Improving citizenship competences

Towards an output-driven approach in citizenship education




Citizenship education, Measuring citizenship competences, Output-driven approach, Data-use in education, Social outcomes of education


Keywords: Citizenship education; Measuring citizenship competences; Output-driven approach; Data-use in education; Social outcomes of education


  • Research on effective characteristics of citizenship education is still scarce.
  • An output-driven approach may improve the effectiveness of citizenship education.
  • We reflect on the feasibility of an output-driven approach to citizenship education.
  • We conclude that such an approach seems feasible for citizenship education.
  • Normativity and the availability and quality of measurement instruments need attention.

Purpose: Scholars are increasingly paying attention to the characteristics of effective citizenship education. The systematic use of data to maximise student learning, also called an output-driven approach, is often presented as a powerful predictor of student outcomes. However, its effectiveness has not been studied in citizenship education. Therefore, this paper aims to theoretically reflect on whether an output-driven approach is also feasible for citizenship education.

Methodology: We distinguish five building blocks of an output-driven approach and elaborate on their applicability in citizenship education. While doing so, we draw attention to the normative notion in citizenship education and the quality and availability of measurement instruments for citizenship competences. Both may challenge the application of an output-driven approach, particularly given the relatively young tradition of measuring citizenship competences.

Findings: We conclude that an output-driven approach in citizenship education seems feasible, provided that the characteristics of citizenship education are carefully considered.

Author Biographies

Lianne Hoek, University of Amsterdam

Lianne Hoek is a PhD Candidate at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on the measurement of social outcomes of education and output-driven citizenship education. E-mail:

Anke Munniksma, University of Amsterdam

Anke Munniksma is Assistant Professor at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on the social development of youth in ethnically diverse societies. E-mail:

Anne Bert Dijkstra, University of Amsterdam

Anne Bert Dijkstra is Program Director of the Education and Social Cohesion Program at the Inspectorate of Education in The Netherlands, and professor of Supervision and Effects of Socialisation in Education at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on school effectiveness and social outcomes of education. E-mail:


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