02 SES 17 A, Pathways to Higher Education
Dropping-out from the educational system is one of the main current educational teething troubles in Europe (European Commission, 2011). Consequently, there is a vast amount of literature and empirical evidences on the subject as attested by recent literature reviews of the issue (De Witte, Cabusa, Thyssena, Groota & van den Brinka, 2013; Hovdhaugen, Kottmann & Thomas, 2015). However, despite the extensive literature in this field, most studies focus on secondary or higher education drop-outs, while there is an evident shortage of empirical research focusing on Vocational Education and Training (VET) and student desertion at this level of education (Cedefop, 2016; Cerdà-Navarro, Sureda-Negre & Comas-Forgas, 2017). This situation recommends, firstly, broadening the empirical knowledge available on the students’ abandonment of VET; and secondly, allowing this empirical knowledge to provide useful information to assist policy decision making in reducing dropping-out rates in VET.
The relationship between academic indiscipline or academic disruptive behaviour and dropping out has been extensively studied in secondary education (Vitaro, Brendgen & Tremblay, 1999; De Witte, Cabusa, Thyssena, Groota & van den Brinka, 2013). In general terms it can be stated that not all dropouts have disruptive behaviours. For example, Janosz et al. (2000) point out the type QUIET-LEAVER that is characterized by a continuous school failure, but with good behaviour. Similarly, Dwyer (1996 and 1997) and later McIntyre & Melville (1999 and 2000) distinguish between the DISCOURAGED-LEAVER and ALIENATED-LEAVER types, in both cases they have low performance and little interest in education, but only the ELIENATED leavers reports disruptive and indiscipline behaviour problems.
In this study we will focus on the analysis of the relationship between dropping out intentions and disruptive behaviours of students enrolled in Basic Vocational Education and Training Programs in Mallorca (Spain). The main aim of the study is analysing if there is a relationship between these two variables and we defend an initial hypothesis, already sustained in the existing literature on dropping out from secondary education, that there is a strong relationship between them: greater levels of academic disruptive behaviours are linked to more probability of abandoning a VET program.
Data used in the present proposal belong to 354 students who started a Basic VET Program during 2015-16 in Mallorca (Spain). The study carried out had the approval of the Research Ethics Committee of the Balearic Islands University and with the informed consent and the permission of the parents in the cases of the underage students. Regarding the characteristics of the sample: the average age is 15.89 (range between 14 and 18 years), the percentage of women is 31.6% and men 61.6%. The questionnaire used was based on: a) the model of association between context (family, parents, school, and community), student engagement (cognitive, behavioural, and emotional) and academic outcomes developed by Reschly & Christenson (2012); b) the contributions of the Student Engagement Instrument (SEI), used in the Check & Connect project (Appleton, 2012); c) the potential drop-out assessment kit (Trousse d' évaluation des décrocheurs potentiels-TEDP), used in Quebec (Janosz, Archambault, Lacroix & Lévesquen, 2007); d) and a study on absenteeism in vocational secondary education in France (Lannegrand, Cosnefroy & Lecigne, 2012). Regarding the data used in this work the analysis of the dropping out intention was measured by a dichotomy question: “So far, have you thought about abandoning the program in which you are enrolled?” The variable of academic indiscipline was analysed trough 4 Likert questions (of 5 positions) on class disruptive behaviour of students (example: “I answer the teachers in an uneducated way”). The items of this factor were expressed in a negative way; consequently, higher scores in this variable are equivalent to more indiscipline in class. An index of academic indiscipline was constructed by summing the responses of the 4 Likert scales that measured the academic indiscipline in the questionnaire. Another question used in this study was if the participants had been expelled previously from a formative/educational program due to academic indiscipline. Data process and analysis was conducted by SPSS v.21.
A little bit more than 20% (21,6%) of the sample had the though or intention of dropping out from the studies. This is a significant percentage taking into consideration that the questionnaire was responded by students that were enrolled in the first course and responded the questionnaire during the first trimester. Apart from this fact, we observed that there is a significant relation between the intention of dropping out and the disruptive behaviour of students. When analysed individually every disruptive behaviour posed in the questionnaire (“I annoy in class on purpose”, “I answer the teachers in an uneducated way”, “Cheat frequently in exams and essays”, “I have missed classes without justification”) in all cases there is a significant statistical relationship with the dropping out intention: higher levels of disruptive behaviours are linked to higher dropout intentions. The same happens when the analysis is taking into consideration the 4 items together (a t-student analysis has been applied to analyse this relationship). In line with these results we found that there is a strong relationship between the fact of having been expelled from an educational program/course and the intention of dropping out amongst the Basic VET students participating in the investigation.
Appleton, J.J. (2012). Systems Consultation: Developing the Assessment-to-Intervention Link with the Student Engagement Instrument. En Christentson, S.L.; Reschly, A. & Wylie, C. (ed.). Handbook of Research on Student Engagement. NY: Springer. P. 725-742. Cedefop (2016). Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage. Volume I: investigating causes and extent. Luxembourg: Publications Office. Cedefop research paper; No 57. http://dx.doi.org/10.2801/893397 Cerda Navarro, A.; Sureda-Negre, J. & Comas-Forgas, R. (2017). Recommendations for confronting vocational education dropout: a literature review. Empirical Research in Vocational Education & Training, 9(17). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40461-017-0061-4 De Witte, K., Cabus, S., & Thyssen, G. Groot, W., & van den Brink, HM (2013). A critical review of the literature on school dropout. Educational Research Review, 10, 13-28. Dwyer, P., & Dwyer, P. J. (1996). Opting out: Early school leavers and the degeneration of youth policy. National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies. Dwyer, P., Harwood, A., Poynter, G., & Tyler, D. (1997). Participant Pathways and Outcomes in Vocational Education and Training: 1992-1995. Report of Findings of an ANTA-Funded Project. Research Report 14. Youth Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia. European Commission (2011) Tackling early school leaving: a key contribution to the Europe 2020 Agenda. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52011DC0018&from=EN. Accessed 26 Jan 2018 Hovdhaugen, E., Kottmann, A., Thomas, L., & Vossensteyn, J. J. (2015). Dropout and completion in higher education in Europe: annex 1: literature review. Janosz, M. et al. (2000). Predicting different types of school dropouts: a typological approach on two longitudinal samples. Journal of Educational Psychology, No 92, pp. 171–190. Janosz, M.; Archambault, I.; Lacroix, M. & Lévesque, J. (2007). Trousse d’évaluation des décrocheurs potentiels (TEDP): Manuel d’utilisation. Montréal: Groupe de recherche sur les environnements scolaires. Université de Montréal. Lannegrand, L.; Cosnefroy, O & Lecigne, A. (2012). Prediction of various degrees of vocational secondary school absenteeism: Importance of the organization of the educational system. School Psychology International, 33:94, 293-307. Reschly, A. L. & Christenson, S. L. (2012). Jingle, Jangle, and Conceptual Haziness: Evolution and Future Directions of the Engagement Construct. In: Christenson S., Reschly A., Wylie C. (eds) Handbook of Research on Student Engagement. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_1 Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (1999). Prevention of school dropout through the reduction of disruptive behaviors and school failure in elementary school. Journal of School Psychology, 37(2), 205-226.
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