Measuring and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Active Citizenship Education Programmes to Support Disadvantaged Youth

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 33534

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Special Issue Editors

Department of Social Sciences, University of Roehampton, London SW15 5PJ, UK
Interests: active citizenship education; political trust; quantitative methods

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Guest Editor
Department of Social Sciences, University of Roehampton, London SW15 5PJ, UK
Interests: social inclusion; social interaction; active citizenship

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Guest Editor
Department of Social Sciences, University of Roehampton, London SW15 5PJ, UK
Interests: active citizenship; political engagement; inequalities; citizenship education; political socialisation

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Guest Editor
UCL Institute of Education, University College London, London WC1H 0AL, UK
Interests: civic values; political engagement; citizenship education; educational tracking

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Guest Editor
Political Science Department, Free University of Brussels (VUB), B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Interests: civic education; political socialization; political psychology; educational policy; social and political polarization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current Special Issue has been inspired by the Seventh Annual Conference on Citizenship Education that was held in Roehampton University, London on 26–27 September 2019. This conference explored how citizenship education can promote the civic and political engagement of young people, particularly those of disadvantaged backgrounds. Within this broad objective, it is focused on the measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of active citizenship education programmes. In view of this focus, we welcome papers on any citizenship education and (digital) political voice/engagement related topics. Suggested topics may include: (1) mapping out the distribution of (digital) political voice/engagement in the population and identifying groups of young people who need citizenship education the most; (2) highlighting the ways that any formal or nonformal education programmes can mitigate (or exacerbate) these inequalities; and (3) using experimental or innovative research methods to identify civic learning opportunities that are effective in both enhancing overall levels of and reducing social inequalities in political engagement. With this Special Issue, we hope to contribute to the transfer of recommendations of research on the effectiveness of citizenship education into policy and practice.

Dr. Liyuan Liu
Dr. Steven Donbavand
Prof. Dr. Bryony Hoskins
Prof. Dr. Jan Germen Janmaat
Prof. Dr. Dimokritos Kavadias
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • active citizenship education programmes
  • social inequality
  • political participation
  • disadvantaged young people
  • experimental and innovative research
  • educational effectiveness

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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10 pages, 255 KiB  
Editorial
Measuring and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Active Citizenship Education Programmes to Support Disadvantaged Youth
by Liyuan Liu, Steven Donbavand, Bryony Hoskins, Jan Germen Janmaat and Dimokritos Kavadias
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100394 - 15 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2995
Abstract
The current Special Issue has been inspired by the Seventh Annual Conference on Citizenship Education that was held in Roehampton University London, on 26–27 September 2019 [...] Full article

Research

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18 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Learning from, through and about Differences: A Multiple Case Study on Schools as Practice Grounds for Citizenship
by Willemijn F. Rinnooy Kan, Virginie März, Monique Volman and Anne Bert Dijkstra
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(6), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10060200 - 29 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3457
Abstract
Learning to relate to others that differ from you is one of the central aims of citizenship education. Schools can be understood as practice grounds for citizenship, where students’ citizenship is not only influenced by the formal curriculum, but also by their experiences [...] Read more.
Learning to relate to others that differ from you is one of the central aims of citizenship education. Schools can be understood as practice grounds for citizenship, where students’ citizenship is not only influenced by the formal curriculum, but also by their experiences in the context of teacher–student and student–student relations. In this article we therefore investigate how the practice of dealing with difference is enacted in schools. Data were collected through an exploratory multiple case study in four secondary schools, combining interviews and focus groups. Despite the differences between the schools in terms of population and location, in all schools the reflection on the enactment of ‘dealing with differences’ was limited in scope and depth. ‘Being different’ was understood primarily in terms of individual characteristics. Furthermore, in all schools there was limited reflection on being different in relation to teachers and the broader community. Finally, relevant differences for citizenship were confined to the category of ‘ethnic and cultural diversity’. This article calls for preparing teachers to consider a broader array of differences to practice dealing with differences with their students and to support students in reflecting on the societal implications of being different from each other. Full article
19 pages, 338 KiB  
Article
Citizenship Education for Political Engagement: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials
by Steven Donbavand and Bryony Hoskins
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(5), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10050151 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 6605
Abstract
Citizenship Education could play a pivotal role in creating a fairer society in which all groups participate equally in the political progress. But strong causal evidence of which educational techniques work best to create political engagement is lacking. This paper presents the results [...] Read more.
Citizenship Education could play a pivotal role in creating a fairer society in which all groups participate equally in the political progress. But strong causal evidence of which educational techniques work best to create political engagement is lacking. This paper presents the results of a systematic review of controlled trials within the field based on transparent search protocols. It finds 25 studies which use controlled trials to test causal claims between Citizenship Education programs and political engagement outcomes. The studies identified largely confirm accepted ideas, such as the importance of participatory methods, whole school approaches, teacher training, and doubts over whether knowledge alone or online engagement necessarily translate into behavioral change. But the paucity of identified studies also points both to the difficulties of attracting funding for controlled trials which investigate Citizenship Education as a tool for political engagement and real epistemological tensions within the discipline itself. Full article
16 pages, 525 KiB  
Article
Citizenship Educational Policy: A Case of Russophone Minority in Estonia
by Nikolai Kunitsõn and Leif Kalev
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10040131 - 6 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3261
Abstract
In the contemporary era, societies are divided, and political polarization is increasing. One of the most powerful instruments the government can use is general standard education, specifically citizenship education. We will look at the case of Estonia, because Estonia’s main political cleavage is [...] Read more.
In the contemporary era, societies are divided, and political polarization is increasing. One of the most powerful instruments the government can use is general standard education, specifically citizenship education. We will look at the case of Estonia, because Estonia’s main political cleavage is the ethnic cleavage between the Estonian and the Russophone community. Our main research question is as follows: How would it be possible to use democratic citizenship education to decrease in the future the socio-economic inequality between different communities in Estonia? We will outline the context of ethnic socio-economic inequality in Estonia and show how these differences have been at least partially influenced by the current education system in Estonia and how citizenship education can be used to reduce these inequalities in the future. We will conduct an empirical analysis of the curriculum, and this will be followed by semi-structured qualitative interviews. In the discussion, we will make suggestions to the current Estonian citizenship education policy and offer various insights into tackling this issue. Full article
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17 pages, 323 KiB  
Article
Exclusion and Antisystem Attitudes: The Impact of Perceived Discrimination in Attitudes towards Democracy and the Willingness to Use Violence among Adolescents in Brussels
by Elham Mansoury Babhoutak, Dimokritos Kavadias and Nohemi Jocabeth Echeverria Vicente
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(10), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9100175 - 1 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3619
Abstract
Perceived discrimination, the perception of systematic exclusion due to background characteristics, has been studied extensively in general. The political consequences of this perception remain underexplored for adolescents. Discrimination may engender a rejection of common political values such as the support for democratic politics. [...] Read more.
Perceived discrimination, the perception of systematic exclusion due to background characteristics, has been studied extensively in general. The political consequences of this perception remain underexplored for adolescents. Discrimination may engender a rejection of common political values such as the support for democratic politics. Using the data of 1789 pupils with an average age of 16 years (grade 10) from 24 schools in Brussels, we focus on the consequences of perceived discrimination in attitudes towards violence, as well as on a rejection of representative democracy. The outcomes of a multilevel analysis suggest that high levels of self-reported perceived discrimination are significantly associated with an anti-democratic attitude (rejection of the current form of representative democracy) and the willingness to use violence. In a context in which 75% of pupils have a non-native background, these findings reveal the challenges for future forms of civic education. Full article
32 pages, 380 KiB  
Article
Towards a Comprehensive School Effectiveness Model of Citizenship Education: An Empirical Analysis of Secondary Schools in The Netherlands
by Manja Coopmans, Geert Ten Dam, Anne Bert Dijkstra and Ineke Van der Veen
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(9), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9090157 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 5052
Abstract
We still have only a limited understanding of the effectiveness of schools in promoting citizenship, the factors explaining this effectiveness and the way in which these aspects interact. Using elaborate cross-sectional data from students, teachers, team leaders and school leaders at 78 Dutch [...] Read more.
We still have only a limited understanding of the effectiveness of schools in promoting citizenship, the factors explaining this effectiveness and the way in which these aspects interact. Using elaborate cross-sectional data from students, teachers, team leaders and school leaders at 78 Dutch secondary schools, this study empirically examines a school effectiveness model of citizenship education in order to achieve a more comprehensive explanation of citizenship competence acquisition. Using multilevel structural equation models, we analyze direct and indirect school-level predictors of student knowledge, attitudes and self-evaluated skills regarding citizenship. Four aspects of citizenship education are examined: the school’s policies regarding citizenship education, its teaching practices, and its professional and pedagogical learning environment (i.e., teaching community and classroom climate). With respect to school policies, positive effects are found for the attention paid to citizenship education in staff meetings. The professional learning environment is related to students’ citizenship competences mainly indirectly, via the average classroom climate. Effects of teaching practices vary: more emphasis on monitoring is more frequently found at schools with lower average levels of citizenship competences, whereas schools that let students choose their own topics in class have on average higher levels of citizenship competences. Full article
14 pages, 476 KiB  
Article
Does Scientific Evaluation Matter? Improving Digital Simulation Games by Design-Based Research
by Sven Ivens and Monika Oberle
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(9), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9090155 - 9 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3982
Abstract
Grounded in a design-based research approach, the aim of this article is to determine whether scientific evaluations help to (a) identify and fix problems in educational interventions and (b) eventually foster a more effective and positive evaluated intervention. Therefore, data from a longer-term [...] Read more.
Grounded in a design-based research approach, the aim of this article is to determine whether scientific evaluations help to (a) identify and fix problems in educational interventions and (b) eventually foster a more effective and positive evaluated intervention. Therefore, data from a longer-term evaluation of short digital simulation games about the European Parliament for civic education in schools were used. The data included three cycles of interventions with pre- and post-evaluations starting with the first prototype in 2015/2016 (n = 209), the second cycle in 2017/18 (n = 97), and the last one in 2019/20 (n = 222). After each evaluation, major problems and critiques regarding the simulation game were discussed with the developers, and changes were implemented in the game design. The four most important problems, the processes by which they were improved and the reactions of the participants in the following evaluations are pointed out in the article. A comparison of the last and first evaluation cycle showed an overall improvement of the simulation game regarding its effectiveness in transferring EU knowledge and the participants’ general satisfaction with the simulation game. This study underlines the value of the design-based research approach for developing educational interventions and can be useful for further work on civic education measures and the implementation of digital simulation games. Full article
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12 pages, 227 KiB  
Project Report
Reaching the Hard-To-Reach with Civic Education on the European Union: Insights from a German Model Project
by Monika Oberle and Märthe-Maria Stamer
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(10), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9100173 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3180
Abstract
So-called “hard-to-reach” learners with a lower level of formal education have been identified as a “challenge” for civic education and have been neglected with regard to civic education in the past. However, these young people do deal with political processes that relate to [...] Read more.
So-called “hard-to-reach” learners with a lower level of formal education have been identified as a “challenge” for civic education and have been neglected with regard to civic education in the past. However, these young people do deal with political processes that relate to their everyday lives; they simply do not perceive these processes as political. The same holds true for the topic of the European Union. To date, hardly any teaching concepts and learning materials for civic education on the European Union that are specially designed for hard-to-reach youth have been available. This paper discusses the relevance, challenges, and promising approaches used to address this severe deficit in the research and practice of civic education regarding the EU. It focuses on the situation in Germany and presents the Jean Monnet project “Junge Menschen erreichbar machen mit politischer Europabildung” (JUMPER). Here, workshops with a focus on the European Union are developed—specifically tailored to the needs of the target group, carried out with pupils in the vocational transition system, and accompanied by systematic evaluation. Finally, conclusions are drawn for civic education and research regarding hard-to-reach youth. Full article
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