Global citizenship education within a context of accountability and 21st century skills: The case of Olympus High School


  • Marzia Cozzolino DiCicco University of Pittsburgh



global citizenship education, accountability, 21st century skills, social justice, neoliberalism


This article addresses the present gap in empirical research on the possibilities and challenges of global citizenship education in U.S. public schools by presenting findings from a five-year, ethnographic case study. The setting for this study is Olympus High School, a small, suburban public high school in Pennsylvania. Beginning in the 2009–2010 school year, Olympus undertook a reform initiative to integrate teaching about the world into its curricular offerings. Although Olympus is just one case, the story of Olympus’s reform process reveals the inherent tension between preparing students to be knowledge workers in the global economy and preparing them to be active participants in global civil society. It also illustrates how test-based accountability and alignment to standards can impede efforts to broaden the curriculum in the interest of developing knowledgeable, responsible, and critically minded global citizens.  


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Author Biography

Marzia Cozzolino DiCicco, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Marzia Cozzolino DiCicco (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) has conducted research for the past 10 years on international and global education at the secondary and tertiary levels, culminating in her dissertation study, which investigates the challenges faced by U.S. public schools in integrating international and global components into their mainstream curricula. In addition to her scholarship in this area, Dr. Cozzolino DiCicco has extensive experience as an international and global educator, having worked as a foreign language teacher, a study abroad coordinator, an intercultural mediator, and a researcher and university instructor in various educational settings in Italy, France, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. Currently she is a Center Associate in the Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh where she collaborates on outreach programs focused on global education. She also works with schools in the US and in Italy and helps them to integrate global education in their educational offerings. 




How to Cite

Cozzolino DiCicco, M. (2016). Global citizenship education within a context of accountability and 21st century skills: The case of Olympus High School. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 57.



Education for Global Citizenship