Political Science Education and the Profession

Political Knowledge and the Development of Civic Dispositions and Skills

Diana Owen Georgetown University
This study explores the proposition that knowledge of American government and politics is associated with heightened civic dispositions and skills. It find that quality civic education programs can increase civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Using middle and high school student data, the study establishes an empirical association between knowledge and dispositions, and to a lesser extent, civic skills. High-need students exhibited a strong connection between knowledge an dispositions. The association between knowledge and dispositions was stronger for high school students than for middle school students.
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Civic Education Research Lab Georgetown University
The Civic Education Research Lab (CERL) conducts evidence-based research on education in civics, social studies, American government, and politics. CERL has produced extensive studies of civic education at the K-12 level, including: Research on the effectiveness of teacher education and professional development programs on teachers’ subject-area knowledge, pedagogy, and self-efficacy. Students’ acquisition of civic knowledge, dispositions, and skills as a result of taking a civics class or participating in a civics program. In addition, CERL is dedicated to exploring the evolution of new media and its consequences for democratic politics, especially citizen engagement. As the requirements of responsible and effective citizenship in the 21st century have become increasingly complex, CERL examines the role of the civic education in preparing young people to navigate the digital age political world. CERL hosts an online repository of resources and information for scholars, educators, and policy makers.