Civic competence of youth in Europe
Measuring cross national variation through the creation of a composite indicator.
This article develops a composite indicator to monitor the levels of civic competence of young people in Europe using the IEA ICCS 2009 study. The measurement model combines the traditions in Europe of liberal, civic republican and critical/cosmopolitan models of citizenship. The results indicate that social justice values and citizenship knowledge and skills of students are facilitated within the Nordic system that combines a stable democracy and economic prosperity with a democratically based education systems in which teachers prioritise promoting autonomous critical thinking in citizenship education. In contrast, medium term democracies with civic republican tradition, such as Italy and Greece gain more positive results on citizenship values and participatory attitudes. This is also the case for some recent former communist countries that retain ethnic notions of citizenship. In a final step we go on to argue that the Nordic teachers' priority on developing critical and autonomous citizens perhaps facilitates 14 years olds qualities of cognition on citizenship and the values of equality but may not be the most fruitful approach to enhance participatory attitudes or concepts of a good citizen which may be better supported by the Italian teachers' priority on civic responsibility.