How to Evaluate Online Sources Using the CRAAP Test
This lesson ties into both ELA and Journalism standards asking students to critically analyze online news sources. Students will read Stephen Glass's famously fabricated article "Hack Heaven" and use their understanding of the methods of the CRAAP test to analyze its overall credibility.
This lesson can be used in-person and online, synchronously, as well as asynchronously, and ties into a research project where students conduct research to research, report, write, and edit their own news article on a topic of their choosing.
In this 60-minute synchronous and asynchronous lesson, students will learn to use the elements of the CRAAP Test to analyze the credibility of online sources. This lesson can be taught both in person and virtually. This resource is suitable for students grades 9-12, but could be modified for younger students by modifying the CRAAP test worksheet to be fewer questions and by choosing shorter articles appropriate for younger learners.
Background for Teachers
To teach this lesson, it's helpful to know about who Stephen Glass is and how he was exposed for fabricating popular articles like "Hack Heaven" in the late 90s.
Further, it's helpful to have background knowledge on ways students can distinguish reliable news from unreliable sources, and understand the concepts and ideas behind the CRAAP Test.
Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes
- Students will be able to analyze news sources.
- Students will utilize the methods of the CRAAP Test to evaluate the reliability of online sources.
- Students will evaluate Stephen Glass's "Hack Heaven" using the CRAAP test and utilize online sources we now have avaiable that we didn't in the late 90s.
- Students will be able to transfer the methods of the CRAAP test to their own research.
Step 2 - Planning Instruction
Student Background Knowledge
Prior to this lesson, students will need to understand the issues that arise from being unable to properly evaluate online sources. They should have a basic understanding of what fake news is and how it spreads. This lesson ties into a research project resulting in students researching, reporting, and writing their own news article, which will require them to be able to critically evaluate the sources they use to compile their article.
Strategies for Diverse Learners
Some strategies for diverse learners for this lesson include giving students vocab help prior to reading Stephen Glass's "Hack Heaven," as well as translating or abbreviating their reading.
For the CRAAP test, it might be helpful to give students the definitions of Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose, and possibly have them apply the CRAAP test to a news article in their native language.
Step 3 - Instruction
1.Quick Write: Write for 5 minutes. How do you ensure what you’re reading online is credible? What sites do you use to double-check information you find online?
2. Copy/paste "Hack Heaven" by Stephen Glass into your Google Doc, so you can annotate it.
After reading, find and add a comment to any sources he cited or interviewed for this particle. In your comment, add a note about whether you think this is a credible source and how you determined the credibility of the source.
Below, write a five-minute response to this article: What is your reaction? What did it make you think of? Anything that stood out to you? Anything that gave you pause?
3. Watch this video on Analyzing Sources with the CRAAP Test.
After watching, turn to a partner and come up with a definition and an example (from current news and events) for the following:
4. With your partner, use the CRAAP Test Worksheet to determine the credibility of Stephen Glass’s “Hack Heaven.” The CRAAP test is a list of questions that can help you determine and evaluate the credibility of a source. Go through the worksheet and score the article on each category. Afterward, write up a justification for how you scored it and be ready to present your findings in class.
5. Exit Ticket: Why do you think “Hack Heaven” was so successful in its time? How do things like this still happen today? How can we use strategies like the CRAAP Test to avoid this from happening? Write for 5 minutes.
Step 4 - Assessments
Prior to this lesson, we will conduct an informal pre-assessment, asking students to share strategies and sites they use to ensure news is credible.
Students' annotation and response to Stephen Glass's "Hack Heaven" will serve as constructed response formative assessment, as well as show students' metacognitive abilities as they annotate the text.
Finally, students will use the CRAAP Test Scoring Sheet to score "Hack Heaven" and submit a constructed response evaluation of the article, as well as an exit ticket, showing what they've learned.