Promote News Literacy With Our Weekly Current Events Quiz for Students

Promote News Literacy With Our Weekly Current Events Quiz for Students

Note: Here is how to access our complete collection of Weekly News Quizzes for Students.

How can we get teenagers to pay attention to the news? After all, if we want them to actively participate in a democratic society and be informed citizens of a complicated world, they must have a sense of what’s going on right now, both at home and abroad.

Teachers are no strangers to this goal, and they’ve enlisted a whole range of strategies to get students to stay informed, including Current Events Friday, research projects on modern-day issues of injustice and simulations like Mock Congress. And with growing fears about global misinformation campaigns and unreliable news feeds, helping young people develop healthy news habits feels increasingly urgent.

We have many resources on The Learning Network to help, of course. Features like our Student Opinion questions and our Articles of the Day invite students to engage with important events and issues daily, and our lesson plans offer guidance for teaching with news across the curriculum. But perhaps the feature that most efficiently tackles this goal is our Weekly News Quiz for Students.

The Learning Network has published a regular news quiz for students for nearly our entire 20-year history. For instance, check out this quiz from our old site, published in October 2009, back when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and safety experts worried that hybrid cars were too quiet.

But even before The Learning Network was created, The Times found ways to quiz students on the news. Here are three questions from a news quiz published in the Feb. 5, 1968, edition of The School Weekly, a paper The Times sent into classrooms in the late 1960s. Can you get any of them right? (Answers, as well as links to related Times reporting, appear at the end of this post.)

These days, we publish a fresh quiz every Tuesday morning, featuring 10 interactive, multiple-choice questions that draw from the most important or interesting national and global news of the week.

Here’s how the quiz works, and how you might use it.

Start with a “mystery photo”:

Each week’s quiz starts the same way: “Above is an image related to one of the news stories we followed this past week. Do you know what it shows?”

The photo you see here illustrated our April 16, 2019, quiz. Can you guess what it had to do with the news that week? (Hint: It’s from this article, which begins, “Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had captured an image of the unobservable.”)

Students have to complete the quiz each week before they can see the original photo caption and a link to the article.

One way to engage students? Before you show them the photo we’ve chosen, ask them what event from the week they might choose to illustrate for the mystery picture if they were the news quiz editor. (Students who are regular Times readers might even be able to suggest specific images.)

Next, answer nine interactive questions about that week’s news:

The first nine questions of our 10-question quiz test students about the news — but not just front-page or hard-news stories. We also focus on sports, culture, business and science happenings that we think informed students are likely to know about.

To craft the quiz, we take original Times reporting and remove a key word or term to make a fill-in-the-blank multiple choice question. We always provide a photo to add greater context.

Once students select an answer, not only do they immediately find out if they answered correctly, but they also see a brief explainer that provides background on the news story — context pulled directly from Times reporting. Each links to the original article so students can learn more.

And, to inject a note of friendly competition, students instantly find out how they did on each question compared with other quiz-takers.

Invite your students to experiment with different news habits to see which practices best prepare them for the weekly quiz. For example, one week they could watch, or listen to, 10 minutes of a morning news show before school. Another week, they could scroll through the headlines on the NYT app on their phones, even if they don’t have a subscription. Or, they could sign up for The Times’s free Morning Briefing emails. After a few weeks, students can reflect on which news habit seems most effective at keeping them up-to-date on current events.

Spot the “fake news” headline in our 10th question:

Every week, Question 10 of our News Quiz asks students to read four headlines and identify which one is not from The Times, but is, instead, a headline published by the satirical news site The Onion.

Interestingly, this question reliably ranks as one of our most difficult to answer each week. Try the quiz above and see if you can figure out why. We think it’s because, in order to answer correctly, you’re forced to slow down and read very carefully. The wrong answer often seems plausible at a glance … until you realize it just can’t be true.

On the other hand, as this tweet points out, sometimes real life does imitate satire, so knowing what’s happening in the news in general will also help students sort fact from fiction.

One way students can get better at this question is simply to practice. They can use our News Quiz archive to access dozens of these questions in already published quizzes.

Finally, find out your score, and see if you were right about the mystery photo:

When students complete the quiz, they get a final score. They also get the promised reveal for the “mystery photo.”

If they’re looking for more of a challenge, we also invite them to try their hand at The Times’s other weekly news quiz … for adults.


Take our News Diet Challenge.

In 2017, we challenged students to do a 24- to 48-hour “news audit” to analyze what news they got on a regular basis, and where and how they accessed it. We then asked them to experiment with their “news diets” and make them more healthy, via exploring a variety of sources, kinds of content and platforms that might address anything they’d identified they were lacking.

Finally, we challenged them to write an essay or create a video to reflect on what they found. The video above, by Emma Claire Lisk, was one of several that won. You can see more, and read some winning essays, in “10 Things We Learned About Teenagers and the News: The Results of Our Student ‘News Diet’ Challenge.” If you’re a teacher or student who would like to try the challenge yourself, check out our lesson plan, “Improving Your ‘News Diet’: A Three-Step Lesson Plan for Teenagers and Teachers.”

• See how well you remember a year, or years, of news.

Every December we publish a special quiz that asks questions about the 50 top news events of the year — and, of course, links back to Times reporting about those events. How many can you get right from 2018?

And since we have quizzes that cover every important event since Jan. 1, 2000, how far back in time can you go and still ace most questions?