14 SES 08 B, Young People's Trajectories and Pathways across Borders
The school mobility is an established research topic in educational sciences. On one side, it encompasses the studies of periodic travel, i.e. commuting to school, and on the other side, the various types of more or less irreversible changes – school transitions and transfers are studied. The latter moves involve both vertical (promotion to higher level of education), and horizontal transfers (between schools of the same educational level, in our case ISCED 3 - upper secondary education).
While the research of vertical transitions, especially from primary to secondary educational level, related often to shift from pure rural to urban change, has been discussed within the EERA Network 14 for a long time (e.g. Kvalsund 2000), our paper combines the study of school commuting and horizontal school transfers (also called non-normative moves, lateral moves, school switching) . We expect that spatial factors and decision to change school might be mutually interrelated because a school transition is every time connected with change of commutation.
In our study we analyse the relation between school transfer (or revised school choice), the home-to-school distance and its change and in the Czech upper secondary school system, i.e. tracked system with very high share of upper secondary students in technical/professional (37%) and vocational study (30%) tracks. In a tracked system, the school change might be motivated by an effort to correct the previous choice of the school track or qualification (Latina, 20017), but the between school transfer with or without qualification/track change might be also the result of logistical problems with commuting or student temporary accommodation.
Other studies have demonstrated that various socio-cultural groups of students are characterized by different between school mobility (e.g. Welsh 2017). Often those from lower social classes or members of ethnic minorities have higher mobility, just because of study problems, lower educational aspiration and because of more difficult life conditions in their families. The socio-economical aspects mirrored in student´s transitions from the more prestigious educational tracks (academic and technical professional) to vocational tracks and vice versa. Beside this, between-school transitions might be results of many other reasons, like e.g. need for shorter distance to a student´s place of residence compared to the prior chosen school or inconvenient specialization of the school or study programme contrary to primary expectations (Bereményi, Carrasco 2018).
The aims of our paper could be defined in two levels. On the methodological level, it is to present and to test a methodological tool for merging of three nationwide databases managed in Czechia, which would enable to study between-school transfers on the macro-regional level to find out general trends in choosing and changing of school trajectories. On the empirical level, the aim is to answer namely these preliminary research questions: How does the spatial and qualifications pattern of between-school transfers within upper secondary education in Czechia look like? How could the pattern of school mobility be influenced by the regional context?
In the empirical part of our study, data from three types of nationwide Czech databases has been merged. 1) Czech National Student Register. These administrative data are annually reported to the Ministry of Education by individual schools. The school statistics based on these data have been produced and used by researchers and administrators traditionally. Nevertheless, the administrative microdata allow to look beyond the aggregated averages. The original reported data on each unit – that is a student in this case – are allow for new types of analysis. They are fully anonymised for corresponding to the legislation about personal data protection. The administrative data about all transfers of Czech upper secondary students in the period from September 2016 to March 2017 were obtained from the data administrator. In first step, we merged the data within this database to match the original and new school for each student, as this information is not contained in original set. The cases of the students who switched the school within the period once, N = 4533, were analysed. To conduct further analyses, the database had to be localized into the geographical space by assigning the geographic coordinates to the place of student´s residence and to the place of attended school in each the case of transfer. Therefore, the dataset was merged with two other datasets: 2) ArcCR 500, the digital vector database of geographic data for Czechia, more precisely the point layer of the lowest administrative units (i.e. municipalities); 3) vector point layer of upper secondary schools by the State Administration of Land Surveying and Cadastre. All three databases were merged and subsequent analyses were conducted within the geographic information system (GIS) with utilization of various analytical tools. This way the spatial characteristics were assigned to each case of school change. The cases were subsequently sorted according to the relevant criteria. Presently, mainly descriptive data were obtained in our study. Preliminary results have to be further verified and refined on remaining statistical faults. As this study is based on population data, inferential techniques are not suitable for interpretation (Gibbs, Shafer, & Miles, 2015).
Use of administrative micro data of Czech National Student Register and their merging with spatial data provides an analytical potential which has not been used yet in Czechia. Nevertheless, it is not possible to exploit it without an interdisciplinary co-operation of researchers from educational as well as spatial sciences (like geography and geoinformatics), since the work with data in particular steps is methodologically very heterogeneous. Preliminary results show that change of qualification group of VET qualifications correlates with decreased average home to school distance. This suggest that logistic factor (problems with commuting) might be an important factor in this subset of revised school choices. This is in agreement with the observation of high importance of mutual closeness between the school and the place of residence across various social groups in Czechia (as referred by another study of Meyer & Kučerová, 2018). On the other hand, changing school without the change of type of qualification lead to varying results: in some types of qualifications (e.g. food processing, building), average student had to commute significantly longer distance after the change. In other cases (e.g. retail qualifications), the new school tends to be closer to student’s home. These differences have to be analysed in in detail in order to explain them. Considering the spatial variability of non-residential between-school transitions within Czechia, the region of North-West is above-average. The region could be characterized as structurally affected with respect to regional development, with concentration of socially deprived inhabitants, below the average in educational results as well as qualified human resources generally. Supposedly the higher rate of non-residential school transfers is related to these factors.
BEREMÉNYI, B. Á. & CARRASCO, S. (2018). Caught in the triangle of mobility: social, residential and pupil mobility. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 39(1), 32–46. CHUBB, J. E., MOE, T. M. (1990). Politics, Markets and America´s Schools. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution. DVOŘÁK, D. & VYHNÁLEK, J. (submitted 2018). Meziškolní mobilita žáků středních odborných škol v České republice. [Between-school mobility of technical professional upper secondary school students in Czechia.] Pedagogika. GIBBS, B. G., SHAFER, K. & MILES, A. (2015). Inferential statistics and the use of administrative data in US educational research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2015.1113249 KVALSUND, R. (2000). The transition from primary to secondary level in smaller and larger rural schools in Norway: comparing differences in context and social meaning. International Journal of Educational Research, 33, 401–423. LATINA, J. (2017). Should I stay or should I switch? An analysis of transitions between modes of vocational education and training, Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(2), 173-195. MEYER, P., KUČEROVÁ, S. R. (2018). Do pupils attend the nearest elementary school to their homes? Factors in school choice in the urban environment of Liberec, Czechia. Acta Universitatis Carolinae Geographica, 53(1), 70–82. WELSH, R. O. (2017). School hopscotch: A comprehensive review of K–12 student mobility in the United States. Review of Educational Research, 87(3), 475–511.
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