Assessment of Civic Readiness

Readying young people for their civic responsibilities in a democracy is an essential role of schools in the United States. Yet, over the past half-century, for a variety of reasons, civic learning has been reduced to a small part of the curriculum.  One of the obstacles to meaningful progress in improving civic education, however, has been the anemic state of civic assessment. Currently, U.S. education policy lacks valid and reliable methods for assessing students’ development of the civic knowledge, skills, dispositions, and experiences necessary to ensure students are prepared for responsible civic participation.

The Assessment of Civic Readiness Committee is currently exploring the challenges and opportunities for implementing comprehensive civic assessment systems that can fully and fairly measure the extent to which students in the United States are ready to sustain our democratic culture.

Activities & Advocacy Opportunities:

  • Watch Authentic Assessment of Civic Readiness: The Challenges of Implementation.  In recognition of Civic Learning Week, the DemocracyReady NY Coalition, in collaboration with iCivics, hosted this webinar on the national state of civic assessment. The event featured David Kidd, chief assessment scientist at the Harvard Democratic Knowledge Project; Margarita Olivera-Aguilar, senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research; and Phyllis Tashlik, director of the Center for Inquiry at the New York State Performance Standards Consortium. The speakers discussed each of the cutting edge responses their centers are leading to address the challenges of implementing authentic assessment.
  • Read the DemocracyReady NY report, Gauging Civic Readiness: The State of Civic Assessment in the United States and Recommendations for Its Improvement (2023). The report shows that over 80% of states currently ignore the need to assess the full extent to which students are being prepared for capable civic participation.  
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