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Taiwan students rank 1st in civic knowledge in ICCS 2022

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From left to right: National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor Liu Mei-hui, NTNU Executive Vice-President Yin Yung-hsiang, K-12 Education Administration Director-General Peng Fu-yuan, National Academy for Educational Research President Cheng Yuan-

Taiwanese students ranked first in civic knowledge in the 2022 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), according to the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

In the results of the study released Tuesday, the 5,227 eighth graders from 159 schools in Taiwan who participated in the 2022 ICCS scored 583 points for civic knowledge, well above the average score of participating countries or regions of 508.

The study was targeted at eighth graders with an average age of 13.5 years or above, and students from 24 countries, mainly European, participated.

The 2022 study was the third cycle of the ICCS, which "reports on students' knowledge and understanding of concepts and issues related to civics and citizenship," according to the IEA website.

Taiwan has participated in all three studies, the previous ones being in 2009 and 2016.

According to National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor Liu Mei-hui (劉美慧), who headed Taiwan's ICCS participation, Taiwan had a higher score and a higher ranking in the area of civic knowledge than in previous surveys.

In 2009, Taiwan ranked fourth in civic knowledge with a score of 559, trailing Finland, Denmark, and South Korea, and it ranked second in 2016 behind Denmark with a score of 581.

The civic knowledge questions focused on a broad range of subjects that tested both their knowledge of civic and citizenship information and their ability to apply their knowledge to real-world contexts.

The sample questions provided in the ICCS report asked about why people would join a political party, the appropriateness of a police officer's actions, how to combat fake news, and the types of purchases an ethical consumer might make.

The study also looked at aspects of students' civic engagement and their attitudes toward important issues in society and how civic and citizen education was being carried out in the survey's participating countries.

In the attitude and engagement parts of the 2022 study, Lin said Taiwanese students showed the highest support for gender equality, equal rights for all ethnic and racial groups, immigrants rights, and environmental protection.

Taiwanese students also had a much higher level of trust in government agencies compared to people in other countries, while Taiwanese students' engagement on political or social issues using digital media was similar to the average score, she said.

Liu suggested that the strong results posted by Taiwanese students in 2022 may have been because civics is a subject in schools, which allows the systematic teaching of civics literacy, while elsewhere, civic education is integrated into the learning of other subjects.

The study found that a relative high percentage of Taiwanese respondents participated in civic-related activities at school but a much lower than average percentage took part in organizations in the community, according to Liu.

The NTNU team suggested that despite the positive results, schools could still utilize resources from the community, research institutes, and civic organizations, to provide students with more opportunities to apply the civic knowledge they have learned.

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