What do New Zealand students understand about civic knowledge and citizenship?

Publication Details

This is the first of a series of publications based on the results of the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS). This report focuses on New Zealand Year 9 students' achievement in civic knowledge in comparison with their peers from other countries.

Author(s): Kate Lang, Research, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: November 2010

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Appendices

Appendix 1: An explanation of the ICCS Civic Knowledge Proficiency Levels

Level 3: 563 score points and above

Students working at Level 3 make connections between the processes of social and political organisation and influence, and the legal and institutional mechanisms used to control them. They generate accurate, hypotheses on the benefits, motivations and likely outcomes of institutional policies and citizens' actions. They integrate, justify and evaluate given positions, policies or laws based on the principles that underpin them. Students demonstrate familiarity with broad international economic forces and the strategic nature of active participation.

Students working at Level 3 for example:

  • identify likely strategic aims of a program of ethical consumption.
  • suggest mechanisms by which open public debate and communication can benefit society.
  • suggest related benefits of widespread cognitive intercultural understanding in society.
  • justify the separation of powers between the judiciary and the parliament.
  • relate the principle of fair and equal governance to laws regarding disclosure of financial donations to political parties.
  • evaluate a policy with respect to equality and inclusiveness.
  • identify the main feature of free market economies and multinational company ownership.

Level 2: 479 to 562 score points

Students working at Level 2 demonstrate familiarity with the broad concept of representative democracy as a political system. They recognise ways in which institutions and laws can be used to protect and promote a society's values and principles. They recognise the potential role of citizens as voters in a representative democracy, and generalise principles and values from specific examples of policies and laws (including human rights). Students demonstrate understanding of the influence that active citizenship can have beyond the local community. They generalise the role of the individual active citizen to broader civic societies and the world.

Students working at Level 2 for example:

  • relate the independence of a statutory authority to maintenance of public trust in decisions made by the authority.
  • generalizes the economic risk to developing countries of globalization from a local context.
  • identify that informed citizens are better able to make decisions when voting in elections.
  • relate the responsibility to vote with the representativeness of a democracy.
  • describe the main role of a legislature/parliament.
  • define the main role of a constitution.
  • relate the responsibility for environmental protection to individual people.

Level 1: 395 to 478 score points

Students working at Level 1 demonstrate familiarity with equality, social cohesion and freedom as principles of democracy. They relate these broad principles to everyday examples of situations in which protection of or challenge to the principles are demonstrated. Students also demonstrate familiarity with fundamental concepts of the individual as an active citizen: they recognise the necessity for individuals to obey the law; they relate individual courses of action to likely outcomes; and they relate personal characteristics to the capacity of an individual to effect civic change.

Students working at Level 1 for example:

  • relate freedom of the press to the accuracy of information provided to the public by the media.
  • justify voluntary voting in the context of freedom of political expression.
  • identify that democratic leaders should be aware of the needs of the people over whom they have authority.
  • justifies voluntary voting in the context of freedom of political expression.
  • recognise that the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is intended to apply to all people.
  • generalize about the value of the internet as a communicative tool in civic participation.
  • recognise the civic motivation behind an act of ethical consumerism.
Source: Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon,J., Kerr, D., and Losito, B. (2010). Initial Findings from the IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, Table 5, p.33.

Appendix 2: Additional Table

Table A1: Civic knowledge scores by immigrant background (selected countries)
CountryStudents with no immigrant backgroundStudents born in country with parent born abroadStudents and parents all born overseas Effects of immigrant status (native versus non-native students)
Percent of studentsAverage scorePercent of studentsAverage scorePercent of studentsAverage scoreScore point differencePercent of students
New Zealand77 (1.5)525 (5.0)8 (0.6)499 (7.6)15 (1.2)509 (9.1)19 (6.3)77 (1.5)
Austria 81 (1.5)516 (4.0)13 (1.0)464 (6.9)7 (0.8)451 (9.5)57 (6.4)81 (1.5)
Belgium (Flemish)89 (1.2)520 (4.7)6 (0.8)477 (6.3)5 (0.5)482 (9.2)41 (7.0)89 (1.2)
England 85 (1.9)524 (4.0)9 (1.3)526 (10.4)6 (0.9)477 (13.8)18 (9.7)85 (1.9)
Ireland 88 (1.1)541 (4.6)1 (0.2)^11 (1.1)493 (8.0)43 (7.7)88 (1.1)
Switzerland76 (1.7)545 (4.1)16 (1.4)500 (5.7)8 (0.7)497 (7.8)46 (5.7)76 (1.7)
ICCS Average 92 (0.2)505 (0.6)5 (0.1)476 (2.5)4 (0.1)464 (3.5)37 (2.3)92 (0.2)
Notes:
  1. Statistically significant (p<0.05) differences in bold.
  2. ( ) Standard errors appear in parentheses.
  3. ^ Number of students too small to report group averages.
  4. Source: Adapted from Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon,J., Kerr, D., and Losito, B. (2010). Initial Findings from the IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, Table 24, p.77.

Appendix 3: Examples of ICCS cognitive test items

Figure A1: Example of open-ended item at Proficiency Levels 2 & 3 on the ICCS Civic Knowledge
Scale, with overall percent correct for New Zealand
Figure A1: Example of open-ended item at Proficiency Levels 2 & 3 on the ICCS Civic Knowledge Scale, with overall percent correct for New Zealand

Coding Guide
Code 2
ICCS Knowledge Scale Proficiency Level 3
  • Refers to benefits from two different categories of the five categories listed below.
  • better knowledge or understanding of the substance of an issue or situation
  • provides solutions to problems OR a forum from which solutions can come
  • increase in social harmony, acceptance of difference, or reduction of frustration
  • increases people’s confidence or motivation to participate in their society
  • represents/enacts the principle of freedom of expression for people
Code 1
ICCS Knowledge Scale Proficiency Level 2
  • Refers only to reasons from one of the five listed categories (including responses in which different reasons from the same category are provided).
Percent at least 1 point Percent 2 points only
New Zealand69(1.9)25(1.5)
ICCS average67(0.3)20(0.2)




Figure A2: Example of multi-choice item at Proficiency Level 2 on the ICCS Civic Knowledge
Scale, with overall percent correct for New Zealand

Figure A2: Example of multi-choice item at Proficiency Level 2 on the ICCS Civic Knowledge Scale, with overall percent correct for New Zealand


Percent Correct Response
New Zealand50(1.4)
ICCS average57(0.3)

Note:
  1. Source: Adapted from Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Kerr, D., & Losito, B. (2010). ICCS 2009 International Report:
    Civic knowledge, attitudes and engagement among lower secondary school students in thirty-eight countries. Amsterdam: IEA.



Figure A3: Example of multi-choice item at Proficiency Level 1 on the ICCS Civic Knowledge
Scale, with overall percent correct for New Zealand

Figure A3: Example of multi-choice item at Proficiency Level 1 on the ICCS Civic Knowledge Scale, with overall percent correct for New Zealand
Percent Correct Response
New Zealand82(1.4)
ICCS average73(0.2)
Note:
  1. Source: Adapted from Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon,J., Kerr, D., and Losito, B. (2010). Initial Findings from the IEA
    International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, Table 7, p.37.

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