Mandatory Testing's Effect on Civic Education

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Subtitle
Mandatory Testing and News in the Schools: Implications for Civic Education
Publication Date
01/01/07
Program
Journalism & Media Innovation

REPORT DESCRIPTION

The Carnegie-Knight Task Force is one element of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education which was launched in 2005. The Carnegie-Knight Task Force aims to carry out research and create a platform for educators to speak on journalism policy and education issues. The report examines the effect of mandatory testing on the classroom use of news, and the impact on civic education.

The report examines the effect of mandatory testing on the classroom use of news, and the impact on civic education, based on an online survey of 1,262 social studies, civics and government teachers in the fall of 2006.

This report addresses the following questions:

• How do public school policies promoting “teaching to the test” affect news and current affairs discussions in the classroom?

• How much has classroom use of the news declined since the advent of standardized testing to measure school and teacher performance?

• In which schools has the teaching of news for civic formation declined most markedly?

• What strategies can teachers use to rebalance the equation between standardized testing and current affairs?

Approach: Insights are based on an online survey of 1,262 social studies, civics and government teachers in the fall of 2006.

Report Partners: This report was produced by Thomas E. Patterson of Harvard University on behalf of the Carnegie-Knight Task Force on the Future of Journalism Education.

REPORT CONTENTS

• News in the Classroom – 75 percent of teachers who are using less news in the classroom cite the time constraints of “teaching to the test.”

• Teachers who continue to use current affairs to promote student engagement and critical thinking say they do so in spite of school policy to stick to “core” testing curriculum.

About our Journalism & Media Innovation focus area

Our goal at Knight Foundation is to preserve the best aspects of journalism and use innovation to expand the impact of information in the digital age. 

About our Field-wide Research methodology

Field Research is primary and secondary research done for Knight Foundation.