Research Paper: High Need Students’ Acquisition of Civic Dispositions and Skills

By Diana Owen and Kathryn Hartzell

This study examines the effectiveness of the Center for Civic Education’s Congressional Academy for students in conveying civic orientations. The Academy is an intensive summer program based on the Center’s We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum intervention that integrates scholar lectures, active learning approaches, and field trips. The program targets high-need students and their teachers from Title I schools. The study uses student survey and interview data collected at the 2019 Academy. Students’ knowledge of history and civics improved, especially for the Title I school students. Participation in the Academy significantly enhanced students’ civic dispositions related to political interest and attention, political discussion, community engagement, government service, civic duty, and trust in government. Students’ confidence in their civic skills also increased. Respect for the rule of law was high among students prior to and following the Academy. Title I students’ trust in the media declined after the program.

High Need Students’ Acquisition of Civic Dispositions and Skills