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ERIC Number: ED494074
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Aug
Pages: 53
Abstractor: ERIC
Experiments in Political Socialization: Kids Voting USA as a Model for Civic Education Reform. CIRCLE Working Paper 49
McDevitt, Michael; Kiousis, Spiro
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), University of Maryland
This report describes how an innovative curriculum promoted the civic development of high school students along with parents by stimulating news media attention and discussion in families. Evidence is based on a three-year evaluation of Kids Voting USA, an interactive, election-based curriculum. Political communication in the home increased the probability of voting for students when they reached voting age during the 2004 election. Thus, the interplay of influences from school and family magnified curriculum effects in the short term and sustained them in the long term. This bridging of the classroom with the living room suggests how Kids Voting offers a model for reforming civic education in the United States. Data are derived from a series of natural field experiments, beginning with interviews of 491 student-parent pairs in 2002. The authors evaluate the curriculum as it was taught in the fall of that year in El Paso County, Colorado, with Colorado Springs as the largest city; Maricopa, County, Arizona, which includes the Phoenix region; and Broward/Palm Beach counties, Florida, the epicenter for the ballot-recount saga of 2000. Students who were juniors or seniors in 2002 were interviewed in the fall/winter of 2002, 2003, and 2004. They were all of voting age by the fall of 2004, allowing the authors to determine whether participation in the curriculum in 2002 affected turnout in the presidential election two years later. The authors also interviewed one parent from each family each year. The voting records in the four counties were examined to provide a definitive assessment of whether the curriculum increased the likelihood of voting. Finally, the panel survey data was supplemented with qualitative insights obtained from focus group interviews. An appendix provides: (1) Electoral Contexts; (2) Data Collection Procedures; (3) Item Wording & Coding for All Measures; and (4) three supplemental tables. (Contains 7 tables and 7 figures.) [This Working Paper was produced by CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement). For CIRCLE Working Paper 48, see ED494024.]
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). University of Maryland, School of Public Policy, 2101 Van Munching Hall, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-2790; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Colorado; Florida; United States