Tuesday, 6 November 2012

So tell me what you want: a comparison of FE college and other post-16 students’ aspirations

an article by Jo-Anne Baird (University of Oxford, UK), Jo Rose (University of Bristol, UK) and Alison McWhirter (Institute of Education, London, UK) published in  Research in Post-Compulsory Education Volume 17 Issue 3 (September 2012)


This study compares the aspirations of students in further education (FE) colleges and non-FE post-compulsory settings.

Within the context of a survey about their education, 928 students across 26 institutions were asked what their ‘hopes, goals and plans’ were, with space for five open responses.

Coding of responses was based upon self-determination theory. Career aspirations were most frequently mentioned, followed by educational aspirations (approximately one quarter of responses for each).

Students from FE settings mentioned career aspirations more frequently and educational aspirations less frequently than students in non-FE settings.

Aspirations such as personal happiness and life satisfaction were also mentioned by students.

The need for FE colleges to support students in developing high aspirations was highlighted. Furthermore, a wider framework of student aspiration for use in both research and educational practice is needed.

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