Sarah McGrew is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She studies educational responses to the spread of online mis- and disinformation. Her research focuses on young people’s civic online reasoning—how they search for and evaluate online information on contentious social and political topics—and how schools can better support students to learn effective evaluation strategies.
In collaboration with the Stanford History Education Group, Dr. McGrew developed assessments of students’ online reasoning, conducted research on fact checkers’ strategies for evaluating digital content, and tested curriculum designed to teach these strategies to secondary and college students. Dr. McGrew's research has been published in journals including Cognition and Instruction, Computers & Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, and Theory and Research in Social Education. It also received coverage in outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Time, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. In addition to investigating online reasoning curricula in secondary and college classrooms, Dr. McGrew’s current research focuses on two related questions: how best to support teachers to learn civic online reasoning themselves and design lessons for students, and how to design lessons in civic online reasoning that are rooted in civic and community issues that students know and care about.
Dr. McGrew earned a B.A. in Political Science and Education from Swarthmore College and an M.A. and teacher certification in the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She taught high school history in Washington, D.C. for five years before returning to Stanford to complete her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education.
Refereed Journal Articles:
Wineburg, S., Breakstone, J., McGrew, S., Smith, M., & Ortega, T. (in press). Lateral reading on the open Internet: A district-wide field study in high school government classes. Journal of Educational Psychology.
McGrew, S., & Chinoy, I. (2022). Fighting misinformation in college: Students learn to search and evaluate online information through flexible modules. Information & Learning Sciences, 123 (1/2), 45-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-09-2021-0081
McGrew, S. (2021). Bridge or byway? Teaching historical reading and civic online reasoning in a U.S. history class. Theory & Research in Social Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2021.1997844
McGrew, S. (2021). Challenging approaches: Sharing and responding to weak digital heuristics in class discussions. Teaching & Teacher Education, 108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2021.103512
McGrew, S. (2021). Internet or archive: Expertise in searching for digital sources on a contentious historical question. Cognition & Instruction. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2021.1908288
McGrew, S. (2021). Skipping the source and checking the contents: An in-depth look at students’ approaches to web evaluation. Computers in the Schools, 38(2), 75-97. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2021.1912541
McGrew, S., & Byrne, V. B. (2021). Who is behind this? Preparing high school students to evaluate online content. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 53(4), 457-475. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2020.1795956
McGrew, S. (2020). Learning to evaluate: An intervention in civic online reasoning. Computers and Education, 145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103711
McGrew, S., Smith, M., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., & Wineburg, S. (2019). Improvement in university students’ web savvy: An intervention study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(3), 485-500. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12279
Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2019). Lateral reading and the nature of expertise: Reading less and learning more when evaluating digital information. Teachers College Record, 121(11).
McGrew, S., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., Smith, M., & Wineburg, S. (2018). Can students evaluate online sources? Learning from assessments of civic online reasoning. Theory & Research in Social Education, 46(2), 165-193. https://doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2017.1416320
Reisman, A., Kavanagh, S., Monte-Sano, C., Fogo, B., McGrew, S., Cipparone, P., & Simmons, E. (2018). Facilitating whole-class discussions in history: A framework for preparing teacher candidates. Journal of Teacher Education, 69(3), 278-293. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487117707463
Select Professional and Popular Publications:
Breakstone, J., McGrew, S., Smith, M., Ortega, T., & Wineburg, S. (2018). Why we need a new approach to teaching digital literacy. Phi Delta Kappan, 99(6), 27-32. http://www.kappanonline.org/breakstone-need-new-approach-teaching-digital-literacy/
McGrew, S., Ortega, T., Breakstone, J., & Wineburg, S. (2017). The problem that’s bigger than fake news: Civic reasoning in a social media environment. American Educator, 41(3), 4- 9, 39. https://www.aft.org/ae/fall2017/mcgrew_ortega_breakstone_wineburg
Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2016). Why students can’t Google their way to the truth. Education Week, 36(11), 22. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/02/why-students-cant-google-their-way-to.html
TLPL 686: Secondary Social Studies Pedagogy
TLPL 702: Theories of Learning and Leadership with Technology
TLPL 708C: Educational Responses to Digital Mis- and Disinformation