*EVALUATING UNDEVELOPED AND UNDEFENDABLE CLAIMS
Modern political discourse has veered away from substantive discussion. Some claims are either entirely self-evident or are patently untrue and have no viable evidence to support them, making them inappropriate for substantive debate. Our curriculum presents students with claims that are worthy of debate, completely undefendable, and entirely self-evident to assess if they can differentiate between them.Even when students have a 33% chance of guessing correctly, about half of them (47%) can’t identify when claims “aren’t defendable” enough for substantive debate.-0-0-*IDENTIFYING ARGUMENTS THAT DON’T PROGRESSAnother challenge in modern political discourse is the Twitterization of our culture: making clickbait or 140-character arguments and failing to advance them.Candidates frequently repeat themselves to drive home a point, rather than digging into the actual subject matter.NoRedInk tests this skill by giving students claims that are followed by mere restatements and seeing whether they can identify the problem.We also give students a series of statements to see if they can drag in the ones that actually advance the argument.Fewer than half of students (47%) can identify when the follow-on statement is a mere repackaging of the original claim, even in a multiple-choice format.*MAKING LOGICAL DEDUCTIONS
We also assess whether students can tell when arguments leap to unjustified conclusions based on the evidence.
Students do only 2% better than a coin flip (52%) when asked whether a piece of reasoning logically connects claims and evidence.-0-0-*DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN CLAIMS, EVIDENCE AND REASONING
To construct logical, persuasive arguments, students need to be able to understand the separate roles of claims, evidence, and reasoning. NoRedInk creates persuasive arguments on interesting topics and measures whether students can identify the different parts of the argument.Again, less than half of students (49%) were able to complete the task successfully.-0-0-*ANALYZING EVIDENCEAmong the biggest challenges of modern political discourse is the lack of evidence to defend one’s claims. Often, the “evidence” provided is not credible, not factual, or not relevant. NoRedInk’s curriculum assesses students on each of these dimensions.Only about half of students (54%) can tell that these arguments are weak.NOT CREDIBLE
Only 42% of students can tell that these arguments are weak.
Only about half (54%) of students can tell that these arguments are weak.
-0-0-*RECOGNIZING VAGUE LANGUAGEWhen individuals hide behind vague language, they can obscure the truth or present misleading information.And here is an example of how our curriculum trains students to flag ambiguity:Unfortunately, only 35% of students are able to detect vague or ambiguous language that’s used in arguments like this.-0-0-REVISING WORDINESSIn order for students to advocate for themselves, it’s important that they be able to articulate their ideas clearly and crispy, shedding
words that distract and detract from their arguments.The last skill area that NoRedInk assessed is students’ ability to eliminate wordy, redundant, or irrelevant language that has the potential to weaken their arguments.
We found that only 33% of students are able to detect and remove language that qualifies as “wordy,” “redundant,” or “irrelevant.”(Update: removing extraneous words that were not part of the slide presentation)