Adolescent citizenship and educational track

a qualitative study on the development of views on the common good


Studies show adults’ attitudes towards citizenship are related to their educational level. It has been claimed that higher educated people more often possess ‘good’ citizenship values. However, only limited insight exists into how differences in citizenship attitudes between adolescents from various educational tracks develop over time. In this qualitative longitudinal study, we investigate the perspectives of adolescents from different educational tracks on aspects of citizenship.

The results show that adolescents in higher tracks develop stronger political orientations with age and learn to focus more strictly on competition between perspectives and on formal procedures of decision-making. Those on the lower track remained rather uninterested in politics but stick to their emphasis on consensus and inclusiveness. Overall, our study shows that ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ citizenship values do not simply coincide with educational level and provide a more nuanced insight into adolescent developmental trajectories towards citizenship.

Reference Nieuwelink, H., ten Dam, G., & Dekker, P. (2019). Adolescent citizenship and educational track: a qualitative study on the development of views on the common good. Research Papers in Education, 34(3), 373-388.
Published by  Centre for Applied Research in Education 1 January 2019

Publication date

Jan 2019


Geert ten Dam
Paul Dekker

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