Should We Be Testing Civics? Examining the Implications of the Civic Education Initiative

Kristina F. Brezicha, Dana L. Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Given the importance of developing civically engaged and knowledgeable citizens, many have sought to improve the quality of students’ civic education experiences. This article examines one particular effort spearheaded by the Joe Foss Institute, the Civic Education Initiative (CEI). Since the CEI was announced, 18 states have passed legislation that includes a civics test component embedded in the CEI. This conceptual article examines the CEI against research-based practices for teaching civics. It then introduces the policy design framework as a tool for analyzing civic policies like CEI. This political science theory recognizes that policies themselves send important signals that have implications for students’ civic development. We utilize the policy design framework to analyze CEI and, in particular, how CEI is likely to shape students’ civic and political engagement. We conclude with a proposal for future research on civic education using the policy design framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalPeabody Journal of Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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