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The items selected for the national pilot

are categorized by scale below. The numbers in

parentheses represent the item number on the

survey. We used a Likert scale from 1 to 4 which

was consistent with other measures for elementary

school children. The responses ranged from 1

(Strongly Disagree or “No Way!”), 2 (Disagree or

“Not really”), 3 (Agree or “Sort of”) and 4 (Strongly

Agree or “Yes!”).

Personal Responsibility: This construct was

defined as demonstrating responsible behaviors

and work habits.

Personally Responsible Behaviors – Moral

1. If I break something, I try to fix it. (Item


2. I put things away when I am done with

them. (Item #22)

3. I always try to do my best work. (Item #25)

4. If I do not do a good job, I try to do better

the next time. (Item #31)

Personally Responsible Behaviors –


5. I usually do what I’m supposed to do. (Item


6. It is important for me to follow the rules

even if no one is watching. (Item #19)

7. I think it is important for people to follow

the rules. (Item #38)

Civic Responsibility: This construct was

defined as caring for others, valuing group

work, caring for community, appreciating

diversity and demonstrating environmental


Concern for Others

8. I try to help when I see people in need.

(Item #4)

9. When I make a decision, I try to think about

how other people will be affected. (Item


10. I try to be kind to other people. (Item #11)

11. I apologize when I hurt someone’s feelings.

(Item #20)

12. I want to help when I see someone having a

problem. (Item #46)

Value of Group Work

13. To solve most problems, I have to learn how

to work with others. (Item #2)

14. I can learn more from working on group

projects than from working alone. (Item


15. I like working with other people on group

projects. (Item #24)

Caring for Community

16. I spend time on projects with other people

to help the community. (Item #23)

17. I think it is important to change things that

are unfair in society. (Item #27)

18. I have done things to help people in my

community. (Item #37)

19. I believe that I can make a difference in my

community. (Item #42)

Appreciating Diversity

20. I want to have friends who have different

backgrounds from me. (Item #14)

21. I can learn a lot from people with

backgrounds and experiences that are

different from mine. (Item #43)

CIRCLE Working Paper 47: June 2006


Developing Indicators and Measures of Civic Outcomes for Elementary School Students

Environmental Stewardship

22. I try to get my family to recycle at home.

(Item #6)

23. I have a responsibility to help keep the

community clean. (Item #17)

24. I try to get my friends to recycle bottles and

cans. (Item #39)

25. I do my part to help the environment.

(Item #47)

Leadership Efficacy: This construct was defined

as demonstrating the attitudes and actions of

taking leadership positions.

26. Once I know what needs to be done, I am

good at planning how to do it. (Item #7)

27. When I see something that needs to be

done, I try to get my friends to work on it

with me. (Item #13)

28. I am pretty good at organizing a team of

kids to do a project. (Item #18)

29. If I’m the leader of a group, I make sure

that everyone in the group feels important.

(Item #21)

30. I feel like I can stand up for what I think

is right, even if my friends disagree. (Item


31. When I see something that is wrong, I try to

change it. (Item #33)

Civic Thinking Skills: This construct was defined

as the ability to think critically.

32. It is important for me to get information to

support my opinions. (Item #5)

33. I am able to give reasons for my opinions.

(Item #29)

34. I keep my mind open to different ideas

when planning to make a decision. (Item


Civic Participation Skills: This construct

was defined as skills in perspective taking,

communication, group membership and conflict


Perspective Taking Skills

35. I try to think how someone else would feel

before I say something. (Item #3)

36. I make sure I understand what another

person is saying before I respond. (Item


37. When I am listening to someone, I try to

understand what they are feeling. (Item


Communication Skills

38. I try to think before I say something. (Item


39. I summarize what another person said to

make sure that I understood. (Item #36)

40. I try to watch other people’s body language

to help me understand what they are trying

to say. (Item #41)

Group Membership Skills

41. When I play with others, I take turns. (Item


Conflict Resolution Skills

42. If friends are fighting, I try to get them to

talk to each other and stop fighting. (Item


43. If a friend is mad at me, I try to understand

why. (Item #40)

44. I know how to avoid a fight when I need to.

(Item #45)

School as a Community: This scale was adapted

from a much longer scale created by the

Developmental Studies Center used to assess

the sense of community that exists within


45. Most students at this school treat each other

with respect. (Item #15)

46. Most students seem to care about each

other, even people they do not know well.

(Item #26)

47. Teachers at this school won’t let students

make fun of other students. (Item #32)

48. Students have an opportunity in this school

to debate and discuss issues. (Item #34)

49. Students feel like they are an important part 17

CIRCLE Working Paper 47: June 2006 Developing Indicators and Measures of Civic Outcomes for Elementary School Students

of the school. (Item #35)

50. Students can talk to the teachers in this

school about things that are bothering

them. (Item #50)

Civic Knowledge Items: Five items were selected to represent concepts and standards

covered primarily in grades three through five.

51. Which of these people make local laws?

a. Police officers

b. Newspaper reporters

c. City council members

d. Business leaders

52. July 4 is a national holiday that celebrates the day when:

a. the American colonies declared their

independence from Britain

b. the Pilgrims arrived in the New World.

c. women won the right to vote in elections.

d. the Civil War officially ended.

53. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it

stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

What are you promising when you say the pledge of allegiance?

a. I promise to be loyal to the ideals of the

United States.

b. I promise to study the laws of the United


c. I promise to salute the flag when I see it

in parades.

d. I promise to join the army of the United


54. A student notices that the playing fields at her school have become littered with trash. How

could she best show her civic responsibility?

a. Complain to her friends that no one at the

school cares about the way it looks.

b. Ignore the mess and take her friends to

play in an area that is still clean

c. Organize her class or school club to

clean up the playing fields.

d. Call the police to report that the

school’s fields are dirty.

55. What is a good reason to have laws?

a. To get people into trouble.

b. To help the president make money.

c. To protect people.

d. To keep police busy.

CIRCLE Working Paper 47: June 2006


Developing Indicators and Measures of Civic Outcomes for Elementary School Students

The civic knowledge items were included to

represent the comprehensive framework of civic

knowledge, skills and dispositions within the

survey and were also requested by several of

the pilot sites. Given the significant attention

focused on civic content in grades K through 12,

the bulk of the development work for this project

centered on the civic skills and dispositions that

have received limited attention at the elementary

level. As a result, the focus of this report is on the

first 50 items of the survey. The following section

describes the reliability and validity of the student




Reliability of the survey scales was

measured generating Cronbach’s alpha scores

for each of the constructs. The results for the full

national sample are illustrated in the following


In general, when outlier items are removed,

there were good reliabilities for most scales ranging

from .64 to .78 with exception of two scales:

Appreciating Diversity and Critical Thinking Skills.

Several possible factors may account for

the low reliability for Appreciating Diversity scale.

The limited number of items included in this

scale (only two items) is one that deserves more

research; the addition of more items would likely

increase its reliability. Also, there were problems

reported by survey administrators and students

about the language of the items. For example,

students in several sites reported that the word

“background” in the phrase “different backgrounds”

was confusing or not familiar. This was not an

issue in the pilot phase, possibly because such

language may be more common in urban, diverse

communities. As our nation’s pluralistic democracy

continues to diversify, this scale requires additional

attention to assess students’ understanding

and appreciation of diverse backgrounds and


The Critical Thinking Scale also

demonstrated low reliability. Once again, this

Scale # of Items in

Scale (National




Outlier Items Internal


w/o Outliers

Personally 4 .42 (Moral)

Responsible Behaviors

(Originally two scales)

3 .63




Concern for Others 5 .74 .74

Value of Group Work 3 .58 Item #2 .66

Caring for Community 4 .69 Item #27 .72

Appreciating Diversity 2 .49 .49



4 .71 .71

Leadership Efficacy 6 .64 .64

Critical Thinking


3 .48 .48

Civic Participation


10 .82 Items #3 and #9

caused this scale

to split into two



School as

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