- From June 2018 to May 2019, we administered an assessment to 3,446 students, a national sample that matches the demographic profile of high school students in the United States. The six exercises in our assessment gauged students’ ability to evaluate digital sources on the open internet. The results—if they can be summarized in a word—are troubling: •Fifty-two percent of students believed a grainy video claiming to show ballot stuffing in the 2016 Democratic primaries (the video was actually shot in Russia) constituted “strong evidence” of voter fraud in the U.S. Among more than 3,000 responses, only three students tracked down the source of the video, even though a quick search turns up a variety of articles exposing the ruse. Two-thirds of students couldn’t tell the difference between news stories and ads (set off by the words “Sponsored Content”) on Slate’s homepage.Ninety-six percent of students did not consider why ties between a climate change website and the fossil fuel industry might lessen that website’s credibility. Instead of investigating who was behind the site, students focused on superficial markers of credibility: the site’s aesthetics, its top-level domain, or how it portrayed itself on the About page.
- U.S. History, World History, Political Science
- Upper Primary, Middle School, High School
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- Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives
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