Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date

Summer 2023


youth civic engagement, civic education, community engagement, education policy

First Advisor

Dr. Lori Riverstone-Newell

Second Advisor

Stevenson Center



In 2015, Illinois legislators passed HB 4025 which required every public high school to include a civics course for students to complete before graduation. In 2019, this bill was expanded to include middle school students through Public Act 101-025. In this study, I investigate how the civic education standards as outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and other school climate factors impacted middle school students’ civic engagement. I used data collected from the Center of Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the Illinois Civics Hub. The sample consisted of 497 middle school students from two schools in the State of Illinois. Multiple linear regression analyses indicated that no instructional variables significantly predicted civic engagement; however, variables for personal efficacy and community engagement in the classroom both positively impacted civic engagement among students. In keeping with existing work, this paper sheds light on the importance of community engagement as a potential component for high-quality civics education. I conclude with a policy recommendation which highlights strategies for community engagement in civic education for school district leaders to consider when implementing statewide standards.

Keywords: Youth civic engagement, civics education, community engagement