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FEATURED: Schoolwide Civic Intervention May Help to Increase Community Service Participation Among Students of All Backgrounds

March 16th, 2010
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By Hugh McIntosh, Sheldon Berman, and James Youniss

March 2010

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“CIRCLE Working Paper #70” describes a five-year evaluation of a high school program designed to encourage schoolwide democratic deliberation.  The intervention involved, in part, organizing the school into clusters of 100 to 150 students that met for one hour each week to discuss governance and other school-related issues, perform community service, and pursue other cluster-related activities.  The researchers, Hugh McIntosh, Sheldon Berman, and James Youniss, found that over the five-year evaluation, the rate of participation in community service increased by 23 percentage points.  They attribute this increase to the clustering intervention, since 17% of all seniors (28 of 169) in 2007 reported that the only service they performed was in their cluster.  In addition, they note that the increase in community service participation spread widely throughout the student population, including males and females, Whites and non-Whites, high- and low-SES students, highly active students, and students who seldom get involved in non-academic school activities. The qualitative findings from this study support the idea that adult support plays an important role in building youth civic engagement.

*Download CIRCLE Working Paper #70 “A Five-Year Evaluation of a Comprehensive High School Civic Engagement Initiative”

Suggested Citation:  McIntosh, H., Berman, S., & Youniss, J. (2010). A Five Year Evaluation of a Comprehensive High School Civic Engagement Initiative (CIRCLE Working Paper No. 70). Retrieved from Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) website: http://civicyouth.org/PopUps/WorkingPapers/WP_70_McIntosh_Berman_Youniss.pdf

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