Having a desk to work at, having good grades, high expectations from parents and being happy at school. These are key factors in encouraging the young to go on to a university.
Researchers in Croatia found these factors were more important than the class size, school, or average grades.
And they say that this suggests schemes to raise aspirations to be targeted rather than school level.
The study covered about 1,000 students.
Researchers from the Institute for Social Research, in Zagreb, asked 1,050 pupils aged 13, 14 and 15 at 23 schools in the city:
- whether they would like to continue to higher education
- about their parents’ aspirations for them
- what level of academic support they received from each of their parents
- whether they had their own room, computer, and desk
- whether they enjoyed school
They found none of the school-level factors had any influence on the students’ desire to continue on a higher level of education. But several factors related to the parents and life in their home did.
Also, gender was a factor in this. Girls were more likely to want to go to a university than boys. However, high academic grades were mostly the biggest factor and also enjoying time at school.
The reporter says:
The major finding arising from the present study is that none of the school level variables used in our analysis contributes to the explanation of pupils’ aspirations for higher education.
An important finding arising from the present study is that parents can influence their child’s aspirations by expressing their expectations regarding the child’s educational path and by providing the basic conditions for completing homework and learning (ie a desk to work on).