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Abstract

Concern exists regarding civic education and involvement among youth in the United States. Where civic education is still given priority, instructional methods do not necessarily focus on the application of the knowledge gained in real and meaningful ways, which research has shown is critical to develop civic literacy and efficacy. This study provides analysis of Project Citizen, a curricular program shown to promote civic literacy and efficacy, in an effort to identify which activities and instructional practices most influenced the civic literacy and efficacy development, and allows student voice regarding their feelings of how the project influenced their civic literacy and efficacy development. This information is important as it could inform teacher's instructional practice, especially for those lacking time or resources to implement prepackaged programs like Project Citizen. This mixed methods research identified collaborative, research focused, issue based instructional practices as key to the development of civic literacy and efficacy. Findings support previous research that knowledge driven instruction alone neither prepares students for the responsibilities of active citizenship, nor does it provide the mastery experiences or vicarious learning experiences programs like Project Citizen afford. Analysis of the individual components, identified collaboration, research practice, and public policy instruction as most influential in developing civic literacy according to student participants.

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