The Simulated Public Hearing
Participating teachers and organizations are encouraged to hold a simulated public hearing showcase as the culminating activity for Project Citizen. Students participating in Project Citizen create a portfolio, which consists of four panels, and a documentation binder addressing a public policy problem. For the hearing showcase event, each of the four working portfolio groups prepares and presents a statement on its section of the portfolio before a panel of community representatives who act as members of an appropriate government body or agency. Each portfolio group then answers questions posed by the committee members. The format provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how public policy is formulated while providing teachers with an excellent means of assessing performance.
The purpose of the simulated hearing (the oral presentation component) is to teach students to present and defend reasoned opinions related to influencing public policy decision-making in their communities. For the simulated hearing, students or youth organization members are subdivided into four groups, one group for each section of the portfolio. Each group has the following primary responsibility:
- Portfolio Group One: Explaining the problem
- Portfolio Group Two: Examining alternative policies
- Portfolio Group Three: Proposing a public policy
- Portfolio Group Four: Developing an action plan
Each group makes a prepared four-minute presentation. The group then responds for six minutes to follow-up questions posed by members of the evaluator panel. Each of the four groups addresses the panel for a total of ten minutes. At the conclusion of each presentation, the panel members should provide constructive feedback.
For more detailed instructions on holding a showcase event, please review the Guidelines for a Showcase Event. Instructions for evaluating each of the components of the hearing as well as asking follow-up questions to each of the four groups who make presentations are available in the Guidelines for the Hearing Evaluation. The Hearing Rating Sheet is used to assess student performance.
The Portfolio Showcase & Evaluation
Another type of showcase is the Portfolio Showcase. The completed portfolio and binder is displayed at showcases at the school, district, state, or national levels. Evaluators review each portion of the portfolio and documentation binder using the Guidelines for Portfolio Evaluation and the Portfolio Rating Sheet. For more detailed instructions on holding a portfolio showcase, please review the Guidelines for a Showcase Event.
Portfolio and Hearing Resources
Want to see how to have your students build a quality portfolio? Click here for an exemplary portfolio. Additional resources for creating portfolios, including Web 2.0 Resources for Creating Electronic Portfolios, are available in the Project Citizen Resource Center.