Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Marc H. Rosa


Conscientious and informed citizenry is essential in maintaining the integrity of American democracy. On the other hand, continued lack of engagement in and lack of positive attitudes towards civic participation can cause democracy to suffer. During the 21st century, schools are expected to prepare and motivate students to participate in their government. Research provides evidence that a positive relationship exists between civics education and increased civic and political knowledge; however, classroom instruction alone cannot provide all that is needed to promote a community of civic-minded individuals. Further, a survey of state level civics standards acknowledged the important relationship between participatory and intellectual skills, but was unable to assess the participatory skills in state standards. This study compared students in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) civics curriculum and students who took the traditional civics classes. Although NJROTC students scored higher in knowledge and attitudes towards participation in democratic citizenship, the only statistically significant difference that emerged showed NJROTC students to discuss international politics with greater frequency than the students in traditional civics classes.

On other comparisons, the two groups did not differ significantly based on group membership or grade level. New directions for research are suggested.