05 SES 07, School Dropout: Individual and Family Risk Factors, and School Characteristics
Serbian educational system provides compulsory elementary education, which is free and lasts nine years. If students pass qualification exam, they continue secondary education. Students can choose between grammar and art schools that last four years, or vocational schools that last three or four years.
During the last decade changes and regulations were related directly to dropout rate reduction, especially in vulnerable groups (children from rural, low socio-economic status families, Roma, and children with different impairments). According to the data from Serbian strategic documents related to development of education, between 13% and 15% of children within 1 school generation does not finish primary education (IPSOS, 2012). Consequences of early school leaving (ESL) are tremendous, since ESLs will most probably be unemployed, or employed in unsecure and low-paid jobs. Analyses show that chances that ESLs will live below moderate poverty line, and that will be dependent on different social services are 2 to 5 times higher (Cedefop, 2010). Researches show that more time adolescents spend in educational system acquiring educational skills and knowledge the better they will be prepared to face life challenges in adulthood (Battin-Pearson, et al., 2000). In addition, analyses from EU demonstrated that ESL has significant negative consequences both on the person leaving school and on society and economics (Cedefop, 2010).
Traditionally, family was considered important only for school preparation or in helping child to adapt to early school years (Hansen, 1981). Some authors state that influence of parents became less relevant with each successive year of schooling. One extreme viewpoint was Harris’s group socialization theory of development, according to which parents have no long-term effect on the adolescents’ development (Harris, 1995). However, recent studies demonstrated direct link between parents’ participation in the educational process and students’ academic achievement in the upper grades (Epstein, 2001; Henderson, & Mapp, 2002). Importance of the relationship between parental behaviours and children's effort and performance in school is visible in growing scientific attention (e.g., Ginsburg & Bronstein, 2008). Empirical studies show that parent’s low income, education, and endorsement are connected with less participation of students in school extracurricular activities (Mahoney, & Stattin, 2000). Additionally, it was found that parental substance abuse and family conflicts were frequent patterns in dropout youth (Franklin, 1992). Recent Serbian studies dealing with family structure and functioning demonstrate significant negative changes (see Mihić, et al., 2006). Namely, studies report increase of number of single-parent families, due to wars, divorce, etc. In addition, studies report on increase of unbalanced families with entangled and chaotic relations. Some authors state that it is reasonable to assume that parental influence on the classroom learning is especially important during turbulent and frequent changes in educational system (Fullan, 2007). One Serbian study demonstrated that teachers have tendency to believe that in the case of misbehaving children, the role of parents are crucial and, without their support, they are powerless and not in the position to help (Tomonjić, et al., 2010). These are only some of the reasons why addressing to the role of the family factors with children who left elementary or secondary school in Serbia is meaningful research issue.
This paper presents data collected as part of extensive study dealing with factors of dropout and includes all relevant stakeholders in educational system. Our particular aim was to analyze family factors through case studies with children who left elementary or secondary school in Serbia. This study aimed at investigation of dropout risk factors related to family background in Serbia, so adequate prevention and intervention methods can be designed.
Battin-Pearson, S., Newcomb, M. D., Abbott, R. D., Hill, K. G., Catalano, R. F., & Hawkins, J. D. (2000). Predictors of early high school dropout: A test of five theories. Journal of educational psychology, 92(3), 568. Cedefop, (2010). Skills Supply and Demand in Europe: Medium-Term Forecast up to 2020. Commission Staff Working Paper. (2010, Septembar). Skills Supply and Demand in Europe: Medium-Term Forecast up to 2020. Paper presented at Reducing Early School Leaving: Efficient and Effective Policies in Europe, Brussels. Ginsburg, G. S., & Bronstein, P. (2008). Family factors related to children's intrinsic/extrinsic motivational orientation and academic performance. Child Development, 64(5), 1461-1474. Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Westview Press, 5500 Central Avenue, Boulder, CO 80301. Felner, R. D., Aber, M. S., Primavera, J.& Cauce, A. M. (1985). Adaptation and Vulnerability in High Risk Adolescents: an Examination of Enviromental Mediators. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13, 365-379. Franklin, C. (1992). Family and individual patterns in a group of middle-class dropout youths. Social Work, 37(4), 338-344. Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change. Routledge. Ipsos, (2012). Analiza osipanja iz obaveznog obrazovanja (Analysis of dropout from obligatory education), Belgrade Harris, J. R. (1995). Where is the child's environment? A group socialization theory of development. Psychological review, 102(3), 458. Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Annual Synthesis 2002. National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools. Mahoney, J. L., & Stattin, H. (2000). Leisure activities and adolescent antisocial behavior: The role of structure and social context. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 113–127. Mihić, I., Zotović, M., & Jerković, I. (2006). Stucture and sociodemographic characteristics of the family climate in Vojvodina. Psihologija, 39 (2), 297-312 Serbian Institute for Statistics. (2011). DevInfo Retrieved from http://devinfo.stat.gov.rs/rzsdevinfo/downloadse5.htm, March 2013 Serbian Institute for Statistics. (2013). DevInfo Retrieved from http://devinfo.stat.gov.rs/diSrbija/Baze_DI.aspx, March 2013 Tomonjić, G., Blagojević-Radovanović, R., & Pavlović, J. (2010). How much violence is present in school. Pedagoška stvarnost, 56(1-2), 46-58. Newcomb, M. D. (1996). Pseudo-maturity among adolescents: Construct validation, sex differences, and associations in adulthood. Journal of Drug Issues, 26, 477-504.
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