Student Voice in Elementary School Reform: Examining Youth Development in Fifth Graders

Dana L. Mitra, Stephanie C. Serriere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The present research examines the developmental outcomes of elementary-aged students engaged in student voice efforts. Using a case study of fifth-grade girls, the authors compare their experiences to research examining secondary school. The authors find marked similarities in the growth of agency, belonging, competence-the ABCs of youth development. The authors also notice two additional dimensions-the need to engage in discourse that allows an exchange of diverse ideas while working toward a common goal. The authors also observed the emergence of civic efficacy, or a belief that one can make a difference in their social worlds. The authors also examine the contexts and conditions that support positive youth development in this case-scaffolding youth learning, establishing inquiry as the framework for teaching and learning, and establishing a clear vision of the school as a place that fosters student voice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-774
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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