14 SES 04 B, Impact of students' trajectories and transitions across contexts
This paper complements the qualitative data on student mobility in stratified early-tracking system that the authors presented at the ECER 2017 in Copenhagen. Quantitative data on the student between school change and between track mobility in the Czech educational system will be analysed and presented.
The school mobility is an established research topic as school changes have a significant impact both on the mobile pupil and on the stable pupils, classrooms and schools (Gasper, DeLuca, & Estacion, 2012; Gibbons & Telhaj, 2011; Mehana & Reynolds, 2004; Rumberger, 2003; Strand & Demie, 2006). Our review, however, shows that most of the research data come from a small number of countries, mainly the USA and the United Kingdom. Data from Anglo-Saxon countries (that have in principle the comprehensive school systems) do not provide insights into the role of track change (and system permeability) that may be an important feature in some European stratified school systems as German and Dutch (Jacob & Tieben, 2009) or Luxemburgian (Backes & Hadjar, 2017) ones. The patterns of school and study programme changes are influenced by the structure of national educational system and wider social context. It is there important to study this phenomenon within and across different jurisdictions.
The student mobility (non-normative transition, school change) is defined as "a child joining or leaving a school at a point other than the normal age at which children start or finish their education at that school, whether or not this involves a move of home" (Dobson, 2008). Some authors use the term "transfer" to describe such events of mobility different from normal transition (promotion) to higher level of education. In our study we want to bring out quantitative information on the typology and frequency of non-normative school changes in the Czech school system, i.e. in a post-socialist school system tracking the pupils at an early age and with very high share of upper secondary students in technical/professional and vocational study tracks. That is why in some cases the school change might be motivated by an effort to correct the previous choice of the school type or track. The pattern of mobility could be different in rural and urban settings as more school types are available in large towns.
Our research questions are: How many Czech secondary students change the school, study programme and school track yearly? What is the ratio of downward and upward between-track changes? Is there a relation between the school switching and dropout? How is the pattern of mobility influenced by the regional context and other school factors?
This quantitative study uses the census data from the Czech national student database to describe the patterns of student mobility between various types of schools, study programmes, regions etc. All data about individual students have been fully anonymised in such manner that it is not possible to identify any subject from the data. In pilot study, the complete data about the mobility between all Czech upper secondary schools for the period from September 2016 to March 2017 were processed. Administrative data about all Czech upper secondary students (approx. 424 thousand) were obtained. We analysed the cases of the students who switched the school within the selected period once (N=4533). At moment, mainly descriptive data were obtained. Next steps will include the analysis of cases when students changed study track or study programme within the school and the cases of students who switched the school more than once. The relation of student mobility and dropout will be studied as well. Unfortunately, the original database includes neither data about the student achievement nor his/or her family background. We will use some proxy characteristics of the original school locality to study the regional differences in mobility and relationship between the contextual factors, school change and dropout. Future analyses will include lower secondary school students and will use archive data to study the mobility trends in time.
Only 25% of transfers between schools in our pilot sample could be linked to spatial mobility of the student (e.g. her or his family moving from one community to another). We can expect that the intention to change study programme, track or specific school environment plays an important role in vast majority of transfers. We were most interested in the cases of between tracks mobility – the transfers from the more prestigious tracks (academic and technical professional) to vocational tracks and vice versa. Together, only 15% of mobile students crossed the divide between the more and less prestigious tracks: we found 11.5% cases of downward mobility and 3.5% cases of upward mobility. The share of downward track changes was slightly higher in the group of students that stayed in the same community (12%) than in group featuring the spatial mobility (9.5%). Our preliminary results are more similar to Dutch than German data reported by Jacob & Tieben (2009). In our paper we will present also the results on more complex cases e.g. of more than one school change within for one student or when the transfer between schools is followed by the dropout. The existing figures from other European school systems will be compared with our findings.
Backes, S. & Hadjar, A. (2017). Educational trajectories through secondary education in Luxembourg: How does permeability affect educational inequalities? Revue Suisse des Sciences de l'Education (2017), 39(3), 437-460. Dobson, J. (2008). Pupil mobility, choice and the secondary school market: assumptions and realities, Educational Review, 60(3), 299-314. Gasper, J., DeLuca, S., & Estacion, A. (2012). Switching schools: Revisiting the relationship between school mobility and high school dropout. American Educational Research Journal, 49(3), 487-519. Gibbons, S., & Telhaj, S. (2011). Pupil mobility and school disruption. Journal of Public Economics, 95(9-10), 1156-1167. Jacob, M. & Tieben, N. (2009). Social selectivity of track mobility in secondary schools. A comparison of intra-secondary transitions in Germany and the Netherlands. European Societies, 11 (5), 747-773 Mehana, M., & Reynolds, A. J. (2004). School mobility and achievement: a meta-analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 26(1), 93-119. Rumberger, R. W. (2003). The causes and consequences of student mobility. Journal of Negro Education, 72(1), 6−21. Strand, S., & Demie, F. (2006). Pupil mobility, attainment and progress in primary school. British Educational Research Journal, 32(4), 551-568.
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