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Students' university aspirations and attainment grouping in secondary schools

Mazenod, A; Hodgen, J; Francis, B; Taylor, B; Tereshchenko, A; (2019) Students' university aspirations and attainment grouping in secondary schools. Higher Education , 78 pp. 511-527. 10.1007/s10734-018-0355-x. Green open access

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Abstract

International evidence shows that students from more disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to attend university. We examine the potential link between university aspiration and secondary schools’ attainment grouping practices (tracking/setting). Modelling of longitudinal student questionnaires (N = 6680) completed in England suggests that there is a slight cumulative association between students’ university aspirations and their set placement. Interestingly, we find that students’ self-confidence predicts university aspirations over and above both prior aspirations and attainment. Our findings suggest that to improve our understanding of students’ university aspirations it is crucial to take account of factors other than just prior attainment. The concept of capacity to aspire emphasises the multiplicity of factors involved in enabling or hindering aspirations for university, and their interaction over time. We argue that universities have an important role in realising more socially just patterns in higher education participation through outreach work that can enhance students’ capacity to aspire to university.

Type: Article
Title: Students' university aspirations and attainment grouping in secondary schools
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10734-018-0355-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0355-x
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: University aspirations, Capacity to aspire, Setting, Tracking, Student characteristics, Social inequality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Directorate
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066306
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