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Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 111–125 | Cite as

Latino Adolescents’ Civic Development in the United States: Research Results from the IEA Civic Education Study

  • Judith Torney-PurtaEmail author
  • Carolyn H. Barber
  • Britt Wilkenfeld
Original Paper

Abstract

Many studies have reported gaps between Latino and non-Latino adolescents in academic and political outcomes. The current study presents possible explanations for such gaps, both at the individual and school level. Hierarchical linear modeling is employed to examine data from 2,811 American ninth graders (approximately 14 years of age) who had participated in the IEA Civic Education study. Analyses of large data bases enable the consideration of individual characteristics and experiences, as well as the context of classrooms and schools. In comparison with non-Latino students, Latino adolescents report more positive attitudes toward immigrants’ rights but have lower civic knowledge and expected civic participation. These differences were apparent even when controlling for language, country of birth, and political discussions with parents. School characteristics that explain a portion of this gap include open classroom climate and time devoted to study of political topics and democratic ideals. Results are discussed within the framework of developmental assets and political socialization. Implications for educational policy and ways to use large data sets are also discussed.

Keywords

Hispanic Latino Citizenship Political socialization Ethnic identity Positive youth development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The collection of data for the IEA Civic Education Study in the United States was supported by the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Some of the analysis reported here was supported by the William T. Grant Foundation and by the Carnegie Corporation of New York through CIRCLE (the Center for Research on Civic Learning and Engagement). The authors are grateful for comments on early versions to Fernando Reimers and to participants in the Workshop on Multilevel Models of Civic Engagement (held in May 2006 at the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Political Psychology). The full international data set (including scales and documentation) is available on a CD-Rom (see information about ordering a free copy on http://www.wam.umd.edu/∼iea). Information about obtaining the U.S. data set can be obtained from http://www.nces.ed.gov/surveys/cived.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith Torney-Purta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carolyn H. Barber
    • 1
  • Britt Wilkenfeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Human DevelopmentUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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