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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the components of CivEd?

CivEd is the result of a major consensus-building effort across the 28 nations participating in the study. This process involved utilizing the experience of experts in civic education, as well as authorities in educational measurement. Using the framework developed in the first phase of the study, which was based on the results of case-study research conducted in each participating country, the CivEd instruments are designed to assess the civic knowledge, skills and attitudes of ninth-grade students.

CivEd consisted of three instruments: a student questionnaire, a school questionnaire, and a teacher questionnaire. Five types of items were developed for the student questionnaire:

  • Civic content items (Type 1) assessed knowledge of key civic principles and pivotal ideas (e.g., key features of democracies) measured by multiple-choice items.
  • Civic skills items (Type 2) assessed skills in using civic-related knowledge through multiple-choice items (e.g., understanding a brief political article or a political cartoon).
  • Survey items measured students' concepts of democracy, citizenship, and government (Type 3); attitudes toward civic issues (Type 4); and expected political participation (Type 5).

Additional survey questions assessed students' perceptions of the climate of the classroom and other background variables.

The school questionnaire, completed by the principal, contained questions designed to gather information on the school's general environment, such as size, length of school year, and characteristics of the student body. The school questionnaire also asked questions designed to provide a picture of how civic education is delivered through the school curriculum and school-sponsored activities, as well as the number of staff involved in teaching civic-related subjects. Additionally, a teacher questionnaire was administered. However, because the organization of civic education and the role of civic education teachers in U.S. schools differ from those of many other countries in the study, results from the teacher questionnaire were not analyzed in the U.S. report.

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