Insights from formal testing of civics and citizenship learning in Australia

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The national assessment programme in civics and citizenship (NAP-CC), conducted in Australia in 2004 and 2007, collected achievement data on the knowledge and understandings – of both cognition and dispositional orientation – of year 6 and year 10 students. The test instruments for both cycles broke new ground, especially in relation to the testing of student disposition to civics and citizenship participation and engagement, and enabled students to give creative and focussed responses to a range of citizenship concepts.

The 'civics and citizenship literacy achievement scales' for both cycles indicate student achievement is variable, and generally low level. The 'student background survey' in the second cycle sought data and information about variables with explanatory power as to the demonstrated levels of achievement. Analyses of student background and school programme data identified factors that appear to have a significant effect on achievement.

The article describes contextual developments which influenced the assessments, provides an analysis of the achievement and background data and reflects on what the reported findings, especially from the second cycle, have revealed about students and their civics and citizenship learning experiences in Australian schools.
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  • Citizenship Teaching and Learning is global in scope, exploring issues of social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy. It advances academic and professional understandings within a broad characterisation of education, focussing on a wide range of issues including identity, diversity, equality and social justice within social, moral, political and cultural contexts.
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