Prospective Civic Engagement

This tool measures youths' ability to “express their political voice” (p. 4) and “alternative ways of expressing political voice” (p. 12).

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. (


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. (
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 higher levels of confidence in expressing their political voice.

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

Extremely Likely = 5
Somewhat Likely = 4
Maybe = 3
Somewhat Not Likely = 2
Not Likely at All = 1

Program administrators would score each item, and calculate a 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: Expectations for engagement in electoral politics
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .72

Questions 4, 5, and 6: Expectations for unconventional political engagement
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .73

Questions 7, 8, and 9: Expectations for engagement in community issues
Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .80
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
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