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

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.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Peabody Journal of Education on 2019-01-01, available online:



Work Title Should We Be Testing Civics? Examining the Implications of the Civic Education Initiative
Open Access
  1. Kristina F. Brezicha
  2. Dana L. Mitra
  1. Civic education
  2. Accountability
  3. Policy design
  4. Policy feedback
  5. Political socialization
License CC BY-NC 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial)
Work Type Article
  1. Peabody Journal of Education
Publication Date January 28, 2019
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited March 01, 2024




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Brezicha_Mitra_Putting_Civics_to_the_Test_Clean_112018.docx
  • Added Creator Kristina F. Brezicha
  • Added Creator Dana L. Mitra
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Publication Date Show Changes
    • Civic education, Accountability, Policy design, Policy feedback, Political socialization
    Publication Date
    • 2019-01-01
    • 2019-01-28
  • Updated

Version 2

  • Created
  • Added Brezicha Mitra one size does not fit all final before pub.docx
  • Deleted Brezicha_Mitra_Putting_Civics_to_the_Test_Clean_112018.docx
  • Published
  • Updated