• civic knowledge;
  • political learning;
  • high school students;
  • Israel

Past research on civic education suggests that students' performance is largely influenced by individual socioeconomic background and motivational factors. There has been little attention to the effects of school and classroom ideological and social attributes, such as the socioeconomic make-up of the school or classroom, or how interested in politics are a student's classmates. The results of the present study support the contention that contextual effects play a vital role in determining students' civic knowledge scores. Analysis of Israeli 11th graders' performance on the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) civic knowledge test shows that while individual backgrounds and motivations play a significant role, school and classroom contexts greatly contribute to civic knowledge acquisition.