Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nyaradzo H. Mvududu


An urban elementary school in the city of Phoenix showed little evidence of using active learning even though active learning is a best practice to create engaged citizens. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether participating in a 3-week service-learning project improved civic engagement among at-risk elementary students. The theoretical foundation for this study was the constructivist learning theory, which states that students learn and create meaning by being active participants in their own learning. The research questions asked if completing a 3-week service-learning project showed a statistically significant difference in civic engagement for at-risk tutorial students at the school and whether there was a statistically significant grade level interaction effect. The Civic Responsibility Survey for K-12 Students Engaged in Service was used to gather quantitative data for this quasi-experimental design. The sample consisted of 162 students and was limited to the number of students enrolled in first through fourth grades in the 2016-2017 school year. Descriptive statistics and an analysis of covariance was conducted to determine the effect of participation in a service-learning project on reported civic engagement outcomes. There was no statistically significant difference in civic engagement after students participated in a service-learning project compared to students who did not participate. There was, however, a statistically significant difference in civic engagement scores between Grade 3 and Grade 1 and Grade 3 and Grade 4. A 3-day professional development was created for teachers as a result of this study. This may influence positive social change by creating active learning experiences for students at the school, which may lead to greater civic engagement, improved teacher-student relationships, and higher academic achievement.

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