DEMOKOMP: Young people’s democratic competence

Research – Department of Teacher Education

DEMOKOMP: Young people’s democratic competence

One of the most important tasks of Norwegian schools is to convey knowledge and norms about Norwegian society in general, and about democracy and citizenship in particular. The students will learn to function in a democratic society as active citizens. Democracy only works when citizens participate actively, employing citizenship by voting in elections, discussing politics and social issues, or demonstrating - as several examples of with the youth climate strikes have shown.

From the ICCS2022 survey, we know that young people's democratic competence has decreased significantly since 2016. We also see a weakened motivation for further education. There is reason to follow up the international democracy and citizenship survey by taking a closer look at what happens to students when they get to upper secondary education. DEMOKOMP will examine the democracy knowledge of upper secondary (VG2) students, both in vocational and study preparatory programs.

The project will provide knowledge about

  • how young people at the end of upper secondary education are equipped for active participation as citizens in society
  • what systematic differences exist in young people's democratic competence
  • which conditions contribute to such differences

Challenges may be, for example

  • systematic differences between pupils with different social backgrounds in knowledge of democracy and belief in their own participation
  • development of increased gender differences on knowledge tests carried out in the 9th grade

Our research will look into whether the differences uncovered among students in the 9th grade in the ICCS study remain, increase or change, and what contributes to this.

DEMOKOMP will contribute to long-term knowledge-based school and policy formation. The results will form the basis for assessing the need for more research-based knowledge about young people's civic competence.

The target group is young people in the end of upper secondary education, whether they are or have been in a study preparatory or vocational course. The survey is based on a broad understanding of democratic competence as it forms the basis of training in schools, linked to recent social development in Norway and globally.

DEMOKOMP will build on experiences from the ICCS surveys in 2009, 2016 and 2022, but also on the CiVED study from 2001 and other available data on young people's democratic competence.

Project schedule

Project schedule

Literature review, curriculum analysis, design of pilot survey, agreements between schools and school owners.

Interviews, pilot research, psychometric analyses, developing methodological frameworks and teaching plans, agreements with schools and school owners.

Main survey, psychometric analyses, qualitative in-depth study and final report.

External members of research project

External members of research project

NTNU Social Research

  • Melina Røe, senior researcher
  • Trond Hallgeir Buland, senior researcher
  • Thomas Dahl, researcher 1

Rambøll Management Consulting

  • Clas Lenz, manager
  • Marie Bjella, senior executive officer
  • Jon Martin Sjøvold, team leader