If young people are not prepared to critically evaluate the information that bombards them online, they are apt to be duped by false claims and misleading arguments. To help teachers address these critical skills, we’ve developed assessments of civic online reasoning—the ability to judge the credibility of digital information about social and political issues.
These assessments ask students to reason about online content. We’ve designed paper-and-pencil tasks as well as tasks that students complete online. These assessments are intended for flexible classroom use. We hope teachers use the tasks to design classroom activities, as the basis for discussions about digital content, and as formative assessments to learn more about students’ progress as they learn to evaluate online information. These tasks came out of research with thousands of students from across the country.
As part of MediaWise, the Stanford History Education Group is developing and evaluating new civic online reasoning lesson plans for middle and high school students. The lessons will be available fall 2019.
The Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) is a research and development group based in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. In 2014, they set out to develop short assessments to gauge young people’s ability to evaluate online content. Their work was supported by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Silver Giving Foundation.
Specifically, they sought to measure Civic Online Reasoning — the ability to effectively search for, evaluate, and verify social and political information online. They use this term to highlight the civic aims of this work. The ability to evaluate online content has become a prerequisite for thoughtful democratic participation.
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