Civics and Citizenship Assessment

Publication Date



Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in Vancouver, 13-17 April 2012.


Civic and citizenship education is increasingly conceptualized in national curricula within a lifelong learning perspective that encompasses formal curricula (that specify content and approaches in a subject or set of subjects), non-formal curricula (through co-curricular activities in schools) and informal curricula (through a school and classroom ethos that embodies citizenship values). One review of education policies in Europe documents attempts to encourage ‘active citizenship’ supported by ‘democratic schools’ offering a ‘participatory school culture’. However, there is evidence of a gap between declarations of principle and the implementation of these principles in schools as well as between policies and practices. This paper uses data from the IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS 2009) to document the variation among 38 countries in the way provision is made for civic and citizenship education. In examining patterns of civic and citizenship education it considers the extent to which curricula envisage wider forms of future participation as citizens than through formal political systems. It also examines the extent to which the experience of civic participation at school and in adult life is viewed as an important aspect of civic and citizenship education by education systems, principals and teachers. In addition the paper analyses the association between the inclusion of school participation as part of this learning area and the extent to civic and citizenship education is viewed as important by schools and teachers.