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STUDY ON THE TRANSITION TO HIGHER EDUCATION

WHY EDUCHANGE?

Whether a person goes to university depends heavily on their family background: if their parents have already completed a degree, 79 out of 100 young people go to university. However, if the parents have not studied, only 27 out of 100 young people go to university. There are many reasons for this: young people often lack information about study requirements, funding opportunities or the range of courses on offer, they are not aware of their strengths or do not know where to start when planning a course of study.

Against this background, EDUCHANGE is investigating ways of reducing social inequality in the transition from upper secondary level to higher education. The research interest lies in the effect of information events, studies and career guidance on educational decisions. In this way, EDUCHANGE will not only significantly advance inequality research in the field of education, but also inform policy on appropriate measures to reduce educational inequality.

The success of EDUCHANGE depends not only on the schools taking part in the study, but above all on the pupils with the consent of their parents and guardians. For this reason, we cordially invite you to participate and provide information on the content and procedure of the study below.

WHAT IS EDUCHANGE?

EDUCHANGE is a large research project funded by the EU and the European Research Council (ERC) to reduce social inequality in education and is being carried out simultaneously in four different countries (Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iceland). The basis of this research project is an experiment that implements a so-called intervention design. Specifically, we have developed an information event on occupations and career prospects for different educational choices. This is the intervention.

In order to be able to make statements about the effect of an intervention, experiments consist of a randomly selected experimental group that takes part in the intervention and a randomly selected control group that does not take part in the intervention. In this way, it can be determined whether the intervention has an effect or not. EDUCHANGE is interested, for example, in the role that information about vocational training and study options plays in educational decisions following upper secondary level.

The international comparison of the experiment will show to what extent the institutional context has an influence on whether the provision of information and career guidance can help to reduce social inequalities in educational decisions.

HOW DOES THE STUDY WORK?

The EDUCHANGE research project will be carried out in the fall and winter of 2024/25 in upper secondary schools throughout Denmark, Germany, Hungary, and Iceland.

The information event is held by trained study and careers counselors in the final school year. The duration of the information event is one school lesson, i.e. 45 minutes. This event offers a comprehensive overview of the various educational pathways available to graduates. It covers a range of topics, including professions and career prospects, costs, scholarships, and entry requirements for university. In videos, university students will talk about how they overcame challenges during their studies. In addition, our careers counselors are available to answer students’ questions.

Following the information event, selected pupils whose parents have no higher education will be offered additional individual counseling.

The information event is accompanied by three online surveys. In the first survey, approximately three weeks before the information event, some basic information is collected and the students’ plans for their professional future are asked. This first survey takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The second survey will take place shortly after the information event or after the individual counseling session; it will take about 10 minutes. The third survey will only take place after the students have already left school.

WHAT DOES OUR SCHOOL HAVE TO CONTRIBUTE?

We aim to keep the effort for the schools to a minimum. However, we rely on the schools’ support in organizing the information event. The main contribution of the schools is the 45 minutes for the information event, which ideally takes place during school hours. Should a school require it, we are also willing to conduct the survey outside of school hours.

The survey questions are not sensitive in nature. However, should students feel uncomfortable or have questions after answering the questions, they should be able to contact a specific member of staff at their school at any time.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO THE SCHOOLS OF PARTICIPATING IN THE STUDY?

Students in the experimental group will receive high-quality advice about career prospects from us. We are confident that all students who participate in the intervention part of the study and the associated counseling services will benefit significantly. Furthermore, all participating schools will receive a school-specific evaluation on request, in which key results of the survey for the respective school will be presented in comparison to all participating schools. Upon completion of the study, the project team will organize a cross-school online workshop to present key project results that could be of interest to current counseling processes in schools.

ANONYMITY AND VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION

All information collected as part of the study is completely anonymized so that no conclusions can be drawn about individual pupils or schools.

Participation is of course voluntary. All students can withdraw at any time without giving reasons, e.g. by informing their teachers or our careers advisor, or by not answering all or individual questions in the surveys. In addition, both students and their parents or guardians can end their participation in the research project by sending a message to the following e-mail address:

till.jacobi@uni-potsdam.de

DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS

All data collected is confidential and will be collected, processed and stored in accordance with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR 2016/679). The research project is funded by the European Research Council and has been reviewed by the Research Ethics Committee for Public Higher Education Institutions. If you have any questions regarding the protection of personal data, please feel free to contact the data protection officer of the University of Potsdam, Dr. Marek Kneis, at any time:

marek.kneis@uni-potsdam.de

WHO CAN I CONTACT IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

For more detailed information on specific countries, please refer to the country-specific subsites, which can be accessed via the country flags located in the upper right corner of this site.

Scientific management for Denmark and Iceland:

Prof. Dr. David Reimer
University of Iceland
E-Mail: reimer@hi.is
Web: https://english.hi.is/staff/reimer

Scientific management for Germany:

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kohler
University of Potsdam
E-Mail: ulrich.kohler@uni-potsdam.de
Web: https://www.uni-potsdam.de/de/soziologie-methoden/index

Scientific management for Hungary:

Tamás Keller, PhD     
CERS – Hungarian Research Network, Institute of Economics         
E-Mail:keller.tamas@krtk.hu
Web: https://kti.krtk.hu/kutatok/keller-tamas/