ERG SES C 07, Higher Education
In 2009, we conducted a case study at a teacher education course in chemistry about the student-institution relationship, which started from the finding of its lower dropout rates (around 15%) compared to national average (around 70%).
The study was based on Bourdieu and Lahire’s sociological perspective, mainly the disposition concept (LAHIRE, 2002) that is basically the agents’ mechanisms of action that reveal their values, tastes and beliefs. We also adopt the theoretical perspective of Vincent Tinto to investigate specifically the dropout aspect of this relationship. The "Student Integration Theory" was proposed in 1975, has undergone revisions, was criticized, but it is still widely accepted as the main theoretical model for studies of attrition and considered almost paradigmatic. In his theory, Tinto (1993) believes that the retention of students depends on compatibility between the university and the student, measured by academic integration (which may be by formal measured through performance at graduation and informal measured through the relationship with the faculty and staff) and social integration (formally by extracurricular activities and informally by the relationship with colleagues).
In our major research we analyze on one hand the trajectory of the institution and its institutional dispositions and, on the other hand, the school history and heritage (cultural, economic and social) and students' dispositions (MASSI, 2013). The case study is based on different data and analyzes that aim to capture the university experience as a whole, including interviews with 27 undergraduate students transformed into sociological portraits, trying to organize their academic trajectories according to their integration into the institution. The main institutional arrangements present in various stages of institutional development point to the importance of research, the union between the faculty members, the pursuit of autonomy and isolation and the community outreach projects as a form of institutional marketing (MASSI; VILLANI, 2014). The portraits show a predominance of paths that combines social and academic integration (17/27), favored by a ‘fit’ of the above dispositions updated in university (MASSI; VILLANI, 2015). It’s also important to emphasize that all the students from this teacher education in chemistry course were socioeconomically disadvantaged (MASSI; VILLANI, 2014) which reinforce the importance of their actions that prevent dropouts, like providing information about the institution, providing scholarships for students to work part-time at the university and providing various opportunities of extracurricular activities.
Six years after, in this study we revisit the data to analyze the effective dropout or retention of those 27 chemistry students through the comparison of the portrait of their social and academic integration in 2009 and their actual situation. Even thought Tinto’s model have already been extensively tested and does not intent to accurate forecast student’s future, in this investigation, by adopting this perspective on a qualitative analysis, it is possible to identify common aspects to the students stories and factors associated with retention and dropout. In future studies we will increase the understanding of this study results by producing new sociological portraits with these students and identifying their dispositions.
MASSI, L. Relação aluno-instituição: o caso da licenciatura do Instituto de Química da UNESP/Araraquara. Tese (Doutorado em Ensino de Ciências) – Universidade de São Paulo. Faculdade de Educação, Instituto de Física, Instituto de Química e Instituto de Biociências. São Paulo, 2013. MASSI, L.; VILLANI, A. Construction of the Dispositions of Institutional habitus in the Academic Field. International Research in Education, v. 2, p. 16-32, 2014. MASSI, L.; VILLANI, A. Contribuições dos estudos de perfil dos graduandos: o caso dos cursos de licenciatura e bacharelado em Química da UNESP/Araraquara. Revista Brasileira de Pesquisa em Educação em Ciências, v. 14, p. 151-170, 2014. MASSI, L.; VILLANI, A. Um caso de contratendência: baixa evasão na licenciatura em química explicada pelas disposições e integrações. Revista Educação e Pesquisa, no prelo, 2015. LAHIRE, B. From the habitus to an individual heritage of dispositions. Towards a sociology at the level of the individual. Poetics, v. 31, 329-355, 2003. LAHIRE, B. Retratos sociológicos: disposições e variações intraindividuais. Porto Alegre: Artmed, 2004. 344. LOPES, J. T. O. Registros do actor plural: Bernard Lahire na sociologia portuguesa. Porto: Edições Afrontamento 2012. TINTO, V. Leaving College: rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. 296.
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