Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is a television game show format based on posing grade-school level questions to adults, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy. This television show began broadcast on the Fox Broadcasting Company network as a special in the United States and southern Canada on February 27, 2007, and it grew to be popular enough that a half-hour-long syndicated TV series was developed by the owners.

Since then, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? has been replicated in several other countries, some versions under the same title, and some under modified ones. The first season of this TV program ranked 28th in the Nielsen ratings in the U.S., with an average of 12.7 million viewers per episode. The status of the Fox-TV series following the summer of 2008 is unknown, but the syndicated TV show debuted in late-September 2009. Episodes from this series are also broadcast on MyNetworkTV one evening per week, and on the Country Music Television (CMT) channel it is broadcast on five evenings per week.

GSN began airing the show November 6, 2011 in five-hour blocks starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. They will also be airing it on Friday Afternoons starting at 3pm effective January 27.


Each game is played by a single contestant who earns money incrementally based on a payout ladder by answering simple trivia questions, with the game themed as a school quiz. The game relies on the premise that an adult would not know the information generally taught in elementary grade school, because it is rarely used in adult life by the type of person chosen to be a contestant. Therefore, the show is essentially a test to see how much an adult has retained since graduating elementary school. The show also derives its humor by occasionally displaying the contestant's educational attainment, implying that in spite of that, they struggle to answer some questions.

The contestant is presented and chooses from a set of ten subjects and grade level question topics. The question is then revealed. Some questions are multiple choice or true/false; others require the contestant to answer without any options.

Each correct answer moves the contestant up a payout ladder, with a final bonus fifth grade question moving the contestant up one more step to the top prize of $1,000,000. At any point up to the final question, the contestant may quit the game after seeing the question, and keep all money earned up to that point. For the final question, the contestant is only presented the subject and then must decide whether to continue or quit (and keep earned money). The contestant may not walk away after choosing to see the question. The contestant is not guaranteed any winnings until after the fifth question is answered correctly, at which point $25,000 is guaranteed.

Only two contestants have attempted to answer the final question and done so correctly:

  • Kathy Cox, the Superintendent of Schools for the State of Georgia, was the first person to have correctly answered the $1,000,000 question (MDQ): "Who was the longest reigning British Monarch?" The answer was Queen Victoria.
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics laureate George Smoot was the second person, answering "What U.S. state is home to Acadia National Park?", with the correct answer of Maine.
Many celebrities have competed on this TV show on behalf of various charities. The rock 'n' roll star Gene Simmons of the band KISS dropped out with $500,000 for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, making him one of the highest winning celebrities to appear on the show. The subject of the Million Dollar Question was "Science", and the question was "What element is represented by the letter K in the periodic table?" Simmons said that he would have answered krypton, but the correct answer is actually potassium.

The 20-year old Mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma, and the youngest mayor in the United States, John Tyler Hammons, appeared on October 24, 2008, winning $25,000 for his charity after missing the question "What's the name of the first American woman to travel to outer space?". Unsure of the correct answer (which is Sally Ride), he "copied" the 5th grader's answer, which was wrong.

Ken Jennings could have become the second person to win the million dollars but he decided not to go for the Social Studies million-dollar question ("U.S. President John Adams was a member of what political party at the time of his election?"). Upon seeing the question after dropping out of school, he answered it correctly (Federalist). However, his winnings of $500,000 were enough to regain the all-time game show winnings record from Brad Rutter, who had defeated him in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions to claim it. Seven other contestants have also dropped out at the million-dollar question.

Correct Answer Value (original U.S. version)
1st Grade Questions 2nd Grade Questions 3rd Grade Questions 4th Grade Questions 5th Grade Bonus Question
$500 each $1,000 each $3,500 each $7,500 each 10 times earned value
There were five "classmates" (three since season 5) in the game of approximately fifth-grade age who also answer each question in secret by writing their answers. These answers are sometimes used to create tension when the classmates' answers do not correlate with the contestant's. Additionally, the contestant selects one of the classmates at the beginning of the game to help them during the game. Each classmate can only help for two questions, and then a new classmate must be selected.

The selected classmate provides the contestant with two "cheats," each of which may only be used once. The contestant may choose to "peek" at the classmate's paper, which allows them to see the classmate's answer before they give their own (once the peek is used the contestant must answer the question); the contestant may "copy" the classmate, which automatically locks the classmate's answer in as their own. In addition, the contestant has one "save," which comes into play after the contestant gives their first wrong answer. If the classmate has written the correct answer, he saves the contestant; otherwise, the game ends and the contestant loses the game and wins nothing, unless he correctly answers five questions, at which point he is guaranteed the fifth level of the payout ladder. This "save" no longer apply since season 5. The cheats are not available on the final question; Additionally, once all the cheats are used, the chosen classmate returns to the group and no new classmate is selected. The classmates continue to write answers for the questions, however, to be used for tension.

The classmates are generally the same throughout a season, and are given a "study guide" of possible question topics before the start of the season. Since the classmates are not in an adversarial role with the contestants, this only serves to help the contestants if they use the "cheats." It does, however, give a misleading impression of the knowledge level of actual fifth-graders, since the classmates on the show rarely miss the questions, having been given study material in advance. In fact, the show's title is something of a misnomer, since contestants do not actually compete against the classmates, and the classmates' performance on the show is enhanced by study materials, although they still occasionally miss a question. The title was selected to make the show more interesting, specifically making adults look stupid and then exploiting the supposed "stupidity," which is an irony because adults are supposed to teach children.

Upon leaving the game either by quitting ("DROP OUT"), or answering incorrectly ("FLUNK OUT"), the contestant must profess to the camera, "I am not smarter than a fifth grader." However, if the million dollar question is answered correctly (which has only happened twice), the contestant has the opportunity to claim, "I am smarter than a fifth grader."

International versions

The show has spawned many versions around the world:

{{colorbox}} Currently airing {{colorbox}} No longer airing

Country Name Host Channel Air Date Language
Sabs ms que un chico de 5to grado? Andrea Frigerio and Pablo Granados Amrica (Channel 2) July 9, 2007 Spanish
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Rove McManus Network Ten 26 September 2007 " 30 October 2009 English
Dreizehn Christian Clerici ORF1 September 27, 2007 German
Slimmer Dan Een Kind Van 10? Goedele Liekens VT4 September 6, 2007 Dutch
tes-vous plus malin qu'un enfant de primaire ? Alain Simons RTL-TVI September 6, 2007 French
Voc Mais Esperto Que um Aluno da Quinta Srie? Silvio Santos SBT September 23, 2007 Portuguese
???? ?? ???? ????? "?????!
Tova go znaye vsyako khlape!
Dimitar & Deo bTV September 15, 2007 (canceled on February 20, 2009) Bulgarian
Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? Colin Mochrie Global October 25, 2007 " November 22, 2007 English
La classe de 5e Charles Lafortune TVA February 5, 2009 French
???"?"?"?"?"???"??"??"???"??"?"??"?"????"??? (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?) ??"? ???"?? (Doung Sokhea) CTN September 14, 2012 Khmer
Sabes ms que un nio de 5 bsico? Jos Miguel Viuela MEGA April 2, 2008 Spanish
W? nin j ji zh du
Wang Han HNETV May 1, 2007 Standard Chinese
??52 ???"?
Xng yn 52 xng yn k tng
Li Yong CCTV-2 June 1, 2007 Standard Chinese
Shi b? shi c?ng ming
Liu Ming-ming SZTV June 1, 2007 Standard Chinese
N? nng b y ma?
Duan Lei
Jia Ning
TJTV June 2, 2007 Standard Chinese
B k?o b zh? do
Xu Rui SXTVS June 30, 2007 Standard Chinese
W"? nin j ch? b?n sh"ng
He Hao-peng Guangdong TV August 10, 2007 Cantonese
Sabes ms que un nio de primaria? Jose Gabriel Ortiz Caracol TV February 20, 2008 Spanish
Jsi chyt?ej? ne? p?k? Michal Suchnek & Richard Genzer TV Nova 2007 Czech
Er Du Klogere End En 10-"?rig? Jan Gintberg TV3 September 22, 2007 Danish
Targem kui 5B Indrek Tarand TV3 September 13, 2008 Estonian
Fiksumpi kuin koululainen Nicke Lignell MTV3 November 6, 2008 Finnish
tes-vous plus fort qu'un lve de 10 ans ? Roland Magdane M6 September 3, 2007 French
Das wei doch jedes Kind! Cordula Stratmann Sat.1 July 6, 2007 German
"????? ??? ??"????"? ??? ??? ????"?????
Esai pio xypnos ap na dekchrono
Sophia Aliberti ANT1 January 19, 2008 Greek
Hai Mai Siu Yi Fo
Leo Ku TVB October 25, 2008 " November 16, 2009 Cantonese
Okosabb vagy mint egy 5-es? Attila Till TV2 August 24, 2007 Hungarian
Ertu skarpari en sklakrakki? Gunnar Hansson Skjr 1 October 21, 2007 Icelandic
Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? Shahrukh Khan STAR Plus April 25, 2008 " July 27, 2008 Hindi
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Indonesia Indy Barends Global TV April 4, 2009 Indonesian
?'"??? ??"? "?"?? ?"??? ?????" "???"? "?
Ha'im ata hakham metalmid kitah vav?
Eyal Kitzis Channel 2 July 2007 Hebrew
Sei pi bravo di un ragazzino di 5? Massimiliano Ossini Sky Uno / cielo October 6, 2008 Italian
"?"?"? "??????5?"?"?"??"???
Kuizu anata wa shogaku 5-nensei yori kashikoi no?
Takashi Suzuki NTV April 24, 2011 Japanese
Vai tu esi gudr?ks par piektklasnieku? M?ris Olte TV3 September 8, 2007 Latvian
Penktok? i???kis Andrius Ro?ickas TV3 September 2, 2007 Lithuanian
Todo el mundo cree que sabe Marco Antonio Regil Televisa June 13, 2009 Spanish
Ben je slimmer dan een kind? Erik van der Hoff Net 5 September 2, 2007 Dutch
Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old? Dominic Bowden TV2 September 9, 2007 English
Kakasa Ka Ba Sa Grade 5? Janno Gibbs GMA Network October 27, 2007 " May 9, 2009 Filipino and English
Czy jeste"? m"?drzejszy od 5-klasisty? Robert Korlczyk / Marzena Rogalska TV Puls October 29, 2007 Polish
Sabe Mais Do Que Um Mido De 10 Anos? Jorge Gabriel RTP1 September 17, 2007 (1st edition) June 30, 2008 (2nd edition)

Te crezi mai de?tept dect un copil de clasa a 5-a? Virgil Ian?u Prima TV Unknown Romanian
?"?? ????? 5-??????????
Kto umneye 5-klassnika?
Alexandr Pushnoy CTC December 9, 2007 Russian
Da li ste pametniji od "?aka petaka? Voja Nedeljkovi"? Fox televizija September 2007 Serbian
Ste chytrej? ako piatak? Peter Marcin TV Markiza 2007 Slovak
Ste pametnej?i od peto?olca? TBA POP TV TBA Slovene
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Soli Philander M-Net January 27, 2008 English
Sabes ms que un nio de primaria? Ramn Garca Antena 3 July 2007 Spanish
Punchi Pahe Man Vijaya Nandasiri Sirasa TV 2008 Sinhala
Smartare n en femteklassare Lasse Kronr SVT1 March 19, 2011 Swedish
B?i wn xi?o xutng
Zhang Xiao-yan (, 1st edition)
Bowie Tsang () and Xiaoxia () (2nd edition)
TTV October 3, 2008 " present Standard Chinese
-"??"??"???? ??????"? ?"?"?? ("???-?)!
T"??? khu"? n?? X?? ph"? d"?k (prat"?hm)!
Kanit Sarasin Thai TV 3 October 1, 2007 (1st edition)
October 13, 2008 (2nd edition)-April 29, 2010
5'e Gidenden Ak?ll? M?s?n? Tolga Garibo?lu STAR TV June 2007 Turkish
?"?? ??????-??? ?'?"???????????
Khto rozumnishyy p'yatyklasnyk?
Serhiy Prytula Novyi Kanal January 6, 2008 Ukrainian
Are You Smarter than a 10 Year Old? Noel Edmonds
Damian Williams
Sky One 7 October 2007 " 24 April 2010 English
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (Fox Primetime) Jeff Foxworthy Fox February 27, 2007 English
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (20th Television daily version) Jeff Foxworthy Syndicated by 20th Television September 21, 2009 English
Ai thng minh h?n h?c sinh l"?p 5? T? Minh Tm (2009)
Thanh B?ch (2009-2011)
HTV2 June 19, 2009 - late 2009 (axed)
November 2010 - early 2011 (1st revived)
Ai thng minh h?n h?c sinh l"?p 5? Thanh B?ch VTV3 January 19, 2012 - present (2nd revived) Vietnamese

Video game

On October 20, 2008, developer THQ released the first Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? video game, titled Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?: Make the Grade, for the PC, PS2, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Xbox Live Arcade. The Xbox Live Arcade version as of mid 2010 was delisted from the Xbox Live Game Marketplace.

A sequel Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Game Time was released on October 26, 2009 for Nintendo DS, Wii and Xbox 360.

Capcom Mobile released a game based on the game show for iOS devices called "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader 2010" in 2009.

In 2012 Ludia released a free game based on the game show called "Are You Smarter Than a 5th grader? & Friends" for iOS devices.

DVD game

Parker Bros. released a DVD game based on the show. Unlike the show, the player can only pick one classmate for the whole game, and has a choice of 20 games. A 2-player mode is also available.

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