ERIC Number: ED325405
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-May
Reference Count: N/A
Variables Affecting the Political Socialization of Adolescents: Implications for Instruction of At-Risk Students in the Social Studies Classroom.
Sidelnick, Daniel J.
Few researchers who study political socialization have examined the attitudes, values, and beliefs of low ability, at-risk students. This seems unfortunate if, as is often claimed, the goal of civic education is to deal with all students in such a way as to motivate them to play their part as informed and effective members of a modern democratic political system. Because of such omissions in the data gathered by political scientists and educational researchers, a study was designed to investigate differences among students of different ability and grade levels on three quantitative measures of political attitudes. Three instruments were selected to measure concepts viewed as essential to political socialization necessary for functioning in today's society. The concepts studied were: (1) a respect for law and order in society as measured by the Law Scale; (2) a belief in the equality of all individuals and the constitutional rights of all citizens as measured by the Freedoms Scale; and (3) an open-mindedness to the opinions of others and receptiveness to new facts as measured by the Dogmatism Field Scale. The study suggests that low ability, at-risk students are more dogmatic and consequently less likely to support fundamental freedoms embodied in the Freedoms Scale and the Bill of Rights. Social studies educators need to seek ways to increase support of fundamental freedoms, and to explore strategies to decrease the dogmatism or close-minded attitudes evident in many low ability and average adolescents. Three appendices provide a description of the research instruments used, list tables of statistical data, and present a 27-item bibliography. (DB)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Basic Skills, Citizenship, Citizenship Education, Democratic Values, Educational Research, High Risk Students, Political Attitudes, Secondary Education, Secondary School Students, Social Development, Social Science Research, Social Studies, Social Values, Socialization, Student Attitudes
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Educational Research Association (Pittsburgh, PA, May 6-8, 1990).