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ERIC Number: ED562768
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
Middle School Students Discussing Controversial Issues to Learn about Civic Engagement: A Randomized Evaluation of the Word Generation Program
Lin, Alex; Lawrence, Joshua; Snow, Catherine
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Although past research suggests that civic education programs can be effective in helping students become more civically engaged, this study tests whether these treatment effects are generalizable across an urban school district with multiple middle school sites. This study also contributes understanding of how treatment effects may vary for students from ethnic minority populations, in particular to those identified as Asian and Latino. The theoretical framework that is tested in this study is the Structure-Stimulus-Orientation-Response (S-S-O-R) model that hypothesizes the relationship between classroom discussion of controversial issues and civic engagement. The purpose of this study is to determine whether a cross-content intervention called Word Generation (WG) has a significant impact on students' self-reported civic engagement. Research is guided by the following questions: (1) Does the Word Generation program have a positive impact on students' self-reported civic engagement?; and (2) To what extent does students' ethnic identification (e.g. Latino and Asian) influence the direction and strength of the relationship between program participation and self-reported civic engagement? From fall 2011 to spring 2012, middle school students (N = 5,870) participated in a randomized study of the WG intervention that was conducted in an urban school district located in a West Coast metropolitan area of the United States. Multiple regression results show that participation in the WG program has a significant impact on students' civic engagement, after accounting for other covariates. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)