Changes in educational ambitions during lower secondary school among Norwegian youths. Social class, gender, minority status
Group for Youth Research NOVA - Norwegian Social Research Oslo, Norway
Educational ambitions in lower secondary school are important for students' motivation and subsequent choice of academic track and higher education. Early ambitions are formed in a social context structured by social class, gender and minority status moderated or reinforced by individual experiences in school and friendships. This study analyzes changes in educational ambitions from 9th to 10th grade in a sample of 2500 Oslo youth. Are there differences in upward or downward changes in educational ambitions in groups depending on social class, gender and minority status? Do all groups show comparable coherence between ambitions and choice of academic track? The analyses show that majority working-class boys have the lowest educational ambitions in 9th grade, and that many of them even drop the ambitions they once had when they get to 10th grade. Minority background and female gender is related to higher ambitions in all comparisons between groups, but also to varying stability in ambitions. However, choice of academic track is not as strongly correlated to higher education ambitions among minority students. Structural barriers to fulfilling educational ambitions among minority students are discussed.