There is a variety of frameworks when it comes to citizenship competences and how they can be evaluated. Within the context of the Green Deal, the European Commission has called for a European framework for ‘Green Competences for lifelong learning’. What unifies these frameworks is their common focus on the active role of young people in society. In order to become active citizens, schools and teachers have to give students opportunities in order to develop citizenship competences in diverse contexts (home, school, local community …). Allowing students to reflect and critically assess connections within these contexts can help them to take action related to national and global issues.
Diverse interpretations of citizenship education exist across and within European members states. Due to its wide range of curricular objectives and diverse contexts in which it is taught and learned, citizenship education challenges teachers and schools to integrate it in the curriculum. Teachers struggle to design learning activities and assess if students are learning citizenship competences. In particular, there is a need for assessment methods that captures the complexity of citizenship education and its multifaceted competences. An important innovation in this area would therefore be to map and develop specific tools and methods that are used to assess these citizenship competences. The main focus lies on a formative approach of assessment by making the learning process visible. Formative assessment is strongly connected with the principles of citizenship education, since it relies on a shared understanding of the learning outcomes targeted by citizenship. The role of the teacher then lies in setting clear goals and designing effective learning situations and classroom activities in order to achieve the citizenship competences. Furthermore, teachers can create opportunities for students to receive feedback that drives the learning process. It is important to activate students as instructional resources for one another (peer assessment) and to reflect on their own learning (self-assessment) within the formative framework of assessment. However, to ensure the quality of monitoring students’ learning progress, teachers need to thoughtfully plan formative assessment. They should know which dimension (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of citizenship competences they are trying to measure. This seems to be particularly challenging for teachers, as they are unfamiliar with the multiple dimensions of these competences. Previous research revealed that the knowledge dimension is mostly covered in assessment, but attitudes and skills are evaluated far less. A clear assessment framework for citizenship education could support teachers in this process. Such framework, with specific assessment tools, is not widespread in educational practice. This is partly due to the complexity of citizenship and the unfamiliarity with it in educational practice. Another issue is that assessing citizenship competences is context-dependent. In this respect, an assessment framework should contain guiding principles for teachers to use the framework in their own context-specific environment.