Research

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Exploring the Role of Youth Leadership Councils: Developmental Competencies, Critical Consciousness, and School & Civic Engagement

Primary Investigator(s): Matthew Diemer

Funding Agency: New York University and the U.S. Department of Education

Period: 3/15/2018 - ongoing

Dr. Matthew Diemer will partner with colleagues from New York University on a grant awarded by the Institute for Education Sciences, part of the U. S. Department of Education. The study aims to elucidate how a certain type of youth-adult partnership for civic education, youth leadership councils (YLCs), supports public education’s goal of preparing youth for higher education, career, and productive citizenship . Scholars and practitioners have focused on how to foster social and behavioral competencies that may improve historically marginalized students’ opportunities to access college and careers, including developmental competencies and critical consciousness. However, there is little consensus on terms and categories, inadequate measures and methods, and a gap in the literature on this particular form of civic education. This exploratory study will delineate how the mediated relations among developmental competencies, critical consciousness and school engagement, which itself is an important predictor of postsecondary readiness and young adult civic engagement. Further, we will probe what malleable factors change the strength of these hypothesized relationships (i.e., may moderate). These findings will inform practice and further research on YLCs and other civic education initiatives both in and outside of schools. Dr. Diemer will lead the analyses and interpretation of the quantitative data, including but not limited to the application of structural equation modeling. He will also contribute substantive expertise regarding critical consciousness and positive youth development.