Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor's Name

Mohammed K. Farouk

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Hilary Landorf

Advisor's Name

Leonard Bliss

Advisor's Name

Aixa Perez-Prado

Keywords

Civics, Civic Education, Social Studies, Hispanics, Miami-Dade

Date of Defense

11-2-2011

Abstract

This study assessed the civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes of Hispanic eighth grade students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), Florida. Three hundred sixty one Hispanic students of Cuban (253), Colombian (57), and Nicaraguan (51) ancestry from 10 middle schools participated in the study. Two hundred twenty eight students were from low socio-economic status (SES) background, and 133 were of middle SES background. There were 136 boys and 225 girls. The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement Civic Education Student Questionnaire was used to collect data. The instrument assessed the students’ civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to test for differences in the civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes of participants based on ancestry, SES, and gender.

The findings indicated that there was no significant difference in the civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes of Hispanic eighth grade students that were of Cuban, Colombian, and Nicaraguan ancestry. There was no significant difference in the civic vi ii skills and in five of the civic attitude scales for students from low SES families compared to those from middle SES families. However, there was a significant difference in the civic knowledge and in the civic attitude concerning classroom discussions and participation based on SES. The civic knowledge of middle SES students was higher than that of low SES students. Furthermore, middle SES Hispanic students displayed a higher mean score for the civic attitude of classroom discussions and participation than low SES students. There was no significant difference in the civic knowledge and in five of the civic attitude scales between boys and girls. However, there was a significant difference in the civic skills and the civic attitude of support for women’s rights between boys and girls. Hispanic girls displayed a higher mean score in civic skills than Hispanic boys. Furthermore, the mean score of civic attitude of support for women’s rights for Hispanic girls was higher than that of Hispanic boys.

It was concluded that Cuban, Colombian, or Nicaraguan participants did not demonstrate differences in civic attitudes and levels of civic knowledge and skills that eighth grade students possessed. In addition, when compared to boys, girls demonstrated a higher level of civic skills and a greater support for women’s rights and participation in politics and their roles in politics. Moreover, SES was demonstrated to be a key factor in the acquisition of civic knowledge, regardless of ancestry.

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