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EDUCHANGE - UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND

About EDUCHANGE

Background

Education is a key determinant for individuals’ life chances in developed societies. Individuals with higher levels of education have more success in the labor market, are happier, healthier, and participate more in political life.

At the same time, across all industrial societies, offspring from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to choose higher levels of education even if they perform at the level of their more privileged peers in school.Numerous studies have shown that one of the explanations for why students from different social backgrounds choose different educational pathways is that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds tend to have biased perceptions of the costs and benefits associated with higher levels of education. 

Aim

EDUCHANGE seeks to become one of the first ever projects to conduct simultaneous field experiments in multiple, strategically selected countries (Denmark, Germany; Hungary, Iceland) with the goal to reduce inequality at the educational transition from compulsory to secondary education and at the transition to higher education.  

Upon successful completion EDUCHANGE will not only critically advance inequality research in education and inform policy in the EDUCHANGE countries and beyond– it will also make a significant contribution to the ongoing debate regarding the role of evidence in education and the transferability of findings from randomized experiments across spatial and temporal contexts. 

 

The Research

The research is aimed at students at compulsory schools, right before they transition to secondary education, and at upper secondary school students who are close to graduation.  

The core of the research builds on an intervention design where randomly chosen groups of students sit through information sessions and guidance sessions while others are part of the control group. At different time points, before and after the intervention, students, parents, and guidance professionals answer questionnaire surveys. 

Key outcomes will include

(a) A more nuanced conceptual understanding of how career guidance and information provision can help to reduce inequalities. 

(b) A comparative study of students’ subjective evaluation of costs, returns and probabilities of success and psychological barriers they attach to different educational alternatives comparative perspective.  

(c) Knowledge about to what degree institutional context has an impact on whether information provision – and career guidance can reduce inequality at two key educational transitions – and potentially affect persistence at the next level.