Political Conversations with Others

This tool provides a way to assess adolescents’ interest in politics by assessing their political communications with others (p. 22).

This tool was tested on 1,924 youth in grades 7 through 12, but most of the participating youth were in grades 11 and 12.  The participating youth were ages 12-18 years in 88 social studies classes in the Northeastern United States. The participating youth were evenly split between males and females; they were 85% white; 43% of the parents of the youth had a high school diploma or less. (http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/WorkingPapers/WP55Flannagan.pdf)


Administration Method
Number of Questions
Creator(s) of Tool
Flanagan, C.A., Syvertsen, A.K., and Stout, M.D. (2007). Civic Measurement Models: Tapping Adolescents’ Civic Engagement. CIRCLE Working Paper 55. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. (http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/WorkingPapers/WP55Flannagan.pdf)
Scoring / Benchmarking
This tool would be administered as a pre-test (before the person participates in the program) and as a post-test (follow up after participating in the program).

Higher scores indicate greater interest in politics.

Score each item on a scale of 1 to 5 as follows:

Strongly Agree = 5
Agree = 4
Uncertain = 3
Disagree = 2
Strongly Disagree = 1

Program administrators would score each item, and calculate the total score. There are three ways that the program administrators can use the scores. First, they could look at the overall score to see how that improves from the first time the individual filled out the assessment to the most recent assessment. Second, they could also look at improvements in the scores of particular items between the first time the individual filled out the assessment and the most recent assessment. Finally, they could look at changes in scores for each sub-set of questions. If the program is intended to influence only one form of engagement, the program may choose to use only one set of questions.

Improving Service Delivery Tip!
The second way provides three avenues for improving service delivery. First, it has the advantage of being able to see where the program seems to be making the most difference for individuals. Second, it will also allow program administrators to see if participants ever indicate becoming “less likely” to engage in a particular activity after participating in the program. Third, examining the scores on the pre-test can provide an indication if the targeted children/youth are enrolling in the program. Children/youth must score at a pre-test level that provides room for improvement. If the children/youth score high at pre-test, it indicates that they might not benefit from the program activities. This could trigger a review of recruitment and enrollment strategies, or a review of what the program hopes to accomplish.
Background / Quality
Questions 1, 2, and 3: Communication with parents about politics
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .86

Questions 4, 5, and 6: Communication with teachers about politics
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .84

Questions 7, 8, and 9: Communication with friends about politics
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .86

Questions 10, 11, and 12: Communication with classmates about politics
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .86
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
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