I-06c: Levels of Civics Knowledge among 14-Year-Olds in Selected OECD* Countries and Russian Federation, 1999

* Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. See for results for all 28 countries participating in the study. Countries are ranked by the weighted average of their content and skills scores (this value is provided in parentheses to the right of the country name). Civics content knowledge scores were weighted more heavily than civics skills in determining the average.
** Weighted average of the two scores is statistically significantly lower (p < .05) than that of the United States.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, What Democracy Means to Ninth Graders: U.S. Results from the International IEA Civic Education Study, NCES 2001-096 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001), 14 fig. 2.2, 15 fig. 2.3. “IEA” stands for International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

In 1999, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement assessment consisted of two components. The first focused on civics content knowledge, or theoretical knowledge about democratic institutions and practices, such as the purpose of political parties (25 items; click here for a sample item). The second component examined students’ civics skills; that is, interpretive abilities important in understanding political material, such as the ability to distinguish between facts and opinions or to critically read a political cartoon or pamphlet (13 items; click here for a sample item). The two scores were then averaged, with civics content knowledge scores weighted somewhat more heavily, to produce a total civics knowledge score for each nation.

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