Grants Awarded

Chicago-based Spencer Foundation has announced its funding for the small grant proposal, “Cross-Cohort Changes in Civic Attitudes in Three Countries:  Measurement, Contextual Predictors, and Participatory Outcomes,” submitted by Carolyn Barber, Ph.D., associate professor in the UMKC School of Education.

Barber’s grant proposal aligns with the Spencer Foundation’s strategic initiative that sees “civic education not simply as a grounding in historical and procedural knowledge of systems of government, but, more broadly, as education, whether in schools or elsewhere, that develops skills, knowledge, and dispositions that lead to informed and reasoned civic action.”

The two-year grant will support the study of how patterns of civic attitudes have changed among 14-year-olds in 16 countries by comparing cohorts from 1999 and 2009, using data from the IEA Civic Education Study (CIVED) and the International Civics and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS). Unlike ‘variable-centered’ designs that focus on correlations between one attitude and another, this work will take a ‘person-centered’ approach that identifies categories of young people based on their profiles of responses on multiple relevant attitudes, providing a more holistic approach to the study of civic engagement.

The work will be conducted in three steps. First, measurement models will ensure that attitudes are measured in equivalent ways in the 1999 CIVED and 2009 ICCS Studies. Second, profiles of civic attitudes and how the frequency of membership in these profiles varies across cohorts and countries will be identified. Finally, the work will consider how experiences in educational contexts are associated with profile membership and whether those with different attitudinal profiles have different current experiences in, and future experiences for, civic action.

This grant was one of nine announced by the Spencer Foundation in late 2013; the $43,276 award commenced in January.


In May 2013,ROOReady the Missouri Department of Higher Education awarded the School of Education $84,500 for its ROO READY! program, designed to expose high school students to the benefits of college through seminars and college visits, assist them with completion of college and financial aid applications, and provide tutoring throughout their senior year to support improved academic performance.  ROO READY! will provide support to students and their families from Center, East and Raytown high schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  Bonita Butner, Ph.D. is principal investigator.