22 SES 13 B, Engagement and Educational Reform
Improvement of school effectiveness is emerging objective of educational reform strategies around the world. Cross-national comparative studies pointed out that besides the family background, the educational performance of students is mainly determined by the quality of the teachers. Thus, recruiting capable and motivated students into the initial teacher education is essential for quality teaching. (Mourshed, Chinezi, and Barber 2010; OECD, 2005, 2011; Darling-Hammond, 2017; Darling-Hammond et al, 2017) While successful countries can select from the best applicants, attracting talented, appropriate candidates for this career and keeping them on this track, it seems to be difficult in other countries. Some countries are even struggling with a teacher shortage. (Eurostat, 2012; European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2013; European Commission, 2014; OECD, 2016, 2018)
During the early 2000’s huge decrease occurred in the number of students involved in teacher education in Hungary and even a teacher shortage took place for scientific subjects. Initial teacher education was often chosen as a “reserve” track of higher education: the number of people applying to teacher education as their first choice decreased, “second-choice” applicants had poorer achievement in their previous studies, and they were less motivated and committed to the teaching profession. (Varga, 2007; Kárpáti, 2009; Jancsák, 2014; Sági and Ercsei, 2014; Kállai and Szemerszki, 2016; Szemerszki, 2018)
Detection of the problem of a huge shortage of teachers implied further discussion in initial teacher education and university recruitment policies. Partly related to this conversation, during the last period several major reforms have been implemented in the Hungarian education system. Three fundamental acts in 2011 – the Act on Public Education, the Act on Higher Education and the Act on Vocational Training - significantly transformed the organization, maintenance, financing and governance of the Hungarian education system – both public education and higher education, and especially the initial teacher education and career condition of teachers. 2013 was a milestone of the introduction of these changes. (See details: European Commission, 2015)
It would be an obvious research question whether these mass of educational reforms could effect on attracting the best qualified, motivated and committed high school graduates to initial teacher education. At the same time, there are several well-known methodological reasons why it is impossible to analyze the real effect of these steps of reforms without a control group. So we do not aim to find any causal effect. Our research question is simpler: we would like to recover whether we can observe systematic changes in the (self-)selection process of initial teacher education among newly maturated young since 2013, when - besides several other changes in the social environment - the educational reform started to operate. Our main hypothesis is that during the examined period (2013-2018) the (self)-selection gap between teacher and non-teacher track of higher education narrowed slightly, but still remained.
While our analysis is based on data of a single country, the added value of national-level data construction allows us to examine a more universal research question concerning the general mechanism of the relationship between educational reforms and changes in recruitment and selection process of a special segment of higher education – the initial teacher education.
In our analyses we try to recover changes in (self-)selection of application into teacher track of higher education in Hungary between 2013 and 2018. For this analysis, the pulled official database of higher education entry register (official data of Hungarian Educational Authority from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) was used. The Hungarian higher education system applies a nationwide centralized online admission system. Applications can be submitted twice a year by designated deadlines in the framework of a central admission procedure. This central procedure makes it possible that researchers have access to the data appearing in the procedure as an anonymized database. It includes some personal data of applicants, basic information about his/her previous school results, maturity results, foreign language skills, special disadvantageous status (if any) and last but not least the full list of his/her higher education application and the description of his/her final admission. We distinguished the following main groups of applicants to higher education in our analysis according to their first application and their final enrollment: (1.) First application: teacher training education; the first application was accepted (2.) First application: non-teacher training, not accepted there – but finally accepted to teacher training (3.) First application: non-teacher training, accepted there (4.) First application: non-teacher training, not accepted - but later on admitted to some other non-teacher HE (5.) First application: teacher training, but accepted to some non-teacher HE (6.) Did not accepted anywhere Besides the usual descriptive analyses, multinomial logit models were applied for disclosing potential effects of time spent since the introduction of a mass of educational reforms. For it, date of student application to the higher education (year) was involved as an explanatory dummy variable (with the reference category of 2013), while our dependent variable refers to the above-mentioned combination of the main tracks of initial application to tertiary education. Total average entrance scores, the existence of the advanced level of maturity exam, special disadvantageous status and some information about the applicant’s secondary education were also involved into our models as explanatory variables (control variables).
Our main hypothesis was that since the introduction of educational reforms in Hungary (during the examined period 2013-2018) the (self)-selection gap between teacher and non-teacher track of higher education narrowed slightly, but still remained. Main results of our analysis are as follows: The proportion of first placed application for teacher tracks of HE has been increasing since 2013. The probability of admission to teacher tracks of HE (rather than to non-teacher tracks) is increasing over time (comparing to 2013). Average entrance scores of students admitted either to teacher-tracks or to non-teacher track of HE have increased slightly since 2013, which is consistent with the changes in the minimum required scores. Between 2013 and 2018 the (self-)selection gap between teacher and non-teacher tracks of higher education narrowed slightly, but still exists. There is a huge “per se” period effect (the effect of time since educational reforms were introduced) both on teacher-related and non-teacher-related HE application and admission paths, with the exception of the cases of unsuccessful applicants. In summary, the time elapsed since the introduction of educational reforms seems to have a significant positive effect both on long-cycle and BA level initial teacher education admission, relative to the straightforward path of the non-teacher track of HE application and admission.
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