Funded by: Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education, Singapore

PIs: A/P Adrian Kwek (SUSS), A/P Luke Peh (SUSS) and Mr. Josef Tan (MOE)

The project “Developing a Disinformation Response Competency Test” was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education, Singapore [grant reference: DEV 03/19 AK].

The team comprises of Adrian Kwek (SUSS), Luke Peh (SUSS) and Josef Tan (MOE). We set out to produce proof-of-concept of a customisable test instrument based on argumentation and motivation to measure students’ tendency to believe and spread fake news. However, we could not produce a reliable argumentation part of the instrument even after many rounds of adjustments and pilot testing.

Instead we got some evidence for the following: 1) Interestingness of the information and the desire to socially punish perceived norm-transgressors increasingly contribute to a student’s motivation to spread disinformation as the student ages from lower to upper/post-secondary levels; 2) results from items that test truth-discernment exhibit correlations with results from the motivation items that warrant a closer investigation into substituting argumentation items with truth-discernment items in a future iteration of the instrument prototype; and 3) the motivation items have acceptable reliability and validity.

From working on the project, we learnt about factors that contribute to one’s susceptibility to fake news and about attempts at educational interventions to reduce students’ susceptibility to fake news. We have conducted two workshops with Singapore Ministry of Education staff and teachers, made a cheat sheet for the workshops and summarised what we learnt into two videos.

Project outputs and resources: