CERG Description

The goal of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) is to provide an evidence base that informs the design of policies and programs that promote the development of citizens for an effective, just, and humane democratic society.

Developing Citizens: The Impact of Civic Learning Opportunities on Students' Commitment to Civic Participation
by Joseph Kahne and Susan Sporte
September 1, 2008
This study of 4,057 students from 52 high schools in Chicago finds that a set of specific civic learning opportunities fosters notable improvements in students' commitments to civic participation. The study controls for demographic factors, pre-existing civic commitments, and academic test scores. Prior large scale studies that found limited impact from school-based civic education often did not focus on the content and style of the curriculum and instruction. Discussing civic and political issues with one's parents, extracurricular activities other than sports, and living in a civically responsive neighborhood also appear to meaningfully support this goal. Other school characteristics appear less influential.