Secondary students and the deliberation of public issues

Patricia G. Avery, Sara A. Levy, Annette M.M. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Nine secondary teachers who were taught to use one model of deliberation, Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) (Johnson and Johnson 1979), were matched with nine teachers in their schools who taught similar grade levels and subjects. Teachers in the Deliberation Classes engaged students in three deliberations across six months. Deliberations focused on current public issues, such as whether violent juvenile offenders should be tried as adults. Five of the nine classroom pairs were analyzed using both pre- and post-questionnaires. There were no statistically significant differences in the pre- and post-questionnaire responses of students in the Deliberation Classes (n = 244) and Comparison Classes (n = 249) in terms of self-reported issue knowledge. Variance in student opinion in the Deliberation Classes showed a significant decrease. Students in the Deliberation Classes (n = 297) demonstrated greater perspective-taking abilities than students in the Comparison Classes (n = 238). Within classes, diversity of opinion regarding issues was evident.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-854
Number of pages6
JournalPS - Political Science and Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 6 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Political Science Association, 2014.


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