|Editor||P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Innovative Practice and Research Trends in Identity, Citizenship and Education|
For several years, the French authorities have been concerned about the overall climate at school and the increase in incivility in the school environment. The 2005 framework law proposed a pedagogical and educational innovation: the character education grade. This grade not only assesses the attitude and involvement of the students in their establishments but also their behaviours. This article examines junior high school students’ perception of the character education grade in France to see whether it is conducive to the learning of civic and social competences. For this purpose, we rely on the analysis of institutional prescriptions, scientific reports and on-going research work including the accounts of ninety-six junior high school students. Based on this qualitative research, we first focus on the context within which the character education grade appeared and the goals it aimed to serve; then, through the the official prescriptions with the students’ views to see how this new measure was comprehended by the students in the course of their education. The first results are marked by scepticism towards the actual reach of this character education grade.