Back on track?
How civic learning opportunities widen the political knowledge gap in a tracked education system
This article examines how different civic learning opportunities relate to students’ political knowledge in different school tracks. Existing studies have found that citizenship teaching can not only enhance overall levels of civic outcomes but also mitigate inequalities. However, educational achievement studies emphasize the risk of a tracked school context exacerbating the general knowledge gap. Combining these findings, we do not know whether efforts in the vocational track to enhance civic outcomes can still reduce civic inequalities. This study relies on the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016 data. It uses multilevel analysis to examine how the civic learning opportunities schools offer (as perceived by students) are related to civic knowledge across different tracks. It finds that cross-track differences in civic knowledge are not smaller in schools rich in civic learning opportunities. We provisionally propose that this is due to differences across tracks in the levels and the nature of the civic learning opportunities provided.