Social class differentials at the transition from lower to upper secondary education in France : School track choices, parental involvement and grade retention

Barg, Katherin

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-346803
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2013
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Jacob, Marita
Date of oral examination: 18 September 2013
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Methoden d. Empirischen Sozialforschung (Juniorprofessur) (Jacob -2010)
Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences- CDSS (Social Sciences)
Subject: 300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Subject headings (SWD): Bildung , soziale Ungleichheit , soziale Klasse , Entscheidungsverhalten , Lehrer
Keywords (English): Educational inequality , educational decision-making , social class , parental involvement , teachers , grade retention decision , France
Abstract: This dissertation addressed the impact of student social class on the decision-making of families and school staff within an 'institutionalized dialogue between family and school', at the transition from lower to upper secondary education in France. The dialogue consists of several steps: Families initially make a school track request; staff meetings then make a school track proposition; the families can reject these propositions and, if they do so, headmasters make a school track decision. To derive hypotheses on families’ and teachers' decision-making within the dialogue, arguments from “cultural approaches” to social inequality in education were integrated in rational action models on educational decision-making. It was advanced that parental involvement in school plays a key role in families' and schools' decision-making. Quantitative analyses with national data on a large cohort of students entering lower secondary education in 1995 revealed strong social class effects on families’ school track requests and schools’ propositions. It was also found that higher-class families are more likely to be involved in school. Analyses of families’ and school staffs’ choices between grade retention and the lower secondary school track showed that higher-class families use grade retention to postpone the ultimate school track decision and the school staff proposes grade retention to families who are likely to reject their proposition.

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