Comparing Attitudes in the 1999 and 2009 IEA Civic and Citizenship Education Studies: Opportunities and Limitations Illustrated in Five Countries


  • Carolyn Barber
  • Judith Torney-Purta



Both the 1999 IEA Civic Education Study (CIVED) and the 2009 IEA International Civics and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) sought to examine young people’s attitudes and behaviors as related to civic engagement in addition to their civic knowledge. Now that both studies are completed, questions can be asked about the extent to which the averages of outcomes across countries have stayed consistent or changed. The purpose of this article is to review the CIVED and ICCS studies to examine the potential for, and potential limitations to, such a comparison extending beyond the cognitive domain to some attitudinal and participatory outcomes. We compared guiding frameworks for each study, examined the similarities and differences among items in scales appearing in both studies, and provided a general discussion of the pitfalls of comparing IRT scales across cohorts. An item-level analysis explored whether young people’s average attitudes toward immigrants’ rights and institutional trust changed between 1999 and 2009 in five Nordic countries. Stability in support for immigrants’ rights and increasing trust are apparent in most countries, although exceptions to this pattern exist. Recommendations for secondary analysis of CIVED and ICCS are discussed.