09 SES 05 B, Findings from International Comparative Achievement Studies: Relationships in Civic and Citizenship Education
Parallel Paper Session
The objective of this paper is to examine the mediating role of school civic learning opportunities in the relationship between socioeconomic status and different forms of civic participation for lower-secondary students in the 38 participating countries in the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2009 (Austria, Belgium (Flemish), Bulgaria, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Thailand).
Civic participation is an essential characteristic of any democratic society. It yields benefits for individuals and for society. Through their civic participation, individuals have their interests and those of the groups they belong to taken into account. Participation broadens peoples’ knowledge; it forces individuals to think about issues that affect not only them but those that affect the society in which they live. Therefore, civic participation also benefits society by developing and strengthening relationships among citizens based on their common needs and interests. For example, it contributes to achieve better governance by allowing citizens to convey their interests to those who govern through different means like voting, campaigning for specific causes or demonstrating (Markus, 2002).
But, how can we enhance civic participation among young people? Can schools play a role in this? Most conceptions of civic education emphasize the expectation of civic action (See for example Eurydice, 2005; Schulz, et al., 2010). As expressed by Sabatini and colleagues: “civic education often seeks to instill the skills, dispositions and values necessary for a participatory citizen” (Sabatini, et al., 1998:2).
Related to this, there is an academic debate currently going on about whether youth involvement around the world has declined to crisis levels or is simply shifting to different forms outside electoral politics (Ostrander, 2004; Gauthie, 2006). On the one hand, there is evidence of a sustained disengagement of youth from politics (Snell, 2010; Sefa Dei, 2003), and on the other there are also reports that certain non-traditional forms of youth civic action are on the upswing (Bruns, 2006).
However, research also suggests that independently of the type of civic participation and whether or not youths’ interest is declining or just shifting to different forms of civic participation, there is evidence of a growing gap. Youth coming from socially disadvantage backgrounds tend to register lower levels of civic participation. There is extensive evidence of the positive relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and civic participation (see for example: Verba, Schlozman, & Brady, 1995; Nie, Junn, & Stehlik-Barry, 1996; Fundación de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales, 2005).
`Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182. Bruns, A. (2006). Towards Produsage: Futures for User-Led Content Production. In F. Sudweeks, H. Hrachovec, & C. Ess (Eds.), Cultural Attitudes towards Communication and Technology. Tartu, Estonia. Eurydice. (2005). Citizenship Education at School in Europe. Brussels: Eurydice. Fundación de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales. (2005). Índice de particpación ciudadana 2005. Informe 8 Perú. Buenos Aires: RID. Gauthie, M. (2006). The inadequacy of concepts: the rise of youth interest in civic participation in Quebec. Journal of Youth Studies, 6(3), 265 - 276. Markus, G. B. (2002). Civic Participation in American Cities. Unpublished manuscript. Michigan: Institute for Social Research, U. of Michigan. Nie, N. H., Junn, J., & Stehlik-Barry, K. (1996). Education and democratic citizenship in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ostrander, S. A. (2004). Democracy, Civic Participation, and the University: A Comparative Study of Civic Engagement on Five Campuses. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 33(1), 74-93. Sabatini, C. A., Bevis, G. G., & Finkel, S. E. (1998). The impact of civic education programs on political participation and democratic attitudes. Final report. Washington: USAID. Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Kerr, D., & Losito, B. (2010). ICCS 2009 International Report: Civic knowledge, attitudes, and engagement among lowersecondary school students in 38 countries. Amsterdam: IEA. Sefa Dei, G. J. (2003). Schooling and the dilema of youth disengagement. McGill Journal of Education, 38(2), 241-256. Snell, P. (2010). Emerging Adult Civic and Political Disengagement: A Longitudinal Analysis of Lack of Involvement With Politics. Journal of Adolescent Research, 25(2), 258-287. Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., & Brady, H. E. (1995). Voice nd equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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