Review by Jennifer Sitkin, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2014

iSideWith

Easy-to-use political quiz provides instant results, provokes debate

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (0)
Not yet reviewed

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Pros: Nonpartisan site lets users quickly match views with political parties and engage with a range of political issues.

Cons: Some of the vocabulary and concepts may be difficult for a general student population to understand.

Bottom Line: A great tool to help students determine and compare political views; especially useful during the election cycle.

Students will need their own devices to take the quiz. Teachers can determine the number and types of responses they expect from their students depending on grade and ability level. Once students have their results, combining independent reflection and research with whole-class discussion would allow for in-depth examination of the political parties and issues. For example, have students share their results and compare them to their classmates', as well as to the other submissions on the site. Class discussions could focus on a specific issue related to a theme or topic covered elsewhere in the course or an important issue in the news or in your community. In an election year, the class could make predictions about particular candidates or ballot measures. Teachers might also use the site's search tools to sort news stories by ideology, which could be useful in a lesson on how perspective influences elections and politics.  

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ISideWith is a nonpartisan site that lets users explore political views. Its main feature is a political quiz that lets users weigh in on a range of issues and then see how their views align with those of various political parties. In addition to the quiz, there's an extensive collection of resources about political issues that range from news stories and heat maps to discussion threads. The quiz is organized into broad categories (social, economic, environmental, foreign policy, etc.). It asks simple yes-or-no questions, and there are also opportunities to state how important the issue is to you, to choose a more specific stance or add your own, and to respond to additional questions. After submitting responses, you can see your results in terms of how they match up with the political parties in general and also with specific issues. You can also view data collected from all submissions and break it down by demographics (income level, education, race, etc.). The site is updated regularly to reflect popular and relevant election issues. 

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Created as a way to increase voter engagement and education, iSideWith is a perfect fit for a classroom studying current events and the political spectrum. It's an especially powerful platform for making political issues relevant and resonant to students -- who doesn't love a good quiz? Students can take the quiz to identify their own political leanings, and that should lead to greater interest in political issues and greater understanding of the characteristics of the major political parties. Some of the issues and topics are complex, and teachers may want to plan pre- and post-quiz activities to help students fully digest the political views and issues. For example, providing students with an overview of the major political parties or creating a worksheet that takes a more in-depth look at one or more of the issues could be valuable. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Instant results and opportunities to compare political views should pique student interest. Students can search, view geographic data, and participate in online discussions about hot-button topics.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

While not created specifically for classroom use, the online quiz and additional content are accessible and readily usable for secondary students. Teachers can create assignments to meet their needs.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The site is easy to navigate with clear directions and explanations, and there's a FAQ that covers how the site works and addresses common challenges. Lesson plans and other teacher-friendly resources would be a welcome addition.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jennifer Sitkin Classroom teacher

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