CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Civic Education Boosts 21st-Century Skills

October 26th, 2009
Email to a Friend

According to a new paper by Judith Torney-Purta and Britt S.Wilkenfeld, “Civic education, especially when it is interactive and involves discussion of current issues, is an important way to develop the skills that young Americans need to succeed in the 21st Century workforce. Students who experience interactive discussion-based civic education (either by itself or in combination with lecture-based civic education) score the highest on “21st Century Competencies,” including working with others (especially in diverse groups) and knowledge of economic and political processes. Students who experience neither interactive nor lecture-based civic education have the lowest scores on all of the 21st Century competencies examined. This group, which comprises about one-quarter of all American students, shows not only low levels of knowledge but also a relatively low level of willingness to obey the law.”

The report, entitled “Paths to 21st Century Competencies through Civic Education Classrooms,” was commissioned by the American Bar Association Division for Public Education and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools with some involvement by CIRCLE.

Suggested citation: Torney-Purta, Judith and Wilkenfeld, Britt S. (2009). “Paths to 21st Century Competencies Through Civic Education Classrooms: An Analysis of Survey Results from Ninth-Graders.” Washington, DC: Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and American Bar Association Division for Public Education. Accessed from CIRCLE via

64 Responses to “Civic Education Boosts 21st-Century Skills”

  1. business news Says:

    nowadays the school is not what it was.
    I dont know what is the reason… the mentality, the modern lifestyle, etc

  2. tiffany Says:

    Students can be diligent voters with high turnout, both by absentee ballot and in local voting.

  3. Wandtattoo Says:

    This report about “Civic Education Boosts 21st-Century Skills” is very nformative, I like it very much, it help very much in my study at school. Thank you very much.

  4. Bali villas Says:

    I agree with Judith and Brit. Great work, just keep on…

  5. Pool covers Says:

    Increasing the percentage of the kids that receive a quality or basic at least civic education should be a national priority.

  6. Prototype Services Says:

    Interaction is such an important part of education, yet it’s often taken for granted and overlooked.

  7. Maya Says:

    I believe that students nowadays are too relaxed, teachers do all work for them and that is not ok. Students should participate as much as they can during the class, and they have the possibilities to do that. The problem is that they do not want to participate, they just want to get the grade and finish. They do not care how high is their knowledge actually. And that is wrong. Like Judith Torney-Purta and Britt S.Wilkenfeld told us: “Students who experience neither interactive nor lecture-based civic education have the lowest scores on all of the 21st Century competencies examined.” And they are absolutely right!

  8. ecommerce Says:

    21-st century skills make computer science skills part of any job.
    Web development, Web development“>seo services and social networks are almost known for each person.

  9. Holland apo Says:

    I can´t disagree .stiff to augment the percentage of the division that .

  10. copiers Says:

    There are many things that should be explained or clarified. Maybe write another article which will consider all this.

  11. drivercure reviews Says:

    I think the keypoint is harnessing all technological advantages we have and putting it in a comprehensive package to students however, we need to keep in mind that we must also add physical activities to our curriculum. We also need to support civic and cultural oriented activities that will help the youth grow well. Drivercure review

  12. Softmod Wii Says:

    Children need to be taught in a different way I think, the focous should be on social skills during ediucation, somehow isntilling a desire for further learning upon leaving formal education.

  13. Meridia Says:

    Nice Article. I was surprised to read in the report that a quarter or American students ‘experience neither interactive nor lecture-based civic education’. That’s a high percentage.

  14. Sheepskin boot Says:

    Civic education, whenever and however undertaken, prepares people of a country, especially the young, to carry out their roles as citizens. Civic education is, therefore, political education or, as Amy Gutmann describes it, “the cultivation of the virtues, knowledge, and skills necessary for political participation”