Magazine Feature

Toolkit for "Polarized Classrooms"

This toolkit for “Polarized Classrooms” directs teachers to online resources on political ideology and partisanship. 


In “Polarized Classrooms,” Paula McAvoy offers a framework for civic education in an era of political polarization.

Because politics can be tricky to discuss in the classroom, teaching about ideology, partisanship and political polarization can reduce tensions students may have around political differences.

The nonpartisan resources below can encourage students’ critical thinking about politics and help jumpstart a political discourse that doesn’t end when the bell rings.


Essential Questions

  1. What is the relationship between political ideology and partisanship?
  2. How can I begin to teach my students about political ideology and partisanship in ways that build their critical thinking?



Political Party Quiz

A 11-question quiz from The Pew Research Center and PBS Newshour that students can take to assess where they fall on the partisan political spectrum. 

Political Typology Quiz

A 23-question quiz created by the Pew Research Center that assesses which of eight political typologies respondents’ attitudes and values fall in. It offers a function to compare a group’s aggregate results to the general public’s results. Click “Start a new community group” to create a closed group for your classroom.

Compare Political Typology Groups

This resource from the Pew Research Center “looks beyond ‘Red vs. Blue’ in American politics, sorting voters into cohesive groups, based on their attitudes and values—not their partisan labels.” (For a more in-depth look, see the report “Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology.”) In the classroom, you can divide your class into groups, each assigned to report back on one of the typology groups. And, if students take the “Political Typology Quiz,” they can discuss questions like, “Do you agree with the way the quiz aligned you to a group?”


This website offers a 31-question quiz that assesses which candidates and parties respondents side with most. Students can take the quiz and also use the site to see how their views compare with voters in their state, district—and even neighborhood. Additional pages include poll results on a number of issues, such as women in combat, marriage equality and gun control.

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