Attitudes toward Socioscientific Issues as Outcome of Citizenship Education

Lida T. Klaver, Laurence J.F. Guérin, Juliette H. Walma van der Molen, Patrick H.M. Sins

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


The project ‘Working together towards scientific citizenship’ involved upper primary school students in the Netherlands, learning about and discussing various socioscientific issues (SSI), such as those related to the textile industry, energy transition, and wastewater. Through discussion about SSI, students not only learn about science, they also practice citizenship competences such as argumentation, perspective taking, thinking together, and making decisions. Additionally, engagement with SSI is seen as an important citizenship goal of SSI education. The Pupils’ Attitudes towards SSI (PASSI) questionnaire was administered to the treatment group (n = 236) and control group (n = 192) prior to and after SSI lesson series. The questionnaire measured attitudes that are indicative of engagement with SSI.
This study was premised on the assumption that the resources that students bring to SSI-based lessons vary. Some students regularly read the newspaper, watch the news, and engage in discussions with friends and family about world issues, while others do not. Therefore, we not only investigated the effects of SSI-based teaching on students’ attitudes toward SSI but also investigated whether the effects depend on students’ use of sources of knowledge profiles.
Multilevel analyses with attitudes towards SSI as outcome showed that SSI-based teaching had a positive effect on students’ feelings of collective efficacy. No effects were found on the other seven attitude components. Use of sources of knowledge profiles moderated the effect of condition on self-efficacy and—depending on the type of analysis—on personal relevance, positive feelings, and collective efficacy. These moderation effects suggest that SSI-based teaching mainly positively impacts the attitudes of students that had low use of sources of knowledge about SSI before the intervention. We discuss the implications of these results for SSI education, considering whether it is appropriate to set attitudes toward SSI as learning objective of citizenship education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023
EventCitizenship Education Conference: 8th Annual Conference on Citizenship Education - deBuren, Leopoldstraat 6, Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 8 Jun 20239 Jun 2023
Conference number: 8


ConferenceCitizenship Education Conference
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Attitudes toward Socioscientific Issues as Outcome of Citizenship Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this