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Inequality in educational choice : Does a school’s policy-making capacity make a difference?

(2016)
Author
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Abstract
From the rational individualist point of view, educational choice is seen as a way through which pupils are empowered to take ownership of their educational career. However, research has shown that educational choice often fails to offer this kind of empowerment, because of the close intertwinement with socioeconomic background. Across European countries, pupils with a low socio-economic background have a higher probability of choosing a less-demanding option at the educational transition from primary to secondary education. Research into educational choice has neglected the context of educational decisions, while school effectiveness research is clear about the influence of schools on individual pupils. In recent school effectiveness literature, a particular focus on the policy-making capacity of schools is evident. In this study, we investigate the role of a schools’ policy-making capacity in tackling the inequality in educational choice. Can schools diminish the social inequality in educational choice by maintaining a strong policy about educational choice counseling? Data were gathered in May 2015, in 36 Flemish schools, from 1049 pupils of 10-11 years old. Analyses show that a schools’ policy, as perceived by teachers, does not influence the educational choices of pupils with a lower middle class or middle class background. However, for pupils from the higher middle class, the relationship between policy about educational transitions and educational choice is stronger. Compared to pupils from a working class background, those from a high middle class background have a higher probability to choose a theoretical, more demanding option, and this probability is even higher at schools with a strong educational transition policy. Further analyses clarify these findings using the perspective of pupils about who to get information from when making an educational choice. These analyses result in suggestions for policy and future research.

Citation

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Chicago
Thys, Sarah, and Mieke Van Houtte. 2016. “Inequality in Educational Choice : Does a School’s Policy-making Capacity Make a Difference?” In .
APA
Thys, Sarah, & Van Houtte, M. (2016). Inequality in educational choice : Does a school’s policy-making capacity make a difference? Presented at the Research Network: Sociology of Education - European Sociological Association.
Vancouver
1.
Thys S, Van Houtte M. Inequality in educational choice : Does a school’s policy-making capacity make a difference? 2016.
MLA
Thys, Sarah, and Mieke Van Houtte. “Inequality in Educational Choice : Does a School’s Policy-making Capacity Make a Difference?” 2016. Print.
@inproceedings{8541235,
  abstract     = {From the rational individualist point of view, educational choice is seen as a way through which pupils are empowered to take ownership of their educational career. However, research has shown that educational choice often fails to offer this kind of empowerment, because of the close intertwinement with socioeconomic background. Across European countries, pupils with a low socio-economic background have a higher probability of choosing a less-demanding option at the educational transition from primary to secondary education. Research into educational choice has neglected the context of educational decisions, while school effectiveness research is clear about the influence of schools on individual pupils. In recent school effectiveness literature, a particular focus on the policy-making capacity of schools is evident. In this study, we investigate the role of a schools{\textquoteright} policy-making capacity in tackling the inequality in educational choice. Can schools diminish the social inequality in educational choice by maintaining a strong policy about educational choice counseling? Data were gathered in May 2015, in 36 Flemish schools, from 1049 pupils of 10-11 years old. Analyses show that a schools{\textquoteright} policy, as perceived by teachers, does not influence the educational choices of pupils with a lower middle class or middle class background. However, for pupils from the higher middle class, the relationship between policy about educational transitions and educational choice is stronger. Compared to pupils from a working class background, those from a high middle class background have a higher probability to choose a theoretical, more demanding option, and this probability is even higher at schools with a strong educational transition policy. Further analyses clarify these findings using the perspective of pupils about who to get information from when making an educational choice. These analyses result in suggestions for policy and future research.  },
  author       = {Thys, Sarah and Van Houtte, Mieke},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Milan},
  title        = {Inequality in educational choice : Does a school{\textquoteright}s policy-making capacity make a difference?},
  year         = {2016},
}