Preparing Urban Youth to Live-up to their Civic Promise? Researching Youth Positionality of Civic Engagement Using an Arts-Based Instrument

Brad M Maguth, Kristin L.K. Koskey


Additional research is needed on ways in which urban youth report their civic engagement. Existing resesearch indicates that federal legislation has resulted in reduced instructional time and resources in social studies and civic education in many states, which has led to a civic education opportunity gap that resonates through many urban communities (Kahne, 2008; Maguire, 2007). This intrinsic case study explored how third through seventh-grade urban youth (N=544) positioned civic engagement in a constructed “significant circle,” an employed arts-based data collection instrument. Findings indicated that 3% of the students included at least one idea related to civic engagement and responsibility in their circle, and less than 1% of the students demonstrated balance across three program goals that included civic engagement, academic success, and leading a healthy lifestyle.


Arts-based instrument, elementary, methodology, civic education, identity, urban, culturally relevant

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