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Assessment in Citizenship

The Association for Citizenship Teachers (ACT) supports all those engaged in teaching and leading Citizenship education in schools. Providing resources and CPD on high-quality assessment is a key part of this. This curriculum briefing sets out advice on an approach to the assessment of Citizenship in secondary schools. It provides guidance for Citizenship teachers, leaders and educators and may be useful in creating your school policy.

“A high-quality Citizenship education helps to provide pupils with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. In particular, Citizenship education should foster pupilsʼ keen awareness and understanding of democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Teaching should equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments... and take their place in society as responsible citizens.”

DFE National Curriculum, Citizenship Programme of Study, 2014

This statement summarises the purpose of Citizenship, which has been a statutory National Curriculum foundation subject since 2002. Assessment is central to achieving this, allowing students to progress through the rich knowledge of Citizenship and the unique skills of this subject area.

High-quality assessment in Citizenship:

  • is linked to curriculum planning, so that students are assessed on what they need to know and understand
  • plays an important part in embedding knowledge
  • informs teachers how well students have secured the intended learning into their long-term memory
  • reveals gaps and misconceptions
  • helps teachers to plan and formulate next steps to help students progress
  • gives students a sense of accomplishment. In essence, assessment in Citizenship must be part of a broad, balanced, conceptually stretching and relevant curriculum that is built on high expectations of students