ICCS Study

On the 28th of November, the results of the 2022 cycle of the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) were published [https://www.iea.nl/sites/default/files/2023-12/ICCS-2022-International-Report.pdf]. The study was conducted in 22 countries and two German benchmarking regions. The sample includes 19 European countries, 16 of them from the European Union; 2 South American countries and one Asian country.

Only three countries from the DEMOCRAT project were included in the survey. North Rine-Westphalia, one of the two German benchmarking regions is a region where DEMOCRAT operates. 14 countries participated also in the 2016 survey., and 13 in the 2009 survey. Among these, we find with Estonia only one DEMOCRAT country.

The national contexts of countries variy greatly in their educational, political, and economic characteristics, as well as in their position in the Liberal Democracy Index and the Corruption Perceptions Index. There are also differences observed in the degree of autonomy of schools and the civic education approaches.

This is not the place to go into detail, so here are just a few of the results resumed:

  1. In the majority of countries, the three most important objectives for civic and citizenship education are:
    1. The promotion of students’ critical and independent thinking.
    1. The promotion of students’ knowledge of citizens’ rights and responsibilities.
    1. The promotion of students’ respect for and safeguard of the environment.
  2. Civic knowledge increased between 2009 and 2016 and then decreased.
  3. The perception of having learned about civic issues at school tend to be negatively associated with civic knowledge of the students in many countries.
  4. There is only a weak association between civic engagement and civic knowledge, and moderate association with civic interest.
  5. Females show higher levels of civic knowledge, but their expected active political participation is slightly lower compared to males.
  6. Students with a higher parental socio-economic status show a higher civic knowledge.
  7. An open classroom climate for discussion and students’ experiences with voting at school tend to be positively related to civic learning and prospective participation in society.

These findings are relevant for DEMOCRAT and its concept of Education for Democracy as they show:

  1. The acquisition of civic knowledge does not necessarily lead to positive civic engagement.
  2. Positive civic engagement is more likely to be promoted by civic experience in the classrooms and schools than by the acquisition of knowledge.

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