FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE 9th GRADE STUDENTS’ HIGHER EDUCATION ASPIRATIONS IN SWEDEN The role of gender, parental nationality, parental education and academic self-concept

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Abstract: Aim: The purpose of this study is to explore the influence of gender, parental nationality,parental education, and academic self-concept on the HE aspirations of 9th grade students inSweden.Theory: The various factors influencing HE aspirations—the extent to which 9th grade studentsregard future HE learning as a reasonable forecast for themselves—are here considered asindicators of social capital, as value that accrues through one’s social ties and achievements.Hence social capital theory has been used to interpret the results. Shavelson and Gottfredson’stheory of academic self-concept is used to give empirical form to the notion of academic selfconcept.Method: A secondary data analysis was conducted on the 1992 ETF-cohort (EvaluationThrough Follow-Up), which consists of 5678 students who were in 9th grade or else in the lastlevel of the upper stage of compulsory school in Sweden. That means that in 2008, when thelast questionnaire took place, students were approximately 15 years old. Multinomialregression analysis was used in order to rank-order the influence of gender, parentalnationality, parental education and academic self-concept on the students’ higher educationaspirations.Results: Among the factors tested, theoretical self-concept was found to be the mostinfluential predictor of educational aspirations, followed by parental nationality, parentaleducation and gender. Social capital functions in two ways when it comes to aspirations: it iseither a motive to maintain or expand the existing social capital or a way to overcome it andenter wider networks that hold more power.

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