05 SES 05, School Success, Engagement and Dropout
Parallel Paper Session
In Europe and Spain, encouraging continuity and success at school is an important social and educational challenge and achieving higher numbers of students at post-compulsory secondary education has become a political demand. The figures released by the OECD (2011) confirm that: (a) in Spain, the indexes of students leaving school early are very high; (b) boys leave school more frequently than girls; (c) not having an upper secondary qualification is a main problem for jobseekers.
We have carried out research focused on success at school, investigating the educational factors that work in pro of students continuing in upper secondary (post-compulsory) education. In this paper, we will examine the attitudes to school of post-compulsory education students who are considered to have been successful at school. By extending a widespread idea that associates success at school with high marks (Francis, Skelton & Read 2009; Gómez 2001), we have considered the idea that associates said success with continuity in post-compulsory studies (Abajo & Carrasco 2004; FSG 2006), often after overcoming earlier difficulties. Thus, we take as successful students those who express interest in their studies, have good marks and/or have overcome personal and/or social obstacles during their earlier years at school.
What are these students' attitudes to school and what do they know about it? Are there any differences between boy and girl students regarding school rules and discipline? What are their preferences in learning styles and schoolwork? Are there any differences in the ideas they have of themselves and their commitment to schoolwork? These are the questions we address in this paper and the questions that need to be answered if we want to take actions in education that foster continuity and success at school.
In Europe, importance is placed on the research work carried out by Francis, Skelton & Read (2009), Lumby (2010), Skelton (2010). In Spain, such work is beginning (Hernández & Tort 2009; Rambla, Rovira &Tomé 2004), especially with gypsy boys and girls (Abajo & Carrasco 2004; FSG 2006), together with a few studies on the feminisation of academic success (Gómez 2001).
Various explanations have been given to understand why boys and girls want to continue their studies and, above all, an emphasis has been placed on understanding why girls get better results at school and continue in post-compulsory studies more than boys. Different research projects point to the different attitudes of boys and girls to school, schoolwork and learning (Francis 2000; Warrington, Younger & Williams 2000). These analyses reveal the weight of subjectivity and the role played by the construction of masculinity and femininity, especially in teenagers. In this field, a significant amount of research work has been done on the link between the construction of masculinity and femininity and the schoolwork experience (Rodríguez, 2007, Sukhnandan & Kelleher 2000; Jackson 1998; Gómez 2001; García, Padilla & Ortega, 2009; Ringrose 2007; Pomerantz & Raby 2011).
Abajo, J.Eugenio & Carrasco, Silvia (2004) Experiencias y trayectorias de éxito escolar de gitanas y gitanos en España. Madrid, Cide/Instituto de la Mujer. Eurydice (2010) Gender differences in educational outcomes. Bruselas, European Commision. Francis, Becky (2000). Boys, girls and achievement: addressing the classroom issues. London. Routledge Francis, Becky, Skelton, Christine & Read, Barbara (2009) The simultaneous production of educational achievement and popularity: how do some pupils accomplish it?. British Educational Research Journal, 1-24. Lumby (2010) Jackson, David (1998). Breaking out of the binary trap: Boys’ underachievement, schooling and gender relations. En Epstein, Debbie, Ellwood, Jannette, Hey, Valerie, & Maw, Janet (eds.) Failing boys? Issues in gender and achievement. Buckingham. Open University Press, pp. 310-333. Lumby, Jack (2010) Enjoyment and learning: policy and secondary school learners’ experience in England. British Educational Research Journal, 37, 2, 247-264. Machin, S. & McNally, S. (2006) Gender and Student Achievemente in English Schools. London, CEE. OECD (2011) Education at a glance 2011: OECD indicators. OECD publishing. OECD (2009) Equally prepared for life? How 15-year-old boys and girls perform in school. Paris, PISA-OCDE. Perrenoud, Phillippe (1990) La construcción del éxito y del fracaso escolar. Madrid, Morata. Rodriguez Menéndez, Carmen (2007) Identidad masculina y contexto escolar: notas para un debate. Revista de Educación, 342, 397-418. Skelton, Christine (2010) Gender and achievement: are girls the “success stories” of restructured education systems?. Educational Review, 62, 2, 131-142. Sukhnandan, L. & Kelleher, S. (2000) An Investigation into Gender Differences in Achievement. Phase 2: School an classroom strategies. Slough: NFER Warrington, Molly, Younger, Mike & Williams, J. (2000) Students attitudes, image and the gender gap. British Educational Research Journal, 26, 3, 393-407.
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