Political Science Education and the Profession

Teaching Civic Engagement Through Immersive Experience: Students’ Acquisition of Civic Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions



Civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions are necessary for responsible, productive, and engaged citizenship. Students from less privileged circumstances often attend poorly resourced schools and receive limited or substandard civics training that is especially devoid of attention to skills and dispositions. They also lack access to curricular interventions that take an active learning approach that is relevant to their needs and personal experience. We examine the effectiveness of two programs of the Center for Civic Education—the Congressional Academy for American History and Civics and Project Citizen. The programs take different approaches to active learning that facilitates students’ development of civic skills and dispositions. We find that both programs impart civic orientations to high-need students more effectively than traditional civics classes. Differences in civic learning based on SES, race, and gender were evident which points to the importance of designing civics curricula that meet the needs of diverse student populations.


Thumbnail image of Civic Engagement Paper Final.pdf


Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting and Discussion Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .