Child welfare clients first step away from higher education. The influence of school performances, educational aspirations and background factors on choosing the vocational track after compulsory school
Journal article, Peer reviewed
This is an author's accepted manuscript of an article published in dæhlen, m. (2013). child welfare clients’ first step away from higher education. the influence of school performances, educational aspirations and background factors on choosing the vocational track after compulsory school. nordic social work research, (ahead-of-print), 1-15. [copyright taylor & francis],
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Original versionDæhlen, M. (2013). Child welfare clients’ first step away from higher education. The influence of school performances, educational aspirations and background factors on choosing the vocational track after compulsory school. Nordic Social Work Research, (ahead-of-print), 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2156857X.2013.779933
This article addresses the concern that the educational attainment of child welfare clients (CWCs) is generally poor. Dra wing upon previous research showing that former CWCs lack higher education, this study argues that it is necessary to examine the first educational transition that directs students away from higher education. In Norway, this first transition point occurs i n the transition from lower secondary school to the vocational track in upper secondary school. This educational transition is studied by means of analysis of longitudinal survey data on youths in Oslo. The sample consists of 1 500 teenagers in Grade 10 in lower secondary school and in the second year of upper secondary school, of whom about five per cent had had contact with child welfare services. The results show that CWCs ’ high enrolment on the vocational track – and consequently away from higher educat ion – cannot be understood only from the characteristics that previous research has reported as general explanations for the differences in educational transitions. Even though the results show that school performances, educational aspirations and backgrou nd factors like parental education and sex had an impact on the probability of vocational secondary education, the probability of CWCs choosing the vocational track was still higher than with their peers. Consequently, to increase the transitions of CWCs t o the academic track in upper secondary school, and thereby hopefully to higher education, specific measures for the CWCs are required. If professionals should advice CWCs against the vocational track, is also discussed.