The Development of Critical Consciousness in Adolescents of Color Attending “Opposing” Schooling Models

Scott Seider, Daren Graves, Aaliyah El-Amin, Lauren Kelly, Madora Soutter, Shelby Clark, Pauline Jennett, Jalene Tamerat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Critical consciousness refers to the ability to analyze and take action against oppressive social forces shaping society. This longitudinal, mixed methods study compared the critical consciousness development of adolescents of color (n = 453) attending two sets of high schools featuring schooling models that represent “opposing” approaches to education. The participating adolescents were 13-15 years old at the start of the study; the majority identified as African American or Latinx; and nearly 80% came from low-SES households. They attended public charter high schools located in five different northeastern cities. Analyses of longitudinal survey data revealed that the adolescents attending these two sets of high schools demonstrated greater rates of growth on different dimensions of critical consciousness over their four years of high school. Qualitative interviews with youth attending these two sets of schools(n = 70) offered evidence of the long-theorized relationship between critical consciousness and problem-posing education, but also that effective practices supporting youth critical consciousness can be found embedded in schools featuring a broader range of pedagogies. These findings offer support for ethnic studies and action civics programming that several state departments of education have recently added to secondary school curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • adolescence
  • civic engagement
  • education/school
  • mixed methods
  • race/ethnicity


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