Civic Knowledge

Compositive Model

Civic Knowledge

Civic knowledge includes not only knowledge regarding civics but also how to become aware of such knowledge.

Research findings include

  • Civic and political knowledge are linked to increased social tolerance and civic engagement (e.g., likelihood of future voting and engagement in the community).
  • Discussions about current events with parents, participation in extracurricular activities, parental education level, and student education levels are predictive of civic knowledge during adolescence.
  • Adolescents with civic knowledge (i.e., knowledge of American governance and current events) say they are more likely to vote in the future.

Promising practices

  • We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is an instructional program for K-12 students that is designed to promote civic competence.
    • A study found that program participants demonstrated higher levels of civic knowledge, higher levels of civic skills, and higher levels of civic responsibility compared to two different control groups.
  • Kids Voting USA is a program (K-12) integrated in the school curriculum in the months leading up to Election Day. The curriculum includes peer discussions (e.g., classroom debates), opportunities to analyze political media, service-learning, civic activities, and activities inside the home with parents and siblings.
    • A longitudinal study found that the program had both short-and long-term effects on civic development.

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