14 SES 03 A, Urban Schooling for Rural Students
Differences between education in urban and rural environments have long been overlooked in mainstream research on inequalities in educational achievement and attainment. However, there is evidence of differences in achievement, educational transition processes and attainment as a whole between pupils educated in urban settings and pupils educated in more rural settings (Roscigno and Crowley, 2001; Roscigno et al., 2006; Dronkers et al., 1998; de Boer et al., 2006; Aypay, 2003). From a policy point of view, a research focus on cities – comparing them to rural areas – is warranted as most Western-European cities and their education provisions face multiple challenges, in the light of international migration and increasing inner-city poverty. From an educational research point of view, a focus on urban-rural differences means bringing the context in which educational processes take place to the centre of attention. Research relating the geographical setting to educational outcomes is fragmentary and needs elaboration. We know of very little research endeavours linking schooling in urban vs. rural settings to processes of educational choice, in spite of the fact that educational choice is a crucial determinant of educational attainment in most European countries (see e.g. Erikson and Jonsson, 1996). Therefore, we aim to study the relationship between schooling in an urban or rural area and educational choice at the transition from primary to secondary education in Flanders (northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). Research in the US has suggested that pupils in urban settings achieve and attain more than pupils in rural areas (Roscigno and Crowley, 2001). Furthermore, Dutch research showed that pupils in the four largest Dutch cities get higher advices at the transition from primary to secondary education than pupils with a comparable achievement background in more rural areas (Dronkers et al., 1998). The most fundamental explanation for these urban vs. rural differences is that local labour market opportunities differ in urban and rural areas (Roscigno and Crowley, 2001). Investments in human capital would yield less returns in rural areas, as rural labour markets are less human capital oriented. This situation would then lead to lower expectations on behalf of pupils’ parents and teachers, resulting in the end in decreased effort and less ambitious choices (Roscigno and Crowley, 2001). The research questions this study aims to answer are thus: 1) does the geographical setting of a primary school in an urban or rural environment have an independent effect - over and above the effects of individual pupil characteristics – on the educational choice made at the transition from primary to secondary education in Flanders? 2) if so, can this effect be explained by differences in the labour market opportunities in urban and rural areas in Flanders?
Aypay, A. (2003), The tough choice at high school door: an investigation of the factors that lead students to genera lor vocational schools, International Journal of Educational Development, 23, 517-527. de Boer, H., van der Werf, M.P.C., Bosker, R.J. & Jansen, G.H. (2006), Onderadvisering in de provincie Friesland, Pedagogische Studiën, 83, 452-468. Dronkers, J., van Erp, M., Robijns, M. & Roeleveld, J. (1998), Krijgen leerlingen in de grote steden en met name in Amsterdam te hoge adviezen? De relaties tussen taal- en rekenscores en advies binnen en buiten de Randstad onderzocht, Tijdschrift voor Onderwijsresearch, 23, 17-30. Erikson, R. & Jonsson, J.O. (1996), Explaining class inequality in education: the Swedish test case, in Erikson, R. & Jonsson J.O. (Eds.), Can education be equalized: the Swedish case in comparative perspective (pp. 1-63). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Roscigno, V.J. & Crowley M.L. (2001), Rurality, institutional disadvantage, and achievement/attainment, Rural Sociology, 66 (2), 268-292. Roscigno, V.J., Tomaskovic-Devey, D., Crowley, M. (2006), Education and the inequalities of place, Social Forces, 84 (4), 2121-2145.
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