South Orangetown Central School District

Before South Orangetown Middle School seventh graders in Research & Debate Explore class begin researching topics to debate, they are learning how to determine whether sources are credible and trustworthy.

Landgraff introduced two strategies for evaluating sources–CRAAAP (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Appropriateness and Purpose) and RADCAB (Relevancy, Appropriateness, Detail, Currency, Authority and Bias)–and tasked students with choosing one to validate the credibility of a source generated by a Google search of their choice.

Cristian R. was not sure whether the websites he relied on in the past were accurate or not. “This will help me to make sure that I don’t use sites that have wrong information,” he said.

“I’m searching ‘How hard is it to get into Harvard?’” explained Moira M. “These tests are important because if you go to a website that gives you the wrong information, you could do the wrong thing. There’s a higher chance that you’ll get into a really good school if you get your information from a reliable source.”

Diya K., who was searching how to calculate your GPA, agreed. “It helps you make sure that you’re getting information from accurate sources. Otherwise, you may think you know how to do something when you really don’t. Using credible sources will help you do better in your classes, like Research & Debate, and get a better GPA.”

Teaching students to become critical media consumers begins in South Orangetown elementary schools and is expanded, reinforced and practiced over the course of their K-12 experience.

“When our middle school students prepare for debates, the first thing they do is go to Google to research their topic,” noted Library Media Specialist Kim Landgraff. “They need the knowledge and skills to examine their search results and select credible sites. Later in the course, they’ll also learn how to find resources using databases through NOVELny, which is provided by the New York State Library and connects New Yorkers to 21st century information.”

Students discussing websites