Attitudes toward Elected Officials and Government

This tool measures the opinions of young people regarding their “trust of elected officials, the extent to which citizens need to hold the government accountable, and government concern for ordinary people” (p. 7).

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)

Tool

Administration Method
Number of Questions
12
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 higher levels of perceived ability. Score each item on a scale of 1 to 5 as follows:

Strongly Agree = 5
Agree = 4
Neither Agree nor Disagree = 3
Disagree = 2
Strongly Disagree = 1

There are three types of perceptions measured in this scale:
Questions 1-5 measure perceptions of trustworthiness of elected officials
Questions 6-9 measure perceptions of civic accountability
Questions 10-12 measure perceptions of government responsiveness to “the People”

Program administrators would score each item, and calculate a total score for each subscale. 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 look at improvements in the scores of particular items between the first time the individual filled out the assessment to the most recent assessment. Third, they could examine improvement by sub-scale as indicated above.

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 1-5, Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .76
Questions 6-9, Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .73
Questions 10-12, Cronbach’s Alpha at re-test = .74
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
No
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