04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session - NW 04
General Poster Session
At present education policy and educational research is focussed on the numbers of higher education students dropping out of their courses, particularly what are known as ‘first generation students’ (FGS), so students whose parents have not reached a high-school degree. This group of students abandons their studies considerably more frequently, even though there are no significant differences between the academic performance of these students and ‘traditional students’ (Klein & Stocké, 2016). Internationally, differences between FGS and TS drop-out rates can be seen across all stages of study with higher rates among students with no family tradition of higher education. The increased drop-out risk or FGS remains significant even after adjustment for gender, final school grades and family income (Martinez, Sher, Krull & Wood, 2009). There are however considerable differences in drop-out rates between subjects (Heublein et al. 2014). Ethnicity is a particularly significant factor with regard to obtaining degrees from German universities. Whilst 28 % of all BA undergraduates in any year group abandon their first degree studies without graduating, this figure is 42 % among students with a background of migration who have gone through the German school, with unfavourable rates for Turkish students (56 %) as well as Eastern European ones (43 %) (Kristen, 2014). A detailed analysis shows that the finding of a high proportion of students from families without an academic tradition is only true for certain ethnic groups, whereas in other ethnic groups the proportion of students from academic families is actually higher than average (Middendorff et al., 2013). The highest rates of FGS are recorded in the group of students with a background of Turkish migration.
Following Bourdieu, the focus of analysis to explain the drop-out rates of FGS is moving to adjustment issues between the students’ environment-specific patterns of perception, thinking and action (habitus) and specific requirements of the university institution (Lange-Vester & Sander, 2016). University life in practice is equally new to all commencing students, but depending on their habitus it is not equally alien (cf. van Ackeren et al., 2017). Adjustment issues in the university context were identified in several qualitative studies with a perspective on the drop-out rates of students without an academic family tradition (Lange-Vester & Sander, 2016). Given that drop-out rates differ depending on discipline, university and student composition and following on from discussion in school research, the focus is shifting to universities and disciplines as distinct development environments (Baumert, Stanat & Watermann, 2006). In the school context Kramer und Helsper (2010) were able to show that specific school and family contexts – conveyed through differing school cultures – create different adjustment constellations. Kramer (2011) explains that such different adjustment constellations imply “[d]ifferent connection opportunities or rejection relationships […] to socialisation environments of school pupils” (Kramer, 2011, 168). In a university context we therefore make the assumption that universities develop various organisational cultures which incorporate the proximity and distance to various social and ethnic student environments. Consequently this can evoke different institutional environment complexes depending on the disciplinary and university cultures. The transfer of results from school research to the university context must be examined in the light of the specific organisational conditions and structures of universities.
Research question: Up to now the specifics of various universities as regards their student compositions, organisational cultures, traditions and various disciplinary cultures have not been systematically analysed with respect to possible variations in their effect on first generation students. As a result of the social change and demographic developments of recent years, universities too have seen the emergence of various university-specific development environments which should in theory lead to specific habitus homologies and habitus differences depending on student composition, organisational culture and tradition. It can be assumed that universities differ in their organisational culture and that this, according to our hypothesis, can be recreated as a frame of reference also through various disciplines of a university (e.g. as regards the basic emphasis on heterogeneity/diversity as a starting or target perspective of teaching & learning processes). Research methodology: Twelve discussion groups will be held at two universities containing representatives of various disciplines. In the course of the group discussions there will be discussion probes on the following topics: • general characteristics, general and discipline-related competences which make new undergraduates appear suited to a (specialist) course of study • characterisation and positioning of first generation students • applied strategies for dealing with heterogeneity • conflict between inclusion and selection In light of the assumption that professional practice is formed in the context of the social world through interactive and indicative actions and that its structure is therefore mindful, this sub-study is based upon a reconstructive process which centres around analysis of the guiding and indicative actions of the educators with a focus on first generation students. For evaluation of the group discussions the documentary method provides a reconstructive process enabling access to the incorporate knowledge of the actors which informs their actions (Bohnsack, Nentwig-Gesemann & Nohl, 2000). Sample: The discipline of civil engineering was selected, which has a very high drop-out rate at 51% and a large proportion of first generation students (Heublein et al., 2014). As a contrast discipline medicine was selected, which shows by far the lowest drop-out rate at 8 % and has a smaller proportion of FGS (ibid.). Thirdly, social work was also selected as a discipline with a high proportion of FGS but low drop-out rates. Two discussion groups were held for each discipline at two different universities.
The project described is still in its initial stages and so we can present only expected results here. Nevertheless we would like to point out that it is our intention in presenting this particular project and initial results in the context of the ECER to spark an international exchange on the inclusion and exclusion processes of first generation students from the perspective of educators. Overall we expect to contribute to an understanding of universities and disciplines with various student compositions as distinct development environments which are more or less compatible with the environment-specific habitus of students from various educational backgrounds and thus influence selection or self-selection processes in the early stages of higher education – particularly in the case of first generation students with no family tradition of higher education. From a practical viewpoint we expect to see indications of options to provide specific organisational support and prevent feelings of insecurity, alienation and isolation among first generation students in an organisational or specific disciplinary context. Many universities do offer support measures aimed at specific target groups (including mentoring, language/writing workshops), which are intended to help even out any gaps in disciplinary or organisational knowledge (such as the German federal and state government programme QPL). However such compensatory approaches have also attracted criticism (e.g. Emmerich & Schmidt, 2014), since it is practically impossible to reach the groups addressed, and there is also the risk of potential stigmatisation of students through categorical approaches.
Ackeren, I. van, Bremm, N., Racherbäumer, K. (2017).Nichttraditionelle Studierende im Studieneingang. Befunde und Herausforderungen für adaptive Strategien und Maßnahmen. In: Kohler, J., Pohlenz, P., Schmitt, U. (Hrsg.) Handbuch Qualität in Studium und Lehre. Berlin, DUZ Verlags- und Medienhaus GmbH. Baumert, J., Stanat, P., & Watermann, R. (2006). Schulstruktur und die Entstehung differenzieller Lern- und Entwicklungsmilieus. In J. Baumert, P. Stanat, & R. Watermann (Eds.), Herkunftsbedingte Disparitäten im Bildungswesen: differenzielle Bildungsprozesse Probleme der Verteilungsgerechtigkeit: vertiefende Analysen im Rahmen von PISA 2000 (95–188). Wiesbaden: VS, Verl. für Sozialwiss. doi: 10.1007/978-3-531-90082-7_4. Bohnsack, R., Nentwig-Gesemann, I., & Nohl, A.-M. (2013). Die dokumentarische Methode und ihre Forschungspraxis: Grundlagen qualitativer Sozialforschung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Emmerich, J. & Schmidt, M. (2014). Die Beratung von Studierenden im Projekt ‚MyStudy‘: Habitussensibilität als professionelles Kernwissen. In T. Sander (Hrsg.), Habitussensibilität. Eine neue Anforderung an professionelles Handeln (303–317). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. doi: 10.1007/978-3-658-06887-5_13. Heublein, U., Richter, J., Schmelzer, R., & Sommer, D. (2014). Die Entwicklung der Studienabbruchquoten an den deutschen Hochschulen: Statistische Berechnungen auf der Basis des Absolventenjahrgangs 2012. Forum Hochschule: Vol. 2014,4. Hannover: Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung. Klein, D., & Stocké, V. (2016). Studienabbruchquoten als Evaluationskriterium und Steuerungsinstrument der Qualitätssicherung im Hochschulbereich. In D. Großmann & T. Wolbring (Hrsg.), Evaluation von Studium und Lehre. Grundlagen, methodische Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze (323–365). Wiesbaden: Springer VS. doi: 10.1007/978-3-658-10886-1_10. Kramer, R.-T., & Helsper, W. (2010). Kulturelle Passung und Bildungsungleichheit – Potenziale einer an Bourdieu orientierten Analyse der Bildungsungleichheit. In H.-H. Krüger (Hrsg.), Bildungsungleichheit revisited. Bildung und soziale Ungleichheit vom Kindergarten bis zur Hochschule (103–125). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. doi: 10.1007/978-3-531-92201-0_6. Kramer, R.-T. (2011). Abschied von Bourdieu? Perspektiven ungleichheitsbezogener Bildungsforschung (1. Auflage). Studien zur Schul- und Bildungsforschung: Band 39. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. doi: 10.1007/978-3-531-93068-8. Lange-Vester, A. & Sander, T. (2016). Soziale Ungleichheiten, Milieus und Habitus im Hochschulstudium – Zur Einführung. In A. Lange-Vester & T. Sander (Hrsg.), Soziale Ungleichheiten, Milieus und Habitus im Hochschulstudium. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa. Martinez, J. A., Sher, K. J., Krull, J. L. & Wood, P. K. (2009). Blue-Collar Scholars? Mediators and Moderators of University Attrition in First-Generation College Students. Journal of College Student Development, 50 (1). doi: 10.1353/csd.0.0053. Middendorff, E., Apolinarski, B. & Poskowsky, J. (Hrsg.). (2013). Wissenschaft. Die wirtschaftliche und soziale Lage der Studierenden in Deutschland 2012: 20. Sozialerhebung des Deutschen Studentenwerks durchgeführt durch das HIS - Institut für Hochschulforschung. Abgerufen von http://www.dzhw.eu/pdf/pub_fh/fh-201205.pdf.
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