Research Overview

CIRCLE Fact Sheet – “Civic Learning through Action: The Case of Generation Citizen” defines “Action Civics” and explores Generation Citizen as a case study.

Action Civics is a broad term used to describe curricula and programs that go beyond traditional civics programs by combining learning and practice. Action Civics prepares young people “for their roles as citizens and leaders by allowing them a chance to participate in authentic democratic activities, from elections to advocacy, from public debates to the creation of new civic media.”

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This CIRCLE fact sheet

“Do Discussion, Debate, and Simulations Boost NAEP Civics Performance?” finds that exposure to these three recommended teaching practices boosted civic knowledge scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Unfortunately, exposure to the three practices did not reduce the race- and class-related achievement gaps on the NAEP Civics.

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Looking for the latest research, trends, and studies in civic learning and engagement? MCCE recommends:

Civic Engagement Research Group at Mills College

The Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG), conducts quantitative and qualitative research focused on understanding: the nature of youth civic engagement; the impact of civic learning opportunities and digital media participation on young people’s civic capacities and commitments; and the quantity, quality, and equality of civic opportunities and outcomes in public schools and other contexts. Go to for a complete list of Reports and Publications which includes the three below.

  • Kahne J. and Middaugh, E. (2008) Democracy for some: The civic opportunity gap in high school CIRCLE Working Paper 59.
  • Kahne, J. and Middaugh, E. (2008) High Quality Civic Education: What is It and Who Gets It? Social Education.
  • Kahne, J. and Westheimer, J. (2003). Teaching Democracy: What Schools Need to Do. Phi Delta Kappan.

The Center on Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, CIRCLE

CIRCLE conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans. Research topics include Community Participation, Youth Demographics, Youth Voting/Political Participation, K-12 Civic Education, Civic Knowledge, Concepts of Citizenship, Service Learning, Youth Attitudes and Beliefs. Site includes Fact Sheets, Working Papers, and Special Reports.

Facts sheets for K-12 Civic Education Include: