Case studies:
young people and early school leaving

casos

young peoples’ motivations identities educational strategies school decisions teachers school experience

The case studies developed within the ABJOVES project are addressed to explore the mail aim of the project: analyzing the educational decisions, motivations and strategies of young people that have recently dropped out school or the ones who are about to do it. Thereby, the core objective of the case studies is to: analyse in-depth the strategies and choices of young people at risk of dropping out, trying to answer the following research questions: How do different structural factors intervene (labour opportunities, economic inequalities, social mobility, etc.) in the configuration of the educational choices, motivations and strategies of young people? What is activated, what is appealed to, in the decision of young people to continue or drop out school? How do the class, gender and ethnic identities are articulated in the configuration of the educational imaginaries of young people? How do the different individual, familiar and school factors interact in the daily school experience of the boys and girls that have already left the studies or are at risk of doing it?

In this sense, one of the central objectives of the case studies is to study the role of educational programs, schools and teachers play on the educational decisions, motivations and strategies of young people. In this frame, the ABJOVES project aims to answer some of the next questions: in which way the programs against ESL are implemented and interpreted in different contexts? What effects do they have on the educational decisions and opportunities of the youngsters? What role do the teachers play in the decisions of formative continuity of the pupils? Etc.

Case studies have been developed in 6 Autonomous Communities (regional governments) in Spain, namely Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Valencian Community, Basque Country, Andalusia and Asturias. All of them are based on the same analytical framework and on the same research questions, although each autonomous community has adapted their focus to the particularities of each region. As a rule, all the sampled interviewees are beneficiaries of a programme addressed to tackle early school leaving. Some of these programmes adapt the curriculum to the specific needs of low-performing students. Others attempt to stimulate them by means of initial vocational education and training (VET) programmes. Finally, in Andalusia an innovative scheme provides scholarships for further education which are conditioned to the students’ performance.

Andalucía

Valencia

The following paragraphs outline the particularities of each case study.

 In Catalonia the Èxit 2 Adapted Curriculum Programme, run by the Barcelona Educational Authority (Consorci d’Educació de Barcelona)― has been evaluated in secondary schools located in the city. The sample included different secondary schools according to the social origin of the intake as well as the pedagogic approach to at- risk- of- early- school- leaving students. The research has observed the influence of the institutional ‘habitus’ and the students’ engagement on their experiences, pathways, motivation, aspirations and uneven expectations. About fifty youth, many families and a wide array of teachers have been interviewed, staff evaluation meetings have been observed, and some focus groups have been carried out with teachers and students.

The implementation of adapted curriculum programmes has been evaluated in other four secondary schools sampled according to their intake and their pedagogic approach in the Balearic Islands. This study aims at finding out whether the different school appropriations and recontextualization processes of the programmes are associated with different kind of impacts. Twenty-four key agents have been interviewed including teachers, counsellors, tutors and both beneficiary and non-beneficiary students. The main findings point at positive outcomes depending mainly on the pedagogic approach.

The Basque case study explores the complementary schooling programme (PEC). This programme is tailored to the needs of those students who previously were not successful in curriculum adaptation and initial VET programmes. Complementary schooling takes into account the causes, motivation and experiences that explain this process in order to look for more effective interventions. Students and professionals have been interviewed and invited to participate in focus groups.

The Beca 6000 Scholarship has been analysed in Andalusia. It was implemented in the 2009-2010 school year so as to curb early school leaving. Beca 6000 targets a scholarship to the low-income youth who undertake further secondary academic and vocational education. The scholarship is conditioned to passing the corresponding grades. The analysis discusses the effects of the programme, the eligibility of the beneficiaries, and the monitoring system, so as to adumbrate the impacts and shortcomings of Beca 6000 for its target group. This analysis has taken into account both pieces of legislation and interviews with the technical staff of the programme.

The case study carried out in Valencia looks at the initial VET programmes (PCPI), particularly in a ‘singular- action school’ located in a ‘preferential- action neighbourhood’. The analysis mostly looks at the impact of pedagogic practices on students’ expectations, aspirations and decisions. In order to meet this goal, the team has designed a quasi-ethnographic research interviewing both educational professionals and youth.

The ABJOVES case study carried out in Asturias has looked at a second- chance school. This piece hypothesises that the context of educational institutions impinges on the processes leading to either leaving or continuing educational pathways. In this vein, the analysis contrasts the mainstream rigid context of schooling with the open context, the flexible organisation and the pro-active procedures of second- chance schools. It concludes that this alternative approach is likely to cause a positive impact on educational processes through a more individualised work. Interviews and focus groups have been conducted with the staff and the students.

In May, 12th and 13th 2016 The final results of all the studies will presented in the ABJOVES international Conference “Educational success, educational failure and Early School Leaving: political, institutional and subjective factors”.

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