Civic knowledge is the key indicator when measuring the degree of identity on values of community and good citizen. In 2009, the IEA conducted a study of civic and citizenship education (ICCS), carried out in 38 countries around the world, built on the previous IEA studies of civic education but in a context characterized by significant societal change, including the rapid development of new communication technologies, increased movement of people between countries, and the growth of supranational organizations. The variations in civic knowledge in the 2009 study were comprised of such things as changes in content knowledge since 1999, interest in engaging in public and political life and respondents disposition to do so, perceptions of threats to civil society, features of education systems, schools, classes related to civic and citizenship education, and aspects of student background related to the outcomes of civic and citizenship education. The data was gathered from more than 140,000 students and 62,000 teachers in over 5,300 schools during the course of the study and offers information that nations and education systems worldwide can use to inform and improve policy and practice in civic and citizenship education.

Table 3. Changes in civic content knowledge between 1999 and 2009

Source: IEA. Initial Findings from the IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, 2010, p. 43

(IEA, 2010, p. 3). The measured results in knowledge changes between 1999 and 2009 show that (see Table 3):

On a scale with a standard deviation of 100 points, the difference between the top and bottom quartiles of the country distribution was 60 points. In the four highest-performing countries, more than half of the students were at the highest of three proficiency levels. In the four lowest-performing countries, more than 70 percent of student scores were in the lowest three proficiency levels. Girls gained significantly higher civic knowledge scores than did boys in nearly all of the ICCS countries. (IEA, 2010, p. 43)

In 1999, the average score on the civic content knowledge scale of good citizen across the 15 countries was 100 scale points; the average score for the same countries in ICCS 2009 was 96 scale points. Another finding of note is the significant decrease in civic content knowledge scores between 1999 and 2009 in a number of countries that had comparable data from both civic education surveys. Only one country had a statistically significant increase in civic content knowledge among lower secondary students over the past decade. (IEA, 2010, pp. 42-43)

Another result shows that in Australia, England, and the United States—relative to the sub-scale means, the items pertaining to the skills dimension are more likely to be answered correctly than those from the content dimension. Students from Hong Kong (SAR) perform significantly better than the international average in civic knowledge. In all, under the new backgrounds, the identity of good citizen based on the values of community is decreasing. A statistically significant overall decrease is found in average performance on the civic content knowledge scale items of four points, or one fifth of a standard deviation. The results clearly indicate that importance is being attached to citizenship education.

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