Challenges for European teachers when assessing student learning to promote democratic citizenship competences 

Authors:

Nanna Paaske | OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway

Siri Mohammad-Roe | OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway

Wouter Smets | Karel de Grote Hogeshool, Antwerp, Belgium

Ama Amitai | Karel de Grote Hogeshool, Antwerp, Belgium

Noami Alexia Randazzo | CIRPE - Programmazione economica, Palermo, Italy

Lihong Huang | OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway

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Abstract

The article "Challenges for European teachers when assessing student learning to promote democratic citizenship competences" explores the difficulties faced by European teachers in assessing the competences necessary for democratic citizenship within educational settings. The study highlights several key challenges – 1) lack of resources and tools: teachers face a scarcity of resources and exemplary practices for implementing citizenship education effectively, coupled with insufficient assessment tools tailored to their specific needs; 2) pedagogical approaches: there is an evident gap in pedagogical strategies for designing learning activities that foster normative changes and values pertinent to citizenship education; 3) time constraints: teachers often experience a lack of time, which hinders their ability to promote and assess student citizenship competences thoroughly; 4) feedback on non-democratic values: challenges arise when teachers need to provide feedback on non-democratic values and attitudes, particularly when personal opinions are involved; 5) system and parental expectations: the expectation for high-stakes summative feedback from school systems and parents influences teachers' reluctance towards more formative assessment approaches in citizenship education.
The study utilizes focus group interviews with teachers to delve into these issues, aiming to understand the underlying reasons behind the choice of certain assessment methods over others. It presents a detailed analysis based on interviews with 82 school teachers from various European countries, revealing a significant need for improved knowledge, tools, and approaches to effectively practice formative assessment in citizenship education. The findings suggest that current assessment practices, which often emphasize summative assessment, limit the development of students' democratic citizenship competences, advocating for a shift towards more integrative and formative assessment strategies to support students' democratic values and attitudes.