How Marks and Education Policies Shape Students' Ambitions
While enrolment in tertiary education has increased dramatically over the past decades,
many university-aged students do not enrol, nor do they expect to earn a university
degree. While it is important to promote high expectations for further education,
it is equally important to ensure that students’ expectations are well-aligned with
their actual abilities. Grade Expectations: How Marks and Education Policies Shape
Students' Ambitions reveals some of the factors that influence students’ thinking
about further education. The report also suggests what teachers and education policy
makers can do to ensure that more students have the skills, as well as the motivation,
to succeed in higher education.
In 2009, students in 21 PISA-participating countries and economies were asked about
their expected educational attainment. An analysis of PISA data finds that students
who expect to earn a university degree show significantly better performance in math
and reading when compared to students who do not expect to earn such a university
degree. However, performance is only one of the factors that determine expectations.
On average across most countries and economies, girls and socio-economically advantaged
students tend to hold more ambitious expectations than boys and disadvantaged students
who perform just as well; and students with higher school marks are more likely to
expect to earn a university degree – regardless of what those marks really measure.
Published on December 18, 2012
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