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Lower-track students’ sense of academic futility: Selection or effect?

  • Van Houtte, Mieke
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Given the importance of students’ judgement of the future rewarding character of studying for their willingness to deliver effort at school, we propose the concept of sense of academic futility to understand track differences in achievement. As research is inconclusive in this matter, this study examines whether negative attitudes such as sense of futility follow from track enrolment. Based on new and unique Flemish data of 4500 first grade secondary school students clustered in 119 tracks in 57 schools, gathered in 2012 and 2014, this study shows by means of multilevel analysis (HLM7) that students’ higher sense of academic futility in technical and vocational tracks versus academic tracks exists irrespective of background features and prior feelings of futility. Furthermore, it suggests a higher increment in sense of futility in vocational tracks compared with academic tracks, establishing the usefulness of this concept for tracking research.

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