friday, March 3, 2023 | 2–3 p.m. Eastern

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a national engagement on Friday, March 3, 2023, from 2 -3 p.m. Eastern, to learn more about a nationwide trial for the naturalization test redesign initiative.

Today, after two month wait, we received a simple email acknowledging that USCIS had received my school's request to participate in the upcoming trial of the USCIS interview and test redesign.  Colleagues from other schools also confirmed that they had received the same email.

It is not known what criteria will be used to participate in the redesign trial.  But it it was good to know that USCIS is carefully preparing to more forward on the trial.  We will post details as soon as they are made available. 

We will feature any new developments on the Naturalization Test Redesign Trial, plus new civics/citizenship content during our event on 3/27 4pm ET  Coffee Break: Introducing the new LINCS Civics Education and Citizenship Group

Also check out upcoming the presentations about the  Enhancing Access for Refugees and New Americans Project (EARN) @ TESOL + COABE.  We will also participate at a COABE hybrid session on 4/4 8 am ET: Engaging in the New Civics Education and Citizenship LINCS Community Group (more details soon!).

Naturalization Test Redesign Friday, April 28, 2023 | 2-3 p.m. Eastern
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a national engagement on Friday, April 28, 2023, from 2 - 3 p.m. Eastern, to learn more about the nationwide trial tests for the naturalization test redesign initiative.

To register, visit the USCIS registration page.

To learn more details, visit the Engagement Announcement.


UPDATE ON THE CITIZENSHIP TEST REDESIGN PROJECT from Lynne Weintraub, Citizenship News 2023-04-10

Lynn Weintraub, author of the "Citizenship: Passing the Test" textbook series, just posted an updated analysis of the proposed redesign of the Naturalization Interview.  She discusses the following topics:

  • USCIS’s rationale for the changes
  • The redesign project
  • No change in the English literacy test
  • The proposed speaking test
  • The proposed civics test
  • My recommendations

Read the full article for further details.