23 SES 09 A, Contextualizing Opportunities for Educational Transitions: A comparative analysis from Belgium, Spain, the U.S. and the U.K.
The analysis of educational transitions has to be situated in specific educational politics and structures (Cuconato and Walther, 2015). With the aim of developing a contextualized and comparative analysis in the area of contemporary educational transitions, this session will bring together qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Belgium, Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. in order to identify key themes explaining the nature and significance of youth transitions in different contexts. On the one hand, different transition points will be explored: from primary to lower secondary education (Belgium); from lower to upper secondary (Spain); from upper secondary to higher education (U.S.); and from higher education to the labour market (U.K). On the other hand, different systemic, institutional, relational and subjective factors explaining these transitions will be analyzed and compared.
The four papers included in the symposium raise similar theoretical questions and, both individually and together, they explore the interplay of different factors in producing different opportunities for young people’s transitions with more or less options to succeed (Ball et al, 2006; Walther et al, 2015). Some of the factors included in the analyses are the following: the structure of education systems; the role of education programs, policies and politics; and the impact of different institutions and actors such as schools, teachers and families. The symposium also discusses crucial questions on the role of the students themselves in experiencing, reacting and negotiating these transition processes and identifies fundamental aspects related to students’ social class, gender and ethnic opportunities and identities.
In particular, the Belgian study focuses on the transition from primary to secondary education in an educational system characterized by rigid tracking, lack of centrally administered standardized testing, and free track and school choice. The resulting early tracking based on teachers’ non-binding advice and parents’ discretion proves the ideal recipe for social reproduction and inequality, as illustrated by quantitative and qualitative data. The focus of the Spanish paper is on the transition from lower to upper secondary education. By means of qualitative analyses several tensions are revealed that illustrate the complexity of this transition and demonstrate the impact of certain regulations, policies and politics on the equality of opportunities for different social groups, and especially for the most vulnerable students. The U.S. contribution deals with the transition to higher education, and focuses on the ‘College promise program’ designed to incentivize college attainment by promising a financial award that offsets the costs of attending college for individuals who live in a designated place or attend specified schools. A systematic review of empirical research shows that some eligibility criteria and programs may increase stratification of opportunity and outcomes. Finally, the U.K. paper looks into the labour market transitions of U.K. Higher Education graduates. By an in-depth qualitative study, the analysis focuses on how students experience their transitions and interrogates the interaction between social and gender opportunities and identities on the one hand and institutional structures on the other in producing educational inequalities at this transition point.
Overall and by comparing several educational systems and institutions particularly in terms of how they form and influence educational choices, this symposium adds to a more profound understanding of how contexts might give opportunities but might raise barriers as well for youth successful transitions.
The four papers will be compared by a discussant that will raise questions addressed to find both common and specific analytical aspects of each paper and will introduce elements addressed to reinforce the international scientific agenda in this field.
Ball, S., Maguire, M., Macrae, S. (2000). Choice, pathways and transitions post-16: new youth, new economies in the global city. London: Falmer Press. Cuconato, M., Walther, A. (2015). ‘Doing transitions’ in education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 28:3, 283-296. Walther, A., Warth, A., Ule, M., du Bois-Reymond, M. (2015). Me, my education and I: Constellations of decision-making in young people’s educational trajectories. Interna- tional Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 28, 349–371
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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