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Evaluation of Law-Related Education Programs, Phase 2, Year 2 Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
670 pages
This report focuses on the activities of three curriculum projects -- the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRFF), Law in a Free Society (LFS), and the National Institute for Citizen Education in the Law (NICEL) -- in California, Michigan, and North Carolina whose activities were directed at successful implementation of law-related education in elementary, junior, and high school curriculums.
The report represents the third-year evaluation of a program instituted nationwide to provide students with conceptual as well as practical understanding of the law and legal processes and to equip them with knowledge of both their rights and responsibilities. Recommendations gathered in the first two years were incorporated into the three curriculums evaluated during the school year of 1982-83. Evaluation data mainly comprised pre- and posttest scores of students and teachers', trainers', and administrators' responses to interview questions. Results of the analysis indicate that the lesson objectives need to be more clearly laid out and that teachers should pay thorough attention to direction giving. Covering the law-related topics appeared to require greater technical knowledge of the law than teachers were able to provide and more ability to clarify ambiguity and controversial topics. Teachers need the support of additional resources and persons with legal knowledge. Teachers are advised to check for understanding of the lesson on a daily basis. The evaluation also found a negative relationship between the number of males in the class and positive effects regarding belief in the moral validity of social rules, peer relationships, and behavior. It is suggested that teachers be trained to avoid presenting an unbalanced picture of the law. The report is presented in five chapters devoted to the teacher training conducted prior to the 1982-83 school year, the implementation of the 3 programs being evaluated, the impact of the curriculums on students' attitudes and behaviors, the impact of various classroom settings and practices on the prospects for delinquency prevention, and efforts to institutionalize the program in the three States. Appendixes present the study instruments and responses.