measuring civic learning: meaningful strategies for educating 21st century citizens

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Using the recent AAC&U report A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future and research arising from the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory, participants will discuss current areas of research related to civic learning and identify areas for additional research. Discussion of best practices will focus on both indirect and direct measures of civic learning and campus engagement, including existing and available measures that can be adapted for use on participants’ campuses. Robert D. Reason, Associate Professor of Student Affairs and Higher Education, and Joshua J. Mitchell, doctoral student and Graduate Research Assistant in the Research Institute for Studies in Education, both at Iowa State University


  • 1.Robert Reason Josh Mitchell Kathleen GillonIowa State UniversityUpper Midwest Civic Engagement SummitDubuque, IAMay 29, 2013

2. Introductions: Who we are Our interest in civic learning research and assessment What we hope to gain from this workshop Workshop Goals and Interests: Why Measure Civic Learning? What is Civic Learning? How do we Measure Civic Learning? 3. General Workshop Structure: Assessing Civic Learning: Challenges and Opportunities Defining Civic Learning: What Works? A Crucible Moment History and Call to Action Key Findings and Recommendations Key recommendations for Researchers Campus-Based Assessment: Assessing Engagement Indirect vs. Direct Methods of Evaluation Connecting Assessment Models with Measurable Learning Outcomes Tools and Techniques 4. Group Discussion - Major Issues in Assessing Civic Engagement on Campus What are some of the biggest obstacles in assessing civic learning andengagement on your campus? What are some of the solutions found to address these challenges? 5. Commissioned by The Department of Education, initiated by MarthaKanter, Under Secretary of Education Partnership between Global Perspective Inventory, Inc. (GPI) and theAssociation of American Colleges and Universities National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement A series of five national roundtables representing leaders from awide range of constituent groups inside and outside of highereducation Several open sessions at a number of national and regionalconferences A commissioned paper on what we know from research on theimpact of civic learning and democratic engagement on studentlearning and development6 6. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HIGHEREDUCATION1. Foster a CIVIC ETHOS across all parts of the campus andeducational culture.2. Make CIVIC LITERACY a core expectation for all students.3. Practice CIVIC INQUIRY across all fields of study.4. Advance CIVIC ACTION through transformativepartnerships, at home and abroad. 7. WHY STUDY CIVIC LEARNING?? 8. EVIDENCE SUPPORTING NEED FORCOMPREHENSIVE CIVIC LEARNING U.S. ranked 139th in voter participation of 172world democracies in 2007. Only 24% of graduating high school seniorsscored at the proficient or advanced level in civicsin 2010. (NCES, 2011) Less than of 12th graders reported studyinginternational topics as part of a civics education.(NCES, 2011) 9. STUDENTS VIEWS ON CIVIC LEARNING ANDHIGHER EDUCATION 10. FINDINGS RELATED TO CIVIC LEARNINGAND HIGHER EDUCATION A group of 14,000 college seniors surveyed in 2006-07averaged just over 50% in a civic literacy exam.(Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2007) Just over 1/3 of college faculty surveyed strongly agreedtheir campus actively promotes awareness of US or globalsocial, political, and economic issues. Only slightly more than one-third of students surveyedfelt strongly that faculty publicly advocated the need forstudents to become active and involved citizens. (Dey et al.2009) 11. A FOUNDATION PARTIALLY LAIDCurricular civic pathways Making civic literacy a core expectation for all studentsin general education programs Integrating civic inquiry into a central field of studyPowerful civic pedagogies Intergroup and deliberative dialogue Service Learning and Volunteer Service Collective civic problem solving 12. THE CHALLENGE OF THE NEXT DECADES OFCIVIC LEARNING From elective to expected From one time to progressive learning over time From individually oriented civic action tocollaboratively oriented action From some departments, divisions, and people toeveryone all over campus From parallel practices and programs tointegrated ones 13. PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE RESEARCH Disseminate existing assessment tools for measuring civic learning. Amass and publicize evidence that shows how civic learning, civic agency, anddemocratic engagement result in increased retention and college success. Use the Civic Investment Plan matrix to identify specific action research projectsthat could be initiated at ones own institution. Establish standards in civic learning to serve as guidelines for measuring andreporting progress. Sponsor and support further research on the impact of programs andpartnerships that foster civic learning and democratic engagement on learningoutcomes and student development. Include additional research questions in routinely administered higher educationsurveys to explore how learning environments can enhance key civiccompetencies Develop national civic indicators and report on levels of civic and democraticknowledge, skills, values, and action achieved by high school and collegegraduates. 14. FIVE AREAS IN WHICH MORE EVIDENCE ONCIVIC LEARNING IS NEEDED: Existing data on civic outcomes is almost entirely based on student self-reports oftheir behaviors, attitudes, and growth over time. Multiple measures are needed tocapture students ability to demonstrate civic competencies. Data on civic outcomes connected with the experiences of underserved students(underrepresented minorities, first-generation, transfer, and low income). Greater evidence is needed on outcomes more closely associated with civiccompetencies or capacity building, particularly for success in an increasingly globaland diversifying nation (e.g. collaborative problem-solving, deliberative dialogue,teamwork). Research on outcomes or evidence related to global knowledge and skills isparticularly thin Though there is strong evidence linking civic learning experiences with improvedrates of retention and completion, greater evidence is needed on the ways in whichvariations in civic learning (i.e. forms of practice and levels of intensity) impactmeasures of student success.- Excerpted from A Brief Review of the Evidence on Civic Learning inHigher Education, Finley, 2011 15. WHAT IS CIVIC LEARNING? 16. ASSESSING CIVIC LEARNING: TERMS Direct measures Indirect measures Constructs Self-reports 17. ASSESSING CIVIC LEARNING: MEASURABLEOUTCOMES Knowledge, skills, and values (Saltmarsh, 2005) Knowledge, skills, and behaviors (Cogan, 1999) Knowledge, skills, dispositions, identity (Stokamer, 2011) Knowledge, skills, practice, and disposition (The Centerfor Engaged Democracy, 2012) 18. KNOWLEDGE Understanding of topics related to democratic society;systems and processes of democratic decision-makingand governance- Civic knowledge is understanding of how democracyoperates 19. SKILLS Necessary abilities to understand and advocate for acomplex position- includes intercultural communication, decision-making,critical thinking 20. DISPOSITIONS Values and attitudes related to actionstheinclination to engage in civic actions 21. CIVIC IDENTITY Commitment to civic responsibility through efficacy inaction (Stokamer, 2012, p. 51).- Requires the incorporation of civic responsibility intoones self-concept 22. HOW DO WE ASSESS CIVIC LEARNING? 23. INDIRECT MEASURES Assume: that engagement in educationally-purposeful activitiesresult in learning outcomes that engagement with educationally-purposefulcampus climate supports learning outcomes 24. INDIRECT CLIMATE MEASURES National Survey of Student Engagement ( Benchmarks Active and Collaborative Learning Enriching Educational Experiences Supportive Campus Environment Global Perspectives Inventory ( The GPI reflects a global and holistic view of student learning and developmentand the importance of the campus environment in fostering holistic studentdevelopment. The GPI measures how a student thinks, views herself as a person with a cultural heritage, and relates to others from other cultures, backgrounds and values. 25. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE INVENTORYInterpersonal -- Social Responsibility I think of my life in terms of giving back to society. I work for the rights of others. I put the needs of others above my own personalwants. I consciously behave in terms of making a difference. Volunteering is not an important priority in my life. 26. PERSONAL & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYINVENTORY (PSRI)STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE: developinga strong work ethic and consciously doing onesvery best in all aspects of collegeCULTIVATING PERSONALAND ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: recognizingand acting on a sense of honor, ranging fromhonesty in relationships to principled engagementwith a formal academic honors codeCONTRIBUTING TO A LARGERCOMMUNITY: recognizing and acting onones responsibility to the educationalcommunity and the wider society, locally,nationally, and globallyTAKING SERIOUSLY THEPERSPECTIVES OF OTHERS: recognizingand acting on the obligation to inform onesown judgment; engaging diverse andcompeting perspectives as a resource forlearning, citizenship, and workDEVELOPING COMPETENCE INETHICAL AND MORAL REASONINGAND ACTION: developing ethical and moralreasoning in ways that incorporate the otherfour responsibilities; using such reasoning inlearning and in life 27. PERSONAL & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYINVENTORY (PSRI)Striving for Excellence Overall Climate for Excellence** Motivation to Develop a Strong WorkEthic Communicating Expectations aboutExcellence** Developing a Strong Work EthicCultivating Academic Integrity General Climate for AcademicIntegrity** Faculty Roles in AcademicIntegrity** Developing Academic IntegrityContributing to a Larger Community General Climate for Contributing to aLarger Community** Advocating for Contributing to aLarger Community** Developing a Commitment toContributing to a Larger CommunityTaking Seriously the Perspectives of Others General Climate for PerspectiveTaking** Advocating for Perspective Taking** Developing Perspective TakingRefining Ethical and Moral Reasoning General Climate for Ethical andMoral Reasoning** Sources of Support for Ethical andMoral Reasoning****Indicates a factor score that is comparable to professionalsfactor score. The factor is comprised of exact (oranalogous) items as the studentsfactor. 28. DIRECT MEASURESAttempt to measure (directly) the outcomesbelieved to be associated/compri