Ariel Tichnor-Wagner to Lead State Civics Education Evaluation
Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has awarded a team led by Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, lecturer in BU Wheelock’s Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program, a contract to conduct research on and evaluation of the state of civics education in Massachusetts.
Tichnor-Wagner will be the study’s primary investigator and will be working with a research team at CIRCLE, part of the Jonathan M Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. Researchers with the Democratic Knowledge Project at Harvard University will be collaborators.
The researchers will examine the current state of civics education in Massachusetts as it relates to the requirements set forth by the Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework and Chapter 296 of the Acts of 2018, An Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement. They will also evaluate the initial impact of the Civics Teaching and Learning Grant on educators’ capacity to teach civics.
Before they begin their investigation, Tichnor-Wagner and the team will gather information via surveys of middle and high school social studies, civics, and government and elementary school teachers, as well as surveys of principals and district administrators. The team will also conduct individual interviews with teachers and administrators that focus on awareness, beliefs, and practices associated with civics education.
“Rather than evaluating students’ civic dispositions, knowledge, and skills, this research focuses on the infrastructure, resources, and capacity of the broad ecosystem of educators and school systems that supports students’ civic learning,” says Tichnor-Wagner.