Discussions about politics and public policy increasingly take place on social media. These conversations often include links to news articles, videos, and other sources, but the quality of this evidence varies tremendously.
This task assesses students’ ability to evaluate the evidence used to support claims made during a Facebook conversation about gun control. Students are presented with two posts and asked to explain which contains better evidence. In this case, the evidence presented varies in two important ways: its origin and its type.
Successful students will notice and compare the sources each user provides. Anya links to an article from a mainstream, national newspaper. In contrast, Grace’s chart comes from a group that lobbies against restrictions on gun ownership. Furthermore, Anya’s source reports on a gun policy that has already been implemented; Grace’s chart makes speculative claims about whether mass shootings would or would not have been prevented if certain gun restrictions had been in effect—claims impossible to substantiate.