CERG Description

The goal of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) is to provide an evidence base that informs the design of policies and programs that promote the development of citizens for an effective, just, and humane democratic society.

Developing Citizens
  • Project Description

    Drawing on a longitudinal survey of 3,805 students from 47 high schools in Chicago, this study examined the impact of classroom practices, extracurricular activities, family conversations, neighborhood contexts, school contexts, and academic performance on students' developing commitments to civic participation. The study found that experiencing a set of classroom-based civic opportunities increases student commitment to civic participation. Other findings are that discussing civic and political issues with one's parents and living in a civically responsive community also appears to support the development of civic commitments. While participation in extracurricular activities (other than sports) and educational contexts and practices that are generally associated with desired academic outcomes appear to provide more modest support for this goal.



    Spencer Foundation

    Chicago Community Trust 


    Kahne, J. and Sporte, S. (2008) Developing Citizens: The Impact of Civic Learning Opportunities on Students' Commitment to Civic Participation. American Educational Research Journal. 45(3). 738-766.