Pathways through secondary school in a comprehensive system: Does parental education and school attended affect students' choice?


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    As the Australian labour market restructured during the 1980s and 1990s, Year 12 retention rates more than doubled between 1983 and 1993 secondary schools diversified to include vocational education and training programs as alternative pathways through school. From a human capital perspective, the completion of vocational qualifications in school may represent strategic investments that enhance labour market outcomes. Using data provided by the Education and Training Directorate of the Australian Capital Territory, this paper examines the links between parents' education and pathway through school. The results indicate that stratification within the comprehensive school system sorts students into different pathways according to parental education. After controlling for academic achievement in Year 9, students with lower-educated parents were more likely than those with university-educated parents to undertake a vocational education pathway. Furthermore, level of disadvantage of the school attended in Year 9 exacerbated rather than alleviated the effect of parental education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-245
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Training Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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