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Paths on life’s way : destinations, determinants, and decisions in the transition from high school Andres, Lesley 1992

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PATHS ON LIFE’S WAY: DESTINATIONS, DETERMINANTS, AND DECISIONS IN THE TRANSITION FROM HIGH SCHOOL by LESLEY ANDRES BELLAMY B.Sc.N. Lakehead University, 1976 B.Ed. Lakehead University, 1984 M.Ed. Lakehead University, 1985  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Administrative, Adult, and Higher Education  We accept this thesis as conforming required standard  THE UNIVERSI  OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March 1992  © Lesley Andres Bellamy, 1992  In presenting this thesis  in  partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced  degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  It  is  understood  that  copying  or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  /  —  —  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date  DE-6 (2/88)  /  1/  ,  /  tt  /  1  114  /j  ABSTRACT  This study investigated how and why individuals chose various post-high school  destinations.  Theoretical frameworks based  on Härnqvists  (1978)  conceptualization of the determinants of educational choice, rational choice theory as depicted by Elster (1986, 1989a, 1989b), and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice (1977c, 1979, 1986, 1990b) were used to examine 1) the complex of individual and institutional influences of educational choice, 2) the processes underlying the decisions people made in choosing whether or not to pursue a post-secondary education, and 3) how students in the midst of the transition from high school to various post-high school destinations perceived these processes. Central to these analyses are the concepts of cultural capital, primary and secondary social capital, beliefs about and dispositions toward post-secondary education, academic capital, and enabling capital in relation to post-high school status. This research, conducted in British Columbia, has undertaken two kinds of examination: 1) the exploration of choices made by a large sample of recent high school graduates (n5345), as reported on a survey questionnaire and enriched by corresponding Ministry of Education linked data and 2) two sets of intensive, focused interviews conducted with a sample of Grade 12 students (n51) who were in the process of making choices about post-high school destinations. Three different types of analyses were conducted to explore the choice process. First, discrirninant function analyses were carried out to determine which individual and institutional determinants of educational choice, as depicted by Härnqvist, best predicted post-high school group membership (non-participant, non-university participant, university participant). Second, structural equation modelling using LISREL VI was employed to unravel the processes, as depicted in a model of Post-high School Status, that led to differential group membership. 11  111  Finally, interviews with Grade 12 students were carried out to explore students perceptions of these processes. In the first discrirninant analysis, non-participants and participants in postsecondary education comprised the dichotomous grouping variable. Employing the variables included in Härnqvists framework, 74% of the non-participants and 79% of the participants could be correctly classified into their respective groups. The most powerful predictor was curricular differentiation, followed by level of education expected, total number of awards received, and primary social capital (parental influence variables). In a second discriminant analysis with nonuniversity and university participants as the grouping variable, and based on the same set of predictors, the type of post-secondary institution attended was correctly predicted for 81% of university participants and 75% of non-university participants. High school grade point average most strongly predicted group membership, followed by curricular differentiation and level of education expected. Primary social capital (parental influence variables) or secondary social capital (influence of school personnel and peers) were not useful predictors in this analysis. In a three group discriminant analysis (non-participant, non-university participant, and university participant), the first function distinguished among these three groups on academic capital variables, disposition variables, and parents as sources of cultural capital, and the second discriminant function distinguished among the groups on primary and secondary social capital variables and number of academic awards received. Based on Härnqvist’s schema, 81% of university participants, 50% of non-university participants, and 67% of non-participants were correctly classified. Analyses by gender were also reported for each discriminant analysis. In the second type of analysis, a theoretical model of Post-high School Status was tested using LISREL VI. Strong positive relationships were demonstrated to exist between academic capital and post-high school status, and between  iv dispositions toward post-secondary education and academic capital, for both males and females. The effect of parents as sources of cultural capital on dispositions toward post-secondary education was moderate, for both males and females. The total effects of parental transmission of cultural and social capital on post-high school destinations was significant. In these analyses, 58% of the variance in posthigh school destination for the male sample and 54% of the variance for the female sample was explained. In the third analysis, the processes of educational choice were further explored through interviews with Grade 12 students. Of particular theoretical interest were differences in students’ long term dispositions toward post-secondary education, beliefs about post-secondary education, and how parents as sources of primary social capital enabled their children to pursue higher education. It was concluded that the treatment of two disparate strands of thinking (rational choice theory and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice) as complementary rather than competing provide a coherent account of how students made choices about post-high school destinations. The theoretical frameworks developed for this study hold potential as a first step in revitalizing the investigation of equality of educational opportunity. Implications for further research, theory development, and policy directions are offered.  Table of Contents Chapter  Page  Abstract Table of Contents List of Tables List of Figures Acknowledgements Dedication  ii v xi xv xvii xviii  INTRODUCTION Research Problem Purpose Significance of the Study Overview of the Dissertation 2.  1 3 4 6 9  POST-HIGH SCHOOL DESTINATIONS AND THE DECISION MAKING CONTEXT The Canadian Educational System The Transition Points Junctures During Secondary School Decisions Regarding Post- high School Destination The Canadian Post-secondary System Why Go On? The Choice of A Post-secondary Education The Market Effects of Education The Non-Market Effects of Education Broad Effects of Higher Education Transition from high school to work Changing Labour Market Requirements Education and Credentialism Post-secondary Education and Equality of Opportunity Non-participants in Post-secondary Education Participants and Institutions The Pluralistic Nature of Canadian Post-secondary Education Reality or Myth? Transfer from College to University Summary  39 42 46  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES Factors Affecting Participation Social Stratification Perspective Status Attainment Research  47 47 48 50  -  3.  V  11 12 12 13 14 15 17 18 21 22 23 28 31 34 35 38  vi Page  Chapter Determinants of Educational Choice Individual determinants of educational choice Institutional determinants of educational choice Post-high School Destination and Educational Choice Individuals as Rational Actors Practical Rationality Technical Rationality Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice Cultural Capital Social Capital Obligations and Expectations Information Channels Norms and Effective Sanctions Habitus Field A Theory of Practice and Post-high School Destination Self-elimination Overselection Relegation Reproduction and Agency Destinations, Determinants, and Decisions Summary  .  4.  5.  56 58 58 62 66 69 69 75 75 78 79 79 80 81 85 87 88 89 90 93 94 95  RESEARCH QUESTIONS, CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS, AND HYPOTHESES Question 1 Question 2 Hypotheses Hypothesis One Hypothesis Two Hypothesis Three Hypothesis Four Hypothesis Five Hypothesis Six Question 3  96 97 99 106 106 106 106 106 107 107 107  RESEARCH DESIGN Link File Data Base Grade 12 Graduate Follow-Up Survey Data The Sample Sampling Strategy Post-secondary status Geographic region Eligibility for university admission  109 109 110 111 112 112 113 113  vii Page  Chapter Sample Selection Questionnaire Development and Data Collection Response Rate Representativeness of the Sample Overall Return Rate Frame Population and Survey Respondents Respondents versus Non-respondents Preparation of the Data Set  .  Summary Interviews with Grade 12 Students The Sample Selection of Schools Metropolitan School (MSS) Remote Secondary School (RSS) Urban/Rural Secondary School (URSS) Student Selection MSS RSS URSS Interview Procedure Representativeness of the Interview Sample Preparation of the Interview Data Reliability and Validity of the Interview Data Summary Delimitations and Limitations Delimitations Limitations 6.  OBSERVED MEASURES, LATENT CONSTRUCTS, AND THEORETICAL MEANING Individual Determinants of Educational Choice Characteristics of the Individual Sex Educational Achievement Curricular Differentiation Interests and Expectations Beliefs Characteristics of the Personal Environment Family Background School Environment Institutional Determinants of Educational Choice Conditions Antecedent to the Choice Situation Guidance Organization Influence of Teachers and Counsellors  115 116 117 118 119 120 123 129 129 131 132 132 132 133 133 134 134 134 134 135 137 138 138 139 140 140 140  142 144 145 145 146 147 149 150 152 153 156 157 157 157 158  viii Page  Chapter Conditions Anticipated in the Choice Situation Geographic Availability Study Finance Dependent Variables Participant status Post-secondary Institution Status Post-secondary Status Summary  7.  POST-HIGH SCHOOL DESTINATIONS AND OPPORTUNITY SETS Participation or Non-participation in Post-secondary Education Evaluation of Assumptions Missing data Unequal Sample Sizes Multivariate Normality Homogeneity of Variance-Covariance Matrices Direct Analysis Interpretation Classification Cross-validation Stepwise Discriminant Function Analysis Gender Differences Summary University or Non-university Participation Direct Analysis Classification Cross-validation Stepwise Discrirninant Function Analysis Gender Differences Summary Non-participation, Non-university Participation, or University Participation Direct Analysis Classification Cross-validation Stepwise Discrirninant Function Analysis Gender Differences Summary Destinations and Opportunity Sets A Summary -  160 161 161 162 162 163 163 164  165 166 167 167 167 168 169 170 170 178 180 181 185 189 190 191 196 197 197 202 205 206 207 214 216 216 220 225 226  ix Page  Chapter 8.  A MODEL OF POST-HIGH SCHOOL STATUS The LISREL Model of Post-high School Status Tests of Model Fit Male Sample Female Sample Adequacy of the Measurement Model Analysis of the Structural Model Beliefs about Post-secondary Education Academic Capital Sources of Secondary Social Capital Dispositions Enabling Capital Post-high School Status Direct, Indirect, and Total Effects Female Sample Male Sample Discussion  9.  GRADE 12 STUDENTS AND THEIR PERCEPTIONS OF THE TRANSITION PROCESS Destinations Dispositions Toward Post-secondary Education Academic Capital Beliefs about Post-secondary Education Primary and Secondary Sources of Social Capital Enabling and Constraining Forces and Post-high School Destinations Rational Choice and Post-high School Destinations Discussion Summary  297 307 311 313  CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION Central Findings of the Study Hypothesis One Hypothesis Two Hypothesis Three Hypothesis Four Hypothesis Five Hypothesis Six Significance of the Research Implications for Future Research Implications for Theory Implications for Policy Development  314 315 318 318 319 319 319 320 327 329 332 334  10.  .  227 228 234 235 238 241 242 242 245 246 246 247 247 248 249 252 253  258 260 265 274 278 289  x Page  Chapter REFERENCE LIST  .  340  APPENDICES A. Survey Questionnaire  363  B. Rates of Response and Non-Response  371  C. Interview Data Collection  390  D. Comparison of Males and Females. Means and Standard Deviations  400  E. Summary of LISREL Parameter Estimates  402  List of Tables Page  Table 1.  Distribution of Individuals by Average Income, Education and Sex, Canada and British Columbia, 1988  20  2.  Unemployment Rates of Population 15 Years and Over by Education and Sex, Canada and British Columbia, Annual Average 1989  24  Groups Identified as Under-represented in Canadian Post-secondary Education  37  4.  Forms of Exclusion in Relation to Capital and Habitus  91  5.  Frame Population of the 1988 Grade 12 Graduates  114  6.  Sample Size and Sampling Fractions by Stratum  116  7.  The Survey Respondents (Response Rate)  118  8.  Frame Population (A), Sampling Fractions (B), Response Rate (C), Survey Respondents (D), Percent Difference between Frame and Survey Respondents (E)  121  Respondents and Non-respondents Significant Differences by Geographic Region and Eligibility for University Admission  125  Comparison of Mean Values Respondents and Non-respondents by Geographic Region and Eligibility for University Admission. Participants  127  Comparison of Mean Values Respondents and Non-respondents by Geographic Region and Eligibility for University Admission. Non-participants  128  12.  Interviewees by Sex and Geographic Region  136  13.  Interviewees by Sex and Post-high School Destination  137  14.  Determinants of Educational Choice and their Sources  143  3.  9.  10.  11.  -  -  -  xi  xii Page  Table 15.  Means and Standard Deviations. Non-participants and Participants  171  Discriminant Function Analysis Summary Table. Non-participants and Participants  172  Pooled Within-Groups Correlations between Discriminating Variables and the Canonical Discriminant Functions. Non-participants and Participants  175  18.  Classification Matrix. Non-participants and Participants  179  19.  Stepwise Discriminant Function Analysis. Non-participants and Participants  182  Stepwise Analysis Classification Matrix. Non-participants and Participants  183  Discriminant Function Analysis Summary Table. Non-participants and Participants Females and Males  187  Pooled Within-Groups Correlations between Discriminating Variables and the Canonical Discriminant Functions. Non-participants and Participants. Females and Males  188  Classification Matrix. Non-participants and Participants. Females and Males  189  Means and Standard Deviations. Non-university and University Participants  192  Discriminant Function Analysis Summary Table. Non-university and University Participants  193  Pooled Within-Groups Correlations between Discriminating Variables and the Canonical Discriminant Functions. Non-university and University Participants  194  27.  Classification Matrix. Non-university and University Participants  196  28.  Stepwise Discriminant Function Analysis. Non-university and University Participants  199  16.  17.  20.  21.  -  22.  23. 24.  25.  26.  xli’  Table  29.  30.  31.  32.  33.  34.  35.  36.  37.  38.  39.  40.  Page  Stepwise Analysis Classification Matrix. Non-university and University Participants  200  Discrirninant Function Analysis Summary Table. Non-university and University Participants. Females and Males  203  Pooled Within-Groups Correlations between Discriminating Variables and the Canonical Discrirninant Functions. Non-university and University Participants. Females and Males  204  Classification Matrix. Non-university and University Participants. Females and Males  205  Means and Standard Deviations. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants  208  Discriminant Function Analysis Summary Table. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants  209  Canonical Discriminant Functions Evaluated at Group Means (Centroids)  210  Pooled Within-Groups Correlations between Discriminating Variables and the Canonical Discriminant Functions. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants  212  Classification Matrix. Non-participants, Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants  215  Stepwise Discrirninant Function Analysis. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants  217  Stepwise Classification Matrix. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants  218  Discriminant Function Analysis Summary Table. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants. Females and Males  221  xiv Page  Table 41.  42.  43.  Pooled Within-Groups Correlations between Discriminating Variables and the Canonical Discriminant Functions. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants. Females and Males  222  Classification Matrix. Non-participants, Non-university Participants, and University Participants. Females and Males  224  Means, Standard Deviations, Product Moment Correlations, and Factor Loadings of the Indicator Variables Males and Females  233  Stages in the Modification of the LISREL Model of Post-high School Status Males  236  Stages in the Modification of the LISREL Model of Post-high School Status Females  239  Path Coefficients in a Model of Post-high School Status. Males and Females  244  Direct, Indirect, and Total Effects of Antecedent Variables on Post-high School Status. (Standardized Coefficients)  249  Post-high School Destination by GPA, Curricular Differentiation, and Geographic Location  275  -  44.  -  45.  -  46.  47.  48.  List of Figures Figure  Page  1.  Post-high School Destinations  2.  Decisions during high school  13  3.  Unemployment Rates of Population 15-24 Years and Over, by Education, Canada Annual Averages 1980-1989  25  Unemployment Rates of Population 25-44 Years and Over, by Education, Canada Annual Averages 1980-1989  25  5.  Härnqvist’s Determinants of Educational Choice  57  6.  Adaptation of Elsters Schema of Rational Choice  70  7.  Determinants of Educational Choice  98  8.  Rational Choice Theory and Post-high School Status  99  9.  Cultural Capital and Post-high School Status  101  10.  Social Capital and Post-high School Status  103  11.  A Model of Post-high School Status  105  12.  Populations and Samples Relevant to the Grade 12 Graduate Follow-up Survey  130  13.  Data Sources  141  14.  Academic Capital  148  15.  Dispositions toward Post-secondary Education  150  16.  Beliefs about Post-secondary Education  152  17.  Sources of Cultural Capital  154  18.  Sources of Primary Social Capital  155  19.  Sources of Secondary Social Capital  159  4.  .  xv  2  xvi Page  Figure 20.  Enabling Capital  21.  Post-high School Status  163  22.  Plot of Group Centroids  211  23.  Path Diagram for an Hypothesized Model of Post-high School Status  229  Parameter Estimates in a Model of Post-high School Status  243  Stated Post-high School Destination (October 1989 and May 1990) and Actual Post-high School Destination (October 1990)  262  Ameliorated Model of Post-high School Status  330  24. 25.  26.  .  162  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I am grateful to the members of my thesis committee for their individual and collective contributions to the improvement of my research. My research supervisor, Dr. Neil Guppy, has provided me with solid direction, incisive comments, and ceaseless encouragement. I extend my thanks also to Dr. John Dennison for his constant vigilance and guidance, to Dr. Donald Fisher for sharing his knowledge of both theory and methodology, and to Dr. Robert Schutz for guiding me gently through the statistical analyses. I wish to thank Dr. Grant Fisher at the B.C. Council of Admissions and Transfer, Scott Mclnnis at the Ministry of Advanced Education, Training, and Technology, and Glen Forrester and David Shea at the British Columbia Research Corporation for assisting me to gain access to the data sets employed in this study. Also, I extend my appreciation to the students who enriched my study by sharing their experiences of the transition process. I would also like to acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I thank my friends and the faculty in the Department of Administrative, Adult, and Higher Education for their genuine interest in me and my work. In particular, I thank Shauna Bufterwick, Trisha Wilcox, Jay Handel, Graham Kelsey, Jean Hills, Ian and Billie Housego, and Kjell Rubenson. Finally, to my husband, John Bellamy, my sincere thanks and appreciation for the many years of encouragement, assistance, and patience. His support, along with the constant companionship of Aururn and Ali (the cats), has made my life as a graduate student most pleasant.  xvii  xviii  To the Memory of Sheldon Chumir  Chapter 1  INTRODUCTION  For every Canadian student, their last year of high school is, by definition, a year of transition. This transition typically involves a separation from the previous world of high school and family and incorporation into a new world of adult life. This particular transition point is rather unique, for its occurrence is predictable but involuntary’. Despite its predictable and inevitable nature, the transition from high school is far from straightforward. Inherent in this transition is the decision of whether or not to continue in the educational system. This decision is a major life decision (Sloan, 1987), whether or not it is recognized as such, for its consequences impact on almost every aspect of an individuals future. However, the choice is not simply one of selecting one alternative over another. Even at its simplest level, several decisions are involved in this transition (see Figure 1).  1 These terms are borrowed from Van Gennep (1960) who distinguished three major phases of transition or rites de passage: separation, transition, and incorporation, and Adams, Hayes, and Hopson (1976) who have categorized the forms of transition. 1  2  9qure 1: ost-fi.tqfi sclwotclestiiuztions  Decisions regarding post-high school destinations are made within the social, cultural, historical, and interpersonal contexts of the deciding individual. Constraints and opportunities due to socioeconomic circumstances, geographic location, cognitive and non-cognitive personality traits affect the decision making process. Societal conditions of inequality, of cultural and economic resources, and the prevailing employment climate also impinge on decision making. An informed decision requires a long-term planning perspective, crystallized preferences, and recognition of constraints and opportunities. Ironically, such a complex life decision occurs during adolescence, the very stage of human development that tends to be characterized by unstable preferences, limited past experience, and opaque career goals. As Sloan (1987) suggests, the ability to reach a decision under circumstances such as these is  3 difficult. Yet, we continue to presume that individuals make optimal decisions regarding life beyond the confines of high school. Despite a substantial body of evidence to support the claim that education does enhance ones life chances, Canadian national statistics reveal that nearly 50% of Grade 12 graduates do not continue directly to some form of postsecondary education (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987). Given what is known about the benefits of post-secondary participation and the observation that numerous high school graduates do not go on, some interesting questions arise: Why do some students not continue on to post-secondary education? Why do others decide to pursue it, and what is it that makes those who do continue choose one type of post-secondary institution over another? How do students actually make this decision?  Research Problem  The relationship between participation in post-secondary education and the factors affecting participation is well documented in studies of postsecondary education in Canada. These factors are traditionally cited under the following headings: socio-economic (social class, parents occupation, parents education,  sex,  ethnicity),  geographic  (urban/rural/remote  differences),  institutional (admission standards, availability and content of programs), cognitive personality traits (IQ, aptitude), noncognitive personality traits (motivation, aspiration), and financial (costs to the student, financial aid). Various investigations have identified and measured the factors affecting participation. These studies include explorations of aspirations and expectations of high school students (Anisef, 1975; Crysdale, 1975; Gilbert & McRoberts,  4 1977; O’Neill, 1981; Porter, Porter, & Blishen et al., 1982) the characteristics of the Canadian post-secondary population (Dennison, Forrester, & Jones, 1982; Pike, 1970; Porter, Porter, & Blishen et a!., 1982); the impact of social origin, present school experience, and relationships with the future on vocational indecision, educational intentions, and the level of occupational preferences (Breton, 1972); trends over time in Canadian post-secondary enrollment (Guppy, 1988; Harvey, 1977); characteristics of community college students (Dennison, Tunner, Jones, & Forrester, 1975); and experiences of going from school to work (Anisef, 1980). Such studies, however, provide little insight into the dynamics of how individuals actually make decisions about post-high school destinations. Although a considerable body of literature on accessibility to and participation in post-secondary education in Canada exists, very little research effort has been expended on elucidating the processes behind the decisions people make in choosing whether or not to pursue post-secondary education. It is clear that certain factors affect the choice to participate in post-secondary education. However, little empirically derived evidence can be found in the literature to  explain how and why individuals make the decisions they do regarding post high school destinations. As Hossler, Braxton, and Coopersmith (1989) suggest, a set of theoretical concepts is needed to explain the interrelationships among the salient factors of the post-secondary choice process.  Purpose  The purpose of my study is to investigate how and why individuals choose various post-high school destinations. Three major research questions  5 are advanced to explore this problem. First: Given a sample of recent high school graduates, what factors influence whether and where one participates in post-secondary education? The second major question is: What processes underlie the decisions individuals make in choosing whether or not to pursue a post-secondary education? Finally, to further unravel these processes, a third question is posed: How do students perceive the processes which underlie their decisions? The complicated nature of destinations, determinants, and decisions merits both theoretical and methodological complexity. Hence, in order to provide answers  and  to these questions, the research strategy of theoretical  methodological triangulation is employed. First, in relation to the first question, the  macro-processes  employing  an  of post-secondary participation are examined  analytical  framework  based  on  Härnqvist’s  by  (1978)  conceptualization of the determinants of educational choice. This framework is used to assess the individual and institutional factors that contribute to or curtail post-secondary participation in a large sample of the 1988 cohort of British Columbia high school graduates. To answer the second question, this set of macro-level or aggregate data is used to analyse micro-level concepts specific to rational choice theory as explicated primarily by Elster (1986, 1989a, 1989b) and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice (1977c, 1979, 1986, 1990b). A conceptual model of Post-high School Status is developed from the research questions and is used to determine the relationship between the concepts advanced by these two theoretical perspectives. Finally, to further detail the intricacies of decision making in relation to post-high school destinations, this model of Post-high School Status is used as a guiding theoretical framework on which to base an analysis of data collected from two sets of interviews conducted with Grade 12 students in 1989 and 1990.  6 Thus, by examining the choices made by a cohort of recent high school graduates (along with linked secondary and post-secondary institutional data base files) and a sample of students who were currently in Grade 12, a range of participants, non-participants and potential participants in the post-secondary system was included in this study. The study was conducted within the context of the British Columbia educational system.  Significance of the Study  There is a paucity of research on the processes behind the decisions people make in choosing whether or not to pursue post-secondary education. The Report of the Committee to Examine Participation Trends in Alberta concluded that while the results of their study provided a clear picture of who attends post-secondary education, it did not provide any information about how these choices were made (Alberta Advanced Education, 1984). Härnqvist (1978) commented that because educational choice has very rarely been used as a dependent variable in studies of institutional and structural determinants, knowledge in this area is “incomplete and scattered”  ). This study extends (p. O 8  the current knowledge base by considering the determinants of educational choice, the processes behind these actions, and how individuals perceive these processes. In much of the current theoretical debate in the social sciences, a re examination of two disparate views of action have been called for (Coleman, 1986, 1990; Gambetta, 1987; Hindess, 1988). In the first of these two streams of thought, the actor is treated as a “creative subject, pursuing its interests to the best of its ability and constituting actions and social relations in the process” and  7 in the second stream as ‘the picture of the human subject as literally subjected to the system of social relations in which it internalizes its part and subsequently acts out” (Hindess, 1988, p. ). One feature of the theoretical promise of this 38 study is that it treats these two disparate intellectual streams as complementary rather than competing. Guided by rational choice theory and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice, a theoretical model which incorporates the first stream within a framework of the second stream is developed. Insights into the choices that individuals make about post-high school destinations, and the processes underlying these choices are gained by addressing this theoretical debate. Through the use of multiple data sources and a variety of data analyses, this study extends the empirical work of Gambetta (1987) and Rehberg and Rosenthal (1978). The significance of this study can also be justified in more general terms. A limited amount of Canadian research has been conducted on access issues in regard to non-university participation, the use of multivariate and multisite! multirnethod  approaches  to  data  analysis,  and  studies  which  simultaneously consider the non-participants and participants of postsecondary education (Anisef, 1985). Of the Canadian studies that do exist, most have been conducted using data limited to participation in “binary systems” of post-secondary education (Campbell, 1975, p. ) in which the university and 55 non-university sectors do not overlap, but exist independently of each other. For example, in Ontario post-secondary education has been classified as a “binary system” and university-equivalent courses are not available at the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT); thus, formal transfer with credit between the two types of institutions does not exist. The CAAT’s were specifically designed to provide training for students who were not eligible for university entrance.  8  In contrast, the post-secondary system in British Columbia has been described as a “ternary system” (Campbell, 1975, p.57’) or “combined developmental model” (Worth, 1972, p.82). After completion of one or two years of university-equivalent courses at one of the fifteen community colleges, students with appropriate prerequisites are able to transfer to one of the three provincial universities to complete a bachelor’s degree. Differences in provincial post-secondary systems, and resulting participation patterns, may enhance our understanding of the effects of the structure of the system on choices regarding post-secondary participation. The issue of participation in post-secondary education continues to be a major concern in the development of educational policy. The question of the need for wider accessibility to the post-secondary system recurred throughout the National Forum on Post-Secondary education held in Saskatoon in 1987, and improvement of accessibility was identified as one of four priorities requiring immediate federal-provincial cooperation (Department of the Secretary of State, 1988). The Report of the British Columbia Provincial Access Committee (1988) states that “increasing accessibility to advanced education and job training has emerged as a major concern of citizens, educators and government” (p.1) and: the need our province faces, therefore, is not to just improve equality of access for all our citizens, but also to improve the overall rate of transition of students from high school into advanced education and job training institutions of all kinds Opportunities for our young people need to be expanded so that they can compete with highly trained and educated people coming from elsewhere. (p.5) .  This view continues to be reiterated in recent policy documents (Ministry of Advanced Education, Training, and Technology, 1991). As well, in a current human resource development initiative in British Columbia, the transition from  9 school has been identified as one of the nine key policy areas requiring indepth examination (British Columbia Human Resource Development Project, 1991). An investigation of all aspects of participation in post-secondary education would require studies that go beyond the transition from high school to postsecondary education and would include retention, transfer, graduation, and transition to the work force. Although this study is limited to the transition of British Columbia Grade 12 enrollees and graduates to various post-high school destinations, it contributes to an understanding of the decisions made by nonparticipants, as well as participants at universities, community colleges and other post-secondary institutions. This study reframes current approaches to participation, accessibility, and decision making extant in the literature. Such reframing may contribute to a greater understanding of decision making processes and may help explain existing disparities between the characteristics of participants and non-participants in post-secondary education.  Overview of the Dissertation  This chapter has provided the background to this study, an introduction to the research problem, the purpose, and the significance. Chapter 2 endeavours to cast the topic of choice regarding post-high school destination into a broad educational, societal, and cultural context. Literature related to the structure of the system, benefits of a post-secondary education, youth and unemployment, and post-secondary education and equality of opportunity are reviewed. In Chapter 3 the literature relevant to participation, rational decision making and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice is reviewed. In Chapter 4 the research questions are developed, and corresponding conceptual frameworks to address these  10 questions are presented. Specifically, a model of Post-high School Status is advanced which treats the tenets of rational choice theory and concepts of social capital, cultural capital, and dispositions or habitus espoused by Bourdieu as complementary constructs. Chapter 5 is concerned with the research design. In this chapter, a description of the data sources, instruments and methods of data collection, and details of the samples is provided. Chapter 6 provides a description of the manifest variables from survey sample data, formation of the latent constructs, and the theoretical meaning attributed to these variables. In Chapter 7, discriminant function analysis is employed to further delineate the opportunity sets of non-participants, non-university participants, and university participants. In Chapter 8, the model of Post-high School Status is tested using LISREL VI. Chapter 9 uses interview data to provide an indepth description of how students perceive the constructs identified in the model of Post-high School Status. In Chapter 10 a summary of the findings, conclusions, and implications is presented. Directions for research, theory, and policy development are suggested.  Chapter 2 POST-HIGH SCHOOL DESTINATIONS AND THE DECISION MAKING CONTEXT  As indicated in Chapter 1, decisions about post-high school destinations are not made in isolation. Rather, these decisions are influenced by three interrelated contexts: the interpersonal context of the deciding individual, the context of the existing educational system, and the broad context defined by our society and culture. These interrelationships result in what Saussure refers to as simultaneous complications in many direction&’ (cited in Bourdieu, 1984, p.126). Buchmann (1989) advises that when an analysis focuses on a single transition period or life stage, it is critical that the life stage be located within the broader context of that society. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is to review the two larger contexts of the transition under consideration in this study; that is, educational and societal contexts within which decisions regarding post-high school destinations occur. First, the structures of the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary systems in British Columbia, and the transition points that occur within these structures are reviewed. Second, issues surrounding low transition rates are discussed under two headings: 1) the benefits of a post-secondary education, and 2) the transition from school to work. Finally, equality of opportunity in relation to post-secondary education is considered.  11  12 The Canadian Educational System  Gambetta (1987) indicates that a given educational system creates an external constraint on individual decision behaviour. It does so by providing the organization for a given type of education, seffing the rules and procedures which regulate admission, selection, promotion, and certification. Individuals within the system, when making a decision, are required to adjust to and choose from the prescribed set of alternatives offered by the system. The possible educational trajectories are dependent on the structure of the system and the streaming and selecting mechanisms within it. In this section, a review of the structures of the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary systems in British Columbia is outlined, and the transition points that occur within this structure are identified.  The Transition Points During the pre-tertiary years, Canadian students face two key decisions regarding their life trajectories: first, once the age of compulsory attendance has been reached, whether to withdraw from school or continue until graduation; and second, upon high school graduation, whether to continue to post secondary education or enter the labour force.  13 Junctures During Secondary School The first point in which a participation choice may be exercised arises for the Canadian student only after she or he reaches minimum school leaving age. The choice, depicted in Figure 2, is whether to continue beyond the compulsory attendance age or to leave the educational system. Until that point, children within a defined age range are “legal captives of the school system” (Fischer, 1987, p. ) and are obligated by law to attend school. The ages of compulsory 43 attendance vary from province to province between a lower limit of 5 years and an upper limit of 16 years. In British Columbia, Section 3(1) of the the School Act requires that each child between the fifth and sixteenth birthdays attend school daily (School Act, 1989).  age  J 1  tt1ufraw from tile eucatioim1 system  fFWure 2. fDecLcion.c éuthzg fiigfi scfiooL  In Canada, education is also a right. That is, individuals within a specified school age range, which is usually broader than the compulsory age of attendance, have the right to attend school (Bezeau, 1989). In British Columbia, it is the obligation of the Ministry of Education to ensure that an educational program is provided for every child of school age. School age is specified as between 5 and 19 years (School Act, 1989). This right of attendance is accompanied by an implicit expectation that students will stay in school until  14  they graduate from high school. In fact, a credential is awarded only upon completion of the requirements for high school graduation. The majority of students do remain in school and complete the requirements for Grade 12 graduation. The British Columbia Ministry of 2 reports that in September 1989, approximately 87% of those Education (1990b) who entered Grade 8 in 1985 enrolled in Grade 12 in 1989, even though attendance was compulsory only from ages 7 through 14g. Of this cohort, 63% . 4 met the requirements for high school graduation  Decisions Regarding Post- high School Destination While the choice regarding participation in high school is limited to whether or not to stay in the educational system until graduation, options regarding post-high school destinations are more diverse. Historically, the majority of high school graduates have not pursued post-secondary studies, and even as late as the 1950s, attendance at post-secondary institutions was restricted to a select few (Harris, 1976). However, changes to the post-secondary system over the past thirty years has ensured that access to some form of postsecondary education is open to all high school leavers. These changes and the resulting available options warrant further comment and are discussed in the next section. 2 Throughout this chapter, 1988 and 1989 statistics are cited to complement data sets used in the analysis chapters of this study. Students who attended school during the 1987/88 year were subject to compulsory attendance rules as stipulated by Section 113(1) of the School Act (1979). Since that time, compulsory attendance has been redefined in the new School Act (1989). The present study is delimited to an examination of decisions made by grade 12 enrollees and graduates and does not address the decisions of either dropouts or the 24% of Grade 12 students who fail to meet graduation requirements (Ministry of Education, 1990). Early withdrawal and non-completion of graduation requirements warrant separate consideration; it is beyond the scope of this study.  15 The Canadian Post-secondary System Expansion of the Canadian system of post-secondary education since the 1960s has been described as extraordinary (OECD, 1976). In terms of quantitative development, Canada is considered to be among the educational leaders. Contributing to this expansion were the increase in the number of places available in existing universities, the establishment of new universities, and the development of a community college system in each province. Canada now boasts 65 universities, 123 public community colleges, 53 public post-secondary institutions, and an assortment of private post-secondary institutions (Dennison & Gallagher, 1986; Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 1990). As a result, over the last three decades significant improvement has occurred in most forms of post-secondary participation, including the transition from high school to post-secondary education. Full-time enrolment in post-secondary institutions has increased from 91,000 in 1951-52 to 817,000 in 1988-89 (Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 1990). Transition rates from Grade 12 directly to post-secondary education have increased from 44.5% in 1979/80 to 53.2% in 1985/86 (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987). Full-time post-secondary enrolment among the 18 to 24 age group in 1986/87 totalled 25.5% (Statistics Canada, 1989). The post-secondary system in British Columbia is described as a ‘diversified and well-developed structure for advanced education and job training” (Report of the Provincial Access Committee, 1988, p.3). The post secondary system has expanded over the past three decades to include three public universities, one private university, fifteen community colleges, four public institutes, an Open Learning University and an Open Learning College, as well as many private colleges and trade schools. University degree program  16 availability has been enhanced recently by the creation of four university colleges within the existing community college system. As well, a degree granting institution for northern British Columbia is currently  under  construction. It is reported that 116,500 full-time and part-time students participate annually in non-vocational education and over 12,000 students are enrolled in full-time vocational programs (Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 1990; Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training, 1988). The rate for British Columbia students moving directly from high school transition 6 to college or university, has increased to 45% in 1985-86 from 35% in 1978-79 (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987). This macroscopic way of viewing participation in post-secondary education has been referred to as Type II accessibility (Skolnik, 1984, cited in Anisef, 1985) which pertains to the average probability of participation in post-secondary education by all individuals in a relevantly defined population. The higher the average probability, the greater the Type II accessibility. Using Type II accessibility as a measure, the number of students making the transition from high school to post-secondary education appears to compare favourably with past transition figures. A transition rate of 45% is not necessarily problematic if, as Radwanski (1987) points out, the objective is merely to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to obtain as much education as she or he desires. However, there are several reasons for concern regarding the transition of British Columbia Grade 12 graduates to post-secondary education. 5 This figure includes university transfer, career/technical, general studies, and college preparatory programs. Of the full-time students in British Columbia 1988/89, 38,580 attend university and 25,488 are at community colleges. Part-time participants include 17,997 at university and 34,658 at community colleges (Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 1990). 6 Transition rate is defined as the percentage of high school graduates proceeding directly to either college or university following high school graduation (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987).  17 When transition rates are compared with other provinces, British Columbia ranks sixth (above Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island). Although 63% of Grade 12 enrollees in British Columbia have graduated from high school each year since 1985 (Ministry of Education, 1990), each year approximately 45% continue directly on to some form of post-secondary education (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987). Whereas the overall transition rate in Canada is 53%, it is 45% in British Columbia (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987; Report of the Provincial Access Committee, 1988). In other words, for 55% of Grade 12 graduates, the immediate post-high school destination is not postsecondary education. The issues surrounding low transition rates will be discussed under the following headings: 1) The choice of a post-secondary education, and 2) The transition from school to work.  Why Go On? The Choice of A Post-secondary Education  A basic assumption made in this study is that participation in postsecondary education enhances one’s life chances. According to Dahrendorf (1979), life chances are the “moulds of human life in society; their shape determines how and how far people can unfold” (p.ll). Dahrendorf claims that life chances are not attributes of individuals, but rather individuals have life chances in society, and their life chances may “make or break them”. Life chances are described as “opportunities for individual growth, for the realization of talents, wishes and hopes, and these opportunities are provided by social conditions” (p.30). One such opportunity is participation in education, and in  18 particular post-secondary education; it is an avenue that allows individuals to extend their life chances and to grow in response to them. There is a substantial body of evidence to support the claim that education does enhance one’s life chances. It can be demonstrated that participation in postsecondary education makes a difference in terms of future labour market experience, employability, and quality of life. That is, individuals who achieve higher levels of education are more likely to earn higher salaries, hold more prestigious positions in the work force, are less likely to be unemployed, and are more likely to both benefit from and contribute to the robustness of society in general (see references below). The benefits of a post-secondary education will be considered under the following headings: the market and non-market effects of education, and the broad effects of higher education.  The Market Effects of Education One way of determining the benefits of a post-secondary education is to examine the private and social payoff of additional education. Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted on the economic returns to investments in education and the role of education in national economic growth (Mincer, 1989; Murphy & Welch, 1989; Schultz, 1961; Stager, 1972; Vaizey and Debeauvais, 1961; West, 1988). These studies dealing with individual rates of return usually show that there is a positive correlation between economic productivity and the number of years of formal education. Economists generally agree that, from a market perspective, higher education is a good investment that on the average produces returns that amply justify the cost (Bowen, 1982; Douglass, 1977). For example, Vaillancourt and  19 Henriques (1986) report that private rates of return for Canadian men in 1981 ranged from 10 to 14% for three years of university education, and 8 to 12% for four years of university education (p. ). They conclude that: 454 the real after-tax private rate of return to a university education is significantly higher than rates of return associated with other types of investment such as long-term government bonds that usually yield between 3 and 5 percent in real terms (p.454).  In other words, compared to other forms of investment, three to four years of university education will generally yield higher private rates of return. By investing in themselves, Schultz (1961) explains, individuals are able to augment the range of choices available to them and thus, enhance their welfare (p.2). The positive association between post-secondary education and earnings is demonstrated in Table 1:  20 Table 1. Distribution of Individuals by Average Income, Education and Sex, Canada and British Columbia, 1988. BRITISH COLUMBIA  CANADA Total  Male  $  $  0-8 years  14,867  19,239  9,970  Some high school and no post secondary  18,708  24,087  13,128  Some postsecondary  19,013  23,452  14,297  Post-secondary diploma/certificate  23,765  30,272  17,920  University degree  35,237  42,035  26,301  Female  $  Total  Male  $  $  $  20,538  9,691  15,390  Female  -  20,175  25,595  -  -  31,727  14,689  38,508  22,807  (Income Distributions by Size in Canada, 1989. Catalogue 13-207)  Murphy and Welch (1989) comment that the evidence demonstrating the positive association between schooling and earnings is so strong that it is “impossible to ignore the role of education in systematic studies of individual 7 (p.l earnings” ). West (1988) also concludes that the higher the level of 7 education, the better the labour market experience. It must be noted, however, that while women attain higher educational levels than men (Bellamy & Guppy, 1991), the return to their investments in education is not as lucrative. Gaskell (1983) comments that an individual woman may be able to increase her income level relative to other women by furthering Wh.ile a decline in returns to higher education was reported in the 1970’s (Freeman, 1976), it has 7 been described as a temporary, short-lived cyclical condition rather than the beginning of a long term trend. Increased returns to schooling in the 1980’s have been described as dramatic (Stager, 1989; Murphy and Welch, 1989). Stager (1989) reports that in 1985, the estimated returns have almost returned to the levels that prevailed in 1960.  21  her education, but large disparities in earnings continue to exist between men and women with equal educational levels.  The Non-Market Effects of Education Economists did not deny the existence of nonmonetary values and in fact acknowledged that changes in observed earnings and output did not capture all of the relevant economic effects of education. Few, however, concerned themselves with the wide range of nonmarket impacts of education (Haveman & Wolfe, 1984), but chose to concentrate their attention on human attributes which yielded outputs measurable in dollars. Douglass (1977) posits: in human capital, economists have fashioned a concept that leaves no room for the traits of individuals that produce such ineffable outcomes as happiness, love, friendliness, humanitarian impulses, spirituality, knowledge for its own sake, and so on. These are simply left out of any assessment of the value of human capital except to the extent that they significantly influence the earning capacity of individuals or the ) 3 productive capacity of the economy. (p.36  Studies of the nonmarket effects of education have demonstrated that increased levels of education are positively related with one’s own health and family health status (Fuchs, 1980; Taubman & Rosen, 1980), efficiency of consumption choices (Hettich, 1972; Schultz, 1975), attainment of desired family size (Michael, 1973), lower mortality rates (Grossman & Jacobowitz, 1981), efficiency in labour and marriage market decisions (Haveman & Wolfe, 1984), better matching of jobs with skill requirements and migration decisions (Schwartz, 1984), increased savings (Solomon, 1975), greater levels of charitable giving (Dye, 1980), and decreased criminal activity (Ehlrich, 1975). Haveman and Wolfe (1984) conclude that “one is left with the strong impression that incremental schooling yields aggregate economic well-being benefits that are  22 considerably larger than those captured in estimates of the differences in labour market earnings associated with differences in the average level of schooling”  ). 390 (p.  Broad Effects of Higher Education Economists have long been preoccupied with measuring the market effects and, more recently, the non-market effects of education. They also identify the existence of one type of broad effect of education on society, referred to as an externality-generating or spillover effect (Havernan & Wolfe, 1984; West, 1988). An externality is said to exist when the self-interested action of an individual or group indirectly affects or spills over to another person or group. Examples of such positive external benefits include income gains of individuals other than those who have received additional education and also of subsequent generations resulting from a better educated work force. Trow (1989) notes that some of the larger effects of higher education are not well recognized or easily quantified. He suggests that some of the broader outcomes (as opposed to intended effects) of higher education of those exposed to it include: 1) attitudinal changes with resulting increased appreciation of and tolerance to cultural differences and weakening of racial prejudices; 2) lengthened temporal perspectives towards public issues, thus allowing and enhancing long-term planning and program development; and 3) cultivation of a life-long learning perspective, and hence, the continued progress toward a learning society. In a longitudinal study of the factors affecting recurrent adult education in Sweden, Tuijnman (1990) concluded that higher levels of formal youth education were positively related to participation in recurrent adult  23 education and these effects could be demonstrated over three successive age periods. While the benefits of continuing on to post-secondary education can be easily gleaned from the literature, arguments supporting the choice to enter the work force directly from high school are not as readily apparent. In the following section, the transition from high school to work is considered.  Transition from high school to work  The journey from school to the world of work is one of the important components of the transition of youth to adulthood. This transition, however, is identified by many as especially difficult for high school leavers (Coleman & Husén, 1985; Economic Council of Canada, 1990; OECD, 1983). According to the Minister of State [Youth] (1984), while all youth groups face job uncertainty and a high prospect of at least some unemployment, the problem of joblessness is particularly grave for youth in the 17-22 year age range who leave school without participating in post-secondary education. Young persons are clearly over-represented in the ranks  of the  unemployed. The Canadian annual average unemployment rate for 15 to 24 n 1989 was 11.3%, compared with a rate of 6.6% for those aged 25 and year-olds i 8 over (Statistics Canada, 1989a; 1989d). When educational attainment is introduced as a variable, a more detailed illustration of this association emerges, as depicted in Table 2:  8 The unemployment rate is defined by Statistics Canada as the number of unemployed as a percentage of the entire labour force (employed plus unemployed).  24 Table 2. Unemployment Rates of Population 15 Years and Over by Education and Sex, Canada and British Columbia, Annual Average 1989. 9 BRITISH COLUMBIA  CANADA Male  Female  Total  15-24 years  25-44 years  Total  TOTAL  7.3  7.9  7.5  11.3  7.2  9.1  0-8 years  10.9  11.4  11.1  23.2  13.1  16.9  9-13 years  8.6  9.2  8.9  12.7  8.6  10.3  Some post-secondary  6.8  7.8  7.3  8.6  7.0  8.5  Post-secondary diploma/certificate  4.7  5.7  5.2  6.6  5.3  6.2  University degree  3.4  4.2  3.7  5.9  3.8  4.9  he Labour Force Annual Averages, 1989)  Myles, Picot, and Wannell (1988) explain that the labour market for young people has always been volatile. Adjustment processes in the labour market among industries or occupations, decreases in aggregate demand, and demographic changes often disproportionately affect young people. While unemployment rates have declined considerably from 1981-89 period, Figure 3 and Figure 4 demonstrate that those with the least education are most likely to chronically suffer the effects of unemployment.  A breakdown by sex is not available for British Columbia.  25 35 30 —.------—  25  0-8 years  —D-———— 9-13 years  120 —•—  Some post-secondary  —0-——--— P.S. cert./diploma University degree  5 0 cc  cc  cc  cc  cc  cc  S  cc  —  cc  O  cc  O  cc  Year Figure 3. Unemployment Rates of Population 15-24 Years and Over by Education, Canada Annual Averages 1980-1989.  35 30 ——  25  0-8 years  —0---—-—— 9-13 years  120 —.  —  Some post-secondary  —0———— P.S. cert/diploma 10  —A—  University degree  5 0 cc  cc  cc  cc  cc  cc  cc  cc  -  cc  cc  cc  O\  cc  Year Figure 4. Unemployment Rates of Population 25-44 Years and Over by Education, Canada Annual Averages 1980-1989. (The Labour Force Annual Averages, 1980-1989)  26 Pallas (1984) suggests that if educational attainment is considered as a continuum, the most disadvantaged are those with the least education. Students who fail to complete high school are less employable than high school graduates, who in turn fare worse than those entering and completing university. Lack of education has been shown to be a predictor of welfare recipiency, persistent poverty, and chronic unemployment (Krein & Belier, 1988). When youth do find employment at all, entry level jobs often prove to be dead ends, providing only limited work experience, little in the way of satisfaction or pay, and are seldom the critical first rung on a career ladder (Akyeampong, 1989; Coleman & Husén 1985; Gaskell & Lazerson, 1981; Watchel, 1987). Even within the ranks of the employed, Myles, Picot, and Wannell (1988) report a downward shift in wages in jobs held by younger workers. They state: in jobs held by 16-24 year olds, there was a net shift from higher to lower wage levels of 21% in jobs held by workers with less than secondary school, 22.1% in the group with secondary school completed, and 17.2% in jobs held by post-secondary graduates. (p.30)  Educational credentials may not provide protection against the downward shift in wages in jobs held by younger workers, but the experience of those with more education is generally less severe. Higher economic returns to education were also more evident in the older age groups. Myles, Picot, and Wannell report that in jobs held by 35-49 year olds, virtually all of the gains in wages were in jobs held by post-secondary graduates. They state that “in this group, the share of jobs in the top four wage levels increased by 7.1% and there was little net shift of any sort in jobs held by those with less than a post-secondary degree” (p.30). Employment difficulties encountered by young school leavers can be profitably juxtaposed to the newly emerging skill shortages. Cohen (1989) suggests that high unemployment rates  27 experienced by out-of-school youth could reflect a mismatch between labour supply and demand. This mismatch is a result of available jobs that require qualifications not possessed by those seeking employment. Unemployment resulting from the mismatches of available persons and jobs is commonly referred to as “structural unemployment” (Gower, 1989, p.l ). One way of 5 assessing the prevalence of this type of unemployment is to examine statistics provided by the National Job Bank. Employers experiencing difficulties in recruiting qualified workers may seek assistance from the federal government through the National Job Bank, an agency which registers the recruitment needs across the country. In 1988, National Job Bank listings for British Columbia totalled 2862  -  an increase of 64% since 1983 (Jothen, 1989). Structural  unemployment, according to Gera and McMullen (1991) tends to be “relatively permanent” (p.9). In British Columbia, growing skill shortages have become a major concern. Jothen (1989) reports that 34% of British Columbia members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business identified skill shortages as a major concern at the end of 1988. Serious shortages are predicted in science and engineeringrelated occupations, nursing and other health care workers, air traffic controllers, computer specialists, specialized service workers, teachers and highly skilled trades. Those individuals with the least education are precisely the group least able to fill these positions. The problem of youth unemployment is not likely to disappear. According to Watchel (1987), there has been a sense over the past few years that high levels of youth unemployment are not a transient aberration, but a deep, enduring problem. Coleman and Husén (1985) warn that most of the recent changes in work institutions imply a increasingly arduous role for youth attempting to enter the full-time labour market, especially young unskilled or semi-skilled  28 workers, for ‘it is these jobs which, for a variety of reasons, are declining in 5). 5 developed countries, and these jobs which are unlikely to be revived” (p. There is mounting evidence to support the prediction that changing labour market requirements, as outlined in the next section, will further exacerbate an already problematic youth employment situation.  Changing Labour Market Requirements Coleman and Husén (1985) indicate that the inevitable changes due to the changing nature of the labour market will have grim consequences for poorly prepared youth in developed countries. In the past, virtually anyone who was willing to work, even those with low levels of education or limited skills, were able to obtain steady, reasonably well-paid employment. At one time it was possible for bright, highly motivated people with little in the way of educational credentials to be upwardly mobile in their chosen occupation. Today, however, as educational attainment surpasses a willingness to work as the principal job entry level credential, the “career ladder has been truncated” (Radwanski, 1987, ) and those with limited education and few skills are likely to be severely 5 p.1 limited in their choices of employment and advancement. The Economic Council of Canada (1990) summarized the impact of these factors on today’s labour force:  29 The growth of services, along with the information explosion and the internationalization of business activity, is fuelling the demand for an increasingly well-educated and skilled work force. Canada’s future economic welfare will be dictated in no small measure by its capacity to develop human resources. The ‘education and training’ imperative will also be compelling for individuals, since employment experiences will be less and less favourable for those who have skill deficiencies. In fact, our analysis suggests that the segmentation into the labour market into ‘good-job’ and ‘bad-job’ sectors is likely to raise considerable challenges for policymakers. (p.18)  The Economic Council of Canada (1990) predicts that as global competition accelerates, high cost countries such as Canada will be increasingly compelled to rely on the excellence of their work force to provide a comparative advantage in the global marketplace. As the volume of international trade increases, demand for domestic low-skilled, entry-level labour will continue to decline in developed countries. Goods and services requiring less skilled labour will be produced in countries with the lowest production costs and then be readily transported to markets located anywhere in the world. Youth will find themselves competing not only with adult workers in their own society, but also with workers from other countries who are paid at much lower levels (Coleman & Husén, 1985). Effective competition in an internationalized economy requires knowledgeintensive service and manufacturing activities employing an expert and flexible work force. According to the Economic Council of Canada, all recent employment growth has occurred in one of two quite distinct ‘growth poles’  -  either highly skilled, well-compensated, and secure jobs, or nonstandard, unstable and relatively poorly paid jobs. While it is acknowledged that ‘skill’ is a difficult concept to measure, the Economic Council of Canada asserts that the nature and the level of skills required in the labour market are being transformed by a combination of three factors: growth of the service sector, technological innovation, and changes in the way work is organized. Because of this transformation, today’s employers are seeking individuals with qualities that  30 include ‘basic academic competence, creativity and initiative, analytical and problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and communication and interpersonal skills” (p.13). Psacharopoulos (1986) points out that the pace of technological change may move at an even more accelerated pace in the future, a pace that will ridicule any attempts to either predict it or to adapt a school system to it. This would suggest that rather than the acquisition of qualffications such as job-specific skill training and specialization in high technology which carry with them a “built-in obsolescence” (Watts, 1987, p.9), education in the general sense is required, resulting in the development of individuals who are adaptable to changing opportunities, motivated to continually seek new knowledge, and capable of critical thinking and decision making (Bowen, 1982; Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 1988; Province of British Columbia, 1988; Report of the Provincial Access Committee, 1988; Science Council of Canada, 1988; Watts, 1987). Coleman and Husén (1985) refer to those who leave school with the “mandatory minimum” but without the requisite abilities and skills necessary to cope with the demands of the modern work place, as a “new underclass”. For this group, there is little chance of becoming meaningfully employed. It is widely acknowledged that Canada, along with other advanced industrial countries, is undergoing a radical transformation from an industrial society to to a society characterized by economic globalization, a labour force shifting from the goods-producing sector to the service sector, and the rapid diffusion of technology into the work place. These interrelated factors, according to many, account for the transformation of the labour market as fundamental as the earlier shift from the agrarian to the industrial eras (Economic Council of Canada, 1990; Radwanski, 1987).  31 Others, as discussed in the next section, question the relationship among education, skills, and work.  Education and Credentialism  The view that increasing levels of education are necessary to contend with an increasingly complex society has generated substantial criticism. Collins (1979) asserts that there is little evidence to support the view that 1) the majority of jobs in modern society require more sophisticated knowledge and skills than in previous years and 2) that there is a relationship between formal education and productivity. He alleges that schools are extremely ineffective institutions for the development of cognitive skills and that schooling “has more to do with teaching conventional standards of sociability and propriety than with instrumental and cognitive skills” (Collins, 1979, p.19). Collins also maintains that the “myth of technocracy” is perpetuated by employers and educational institutions who have vested interests in raising levels of educational qualifications. According to Collins (1979), education has become a form of “cultural currency”  O-62), 6 (p.  which is used to purchase desirable occupations. Post-  secondary education is perceived by students as a means to enter the power system, and it is the attainment of a credential rather than the acquisition of knowledge that is desired (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985; Collins, 1979). Dore (1976) argues that credentials become inflated with rapid educational expansion; thus, competition for desirable occupations then exerts pressure to increase the quantity of credentials required by employers. The resulting “credentialing society”, according to Collins, is irrational and wasteful, and is detrimental to minority groups in their struggle for dominance and prestige.  32 But as Aronowitz and Giroux (1985) point out, ‘credentials are the only game in town” (p.166). Credentials have become a rite of passage, an indication that a process of educational socialization has occurred. Arrow (1973) suggests that higher education acts as a ‘double filter” for the purchasers of labour, first by selecting entrants, and second by passing or failing them. In this way, higher education serves as a screening device by sorting individuals of differing abilities. Dore suggests that employers appear to be “unquestioning victims of the widespread myth that education improves people” (p.5) and by hiring someone with qualifications beyond the requirements of the position, employers believe that they are geffing more for their money. Credentials are recognized by employers and by the larger society as constituting adequate preparation for occupational status; therefore, credentials rather than knowledge ensure market survival (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985). Whether one favours a credentialist account or one of changing labour market requirements, it would appear that there is an inextricable relationship between what one learns and what one is certified to have learned (Bidwell & Friedkin, 1988). Several recent studies demonstrate this relationship. Bills (1988) found that while approximately 80% of managers making hiring decisions considered credentials to be an important determinant to their ultimate hiring decision, they were deemed less important than indicators of job performance (e.g. recent work experience). He concludes that overall, credentials do serve to get people “through organizational gates and on organizational ladders” (p.58), but once in, managers use other more direct measures of performance. Shockey 10 or overeducated workers, found that (1989), in a study on “mismatched” workers who were mismatched for their occupational positions were more 10 Shockey defines workers as mismatched or overeducated “if their educational aftainment is greater than one standard deviation above the mean education among workers in similar occupations” (p. ). 858  33  successful at competing for better jobs and received greater returns to their postsecondary education than those who were correctly matched to their jobs. Hunter (1988) examined the changes in skill requirements of entry level jobs in Canada between 1930 and 1980, and demonstrated that at least for entry-level jobs, variation in skill requirements across occupations does exist, and that education is clearly related to the skill requirements of those jobs. Given the findings of these studies, it may be more prudent, as Bidwell and Friedkin (1988) suggest, “to regard learning and gaining credentials as tightly linked mechanisms through which schooling affects employability” (p.454). Whether considered from the viewpoint of the market and nonmarket effects of education, youth unemployment, changing market requirements, or credentialism, it can be justifiably concluded that the transition from high school to post-high school destinations is indeed a critical juncture. Decisions made by students during this period in their lives will have an impact not only on their own life chances, but also, as some continue to argue, the economic future of Canada (Economic Council of Canada, 1990; Radwanski, 1987). There is, however, an intimate relationship between social equity and the development of human resources. As Watts (1988) concludes: policies ensuring wide accessibility to higher education, including its extension to groups not yet served, may be justified not only on grounds of social equity but also on the grounds that no nation can afford to lose the human talent that otherwise would remain undeveloped. (p.5)  This sentiment is reflected in the comments of Porter (1965), that “no society in the modern period can afford to ignore the ability which lies in the lower social strata” (p.197) and Bowen (1982), that “the number of persons of all ages in our society who are educable and who would be benefited from higher education  34 vastly exceeds any past or present enrollment” (p.9). Equality of opportunity in relation to post-secondary education is discussed in the next section.  Post-secondary Education and Equality of Opportunity  The principle of equality of opportunity of access to post-secondary education has been described as a major driving force behind the dramatic expansion of education throughout the western world (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987). Growth of and accessibility to the post-secondary system were based on social and economic changes and on the theories of human capital and social justice. An equality of opportunity perspective was, and continues to be, founded on the notion that educational barriers not rooted in academic considerations, that is, those based on ascriptive characteristics or ‘accidents of birth’, are “wasteful of human talent and contrary to the broad social goals of improving educational opportunity” (Alexander, Holupka, & Pallas, 1987a, p.59). The existing objective espoused by the federal and provincial governments is to ensure that higher education is available on an equitable basis to all Canadians who are qualified and want to study (Department of the Secretary of State, 1988; Report of the Provincial Access Committee, 1988; Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, 1987). The relationship between education and equality of opportunity is considered under the following headings: 1) non-participants in post-secondary education and 2) participants and institutions.  35 Non-participants in Post-secondary Education  Several recent studies indicate that, despite the expansion and ostensible democratization of the Canadian post-secondary system, the existing objective of equality of educational opportunity for all Canadians who are qualified and who want to study is not being met (Alberta Advanced Education, 1984; Anisef, 1985; Fortin, 1987; Guppy, 1984). In 1982, the Honourable Bette Stephenson stated “while we have dramatically increased the number of students attending postsecondary institutions, access to post-secondary education remains far from equal across all social and economic groups in Canada in many areas” (Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, 1982,  O). 25 p.  The Report of the Royal  Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects of Canada (1983) found that the likelihood of university attendance of children whose parents hold bachelors degrees is three times greater than children of parents without degrees, and that participation in post-secondary education of young people from high-income families has always been greater than from lowincome families. The Report of the British Columbia Provincial Access Committee (1988) acknowledges that opportunities for advanced education are not equal for all people in all parts of the province. Although services to under represented groups have vastly improved over the past twenty-five years, the report indicates that “it is unacceptable that significant groups should remain under-represented for long in higher learning activities, unless by free choice rather than by lack of opportunity” (p.18). Skolnik’s definition of Type I accessibility provides a second way of looking at participation:  36 Type I accessibility pertains to variation among individuals or groups with respect to their chances of getting into post-secondary education. If the probability of getting into post-secondary education is the same for all individuals, then Type I accessibility is maximized, whether that probability is high or low. (Skolnik (1984) cited in Anisef, 1985, p. ) 4  Table 3 highlights groups that have been identified in major (federal and British Columbia) reports on post-secondary participation over the past decade as under-represented in the Canadian post-secondary system. Native Indians, the disabled, and women are most frequently identified as under-represented in the Canadian post-secondary system. The four most recent reports, however, do not identify the economically or socially disadvantaged as under-represented in post-secondary education. Fortin (1987) comments that specified groups of non-participants “have nothing in common except that they do not fit into the segment of the population that has traditionally gone on to post-secondary education” (p.12). Is this statement tenable? If the answer is yes, what are the differences in the characteristics  among  the groups? Why do some individuals become non  participants in post-secondary education? If the way in which members of the various groups of non-participants make decisions regarding post-secondary education remains unknown, how effective will policies be which are aimed at 1) increasing the overall transition rate and/or 2) reducing inequities by targeting specific groups?  a  a  a  4:  •1-  Women  a  Visible Minorities Immigrants  t Defined as underemployed women or women re-entering the work force. 4: Fortin describes women as both winners and ‘losers in post-secondary participation  •  S  and/or Socially Remote Communities Disabled Disadvantaged  tephenson1982)•  The Commission on the Future Develop ment of Universities of Ontario (1984)  ortin (1987)  of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (1987)  Report of the Provincial Access Committee (1988)  1989)  Ministry of Advanced Education, Job Training, and Technology for the Open College Plan ning Council (Jothen,  Native Indians  Economic Mature Students  Parttime  Minority Official Language Group  Table 3. Groups Identified as Under-represented in Canadian Post-secondary Education. Unemploy ment Insurance Recipients  38 Participants and Institutions  Less apparent are the disparities in characteristics among those who do participate in the various institutions of post-secondary education. Although Guppys (1984) study revealed reduced socioeconomic disparities among participants in post-secondary education, he concluded that this reduction was largely due to the expansion of the non-university sector of higher education. A recent joint study by Statistics Canada and the Department of the Secretary of State (1987) demonstrates that 1) undergraduate levels of education continue to be dominated by children of parents who fall in upper-middle and upper class categories, 2) the rate of over-representation is not rapidly decreasing, and 3) parents of community college students tend to have lower levels of education (cited in Fortin, 1987). Guppy and Pendakur (1989) found that the elimination of one ascriptive characteristic gender which in the past has been related to post-  -  secondary participation, resulted in the exacerbation of another form of ascription  -  family origin. That is, women participating in post-secondary  education in 1983/84 were more likely than males to have beller educated parents. It appears, as Alexander, Pallas and Holupka (198Th) note, that ‘traditional patterns of educational stratification are highly resilient” (p.181). It seems reasonable, at this point, to question whether, in terms of life chances, access to a community college is equal to access to university. Viewpoints related to this question are discussed under the headings 1) the pluralistic nature of Canadian post-secondary education, and 2) transfer from college to university.  39 The Pluralistic Nature of Canadian Post-secondary Education Reality or Myth? -  In the Report of the Committee to Examine Participation Trends of Alberta Post-Secondary Students (Alberta Advanced Education, 1984), it is asserted that within a differentiated system of post-secondary education, equality of opportunity of access should mean that different opportunities are available to different students; that is, the post-secondary system should offer different types and levels of education with varying starting points and outcomes. The report states: this orientation presupposes that Canadian society is pluralistic and heterogeneous and that its citizens have a diversity of learning needs. A pluralistic society is well served by a pluralistic education system. There appears to be no intrinsic merit in seeking a singular pattern namely that of university attendance. In fact, this pattern of thought could prove detrimental to both potential students and the country’s economic development. (Alberta Advanced Education, 1984, p.20) -  The development of the community college system in British Columbia was designed to reflect the needs of a pluralistic and heterogeneous population, for, as Macdonald (1962) emphasized, “to insist that each [institution]  ..  .  train young  men and women in the same way is to confuse the aims and methods of education” (p.5z1). The introduction of the community college system into the higher education system in Canada was intended as a democratizing strategy, designed to reflect the needs of a pluralistic and heterogeneous population by providing alternate types and levels of education for those without the requisite ability to attend university. Community colleges have also enabled those from less privileged backgrounds to pursue post-secondary studies by offering university-equivalent courses (as well as vocational, technical, career, academic upgrading and continuing education courses), lower tuition fees, flexible admission requirements, and programs located within commuting distance  40 (Alberta Advanced Education, 1984; Dennison & Gallagher, 1986; Fortin, 1987). Beinder (1983) argues that the community college system in British Columbia was “a social invention, whole and legitimate in its own right, designed to solve a particular kind of problem created by a highly complex society’ (p.1). Advocates of the community college system claim that these colleges contribute to society by providing the technical skills needed by an increasingly complex economy. Community colleges were virtually nonexistent in 196011; by 1988/89 these institutions enrolled 317,000 full-time students. In terms of life chances, however, critics allege that attendance at a community college is far from democratizing (Karabel, 1986; Pincus, 1986). Scholars who subscribe to the class-reproduction school describe community colleges not “as new avenues of opportunity for the previously disenfranchised” ), but largely as dumping grounds for p.1 2 (Dennison & Gallagher, 1986, 6 minority and disadvantaged youngsters where aspirations are “cooled out” (Clark, 1960) and dead-end degrees with little economic or social value are doled out. In this way, it is argued that community colleges contribute to the reproduction of the existing structure of inequality by training and socializing individuals for work in capitalist enterprises (Bowles & Gintes, 1976; Karabel, 1986). Karabel (1986) indicates that studies confirming the location of community colleges on the lowest track in the interinstitutional stratification system of postsecondary education have “now been replicated so many times that it is no longer controversial” (p.l ). He observes: 6  In 1960, Lethbridge Community College was the only public community college in existence in Canada (Dennison et al.,1975).  41 far from embodying the democratization of higher education and a redistribution of opportunity in the wider society, the expansion of the community college instead heralded the arrival in higher education of a form of class-linked tracking that served to reproduce existing social relations. To be sure, some individuals who would otherwise have been excluded from higher education have used the community the overall impact of the college as a platform for upward mobility; yet, community college has been to accentuate rather than reduce prevailing patterns of social and class inequality (Karabel, 1986, p.18) .  Anisef (1985) argues that what has been referred to in Canada as a ‘pluralistic education system’ camouflages the hierarchical relationships that exist among post-secondary institutions and serves to obscure and mystify the reality of the choice situation for students when they are choosing a particular post-secondary institution. Coleman and Husén (1985) detect a trend in OECD countries, that of an emergence of a new stratification in an era of educational egalitarianism. Has a dual higher educational system evolved in Canada, as Guppy (1984) suggests, where community colleges have become a major post-secondary alternative for lower socioeconomic groups? Anisef (1985) poses the following questions: “What sorts of students enrol in universities? In colleges or technical institutes? What is the impact on students’ ‘life chances’ (e.g. career choices and satisfaction) of attending university in contrast to other forms of post-secondary education?” (p.l ). Karabel (1986) asks: “What are the effects of attending a 65 community college on individual life chances in the labor market, as compared ). 25 to not attending a community college at all?” (p. Havernan and Wolfe (1984) note that, from an economic perspective, estimations of the contribution of education to economic well-being must reflect the heterogeneity of the educational system because various incremental provisions of educational services yield different impacts. In an analysis using data from the National Longitudinal Study of 1972 high school graduates, Breneman and Nelson (1981) found that although attendance at a community college increased former students’ likelihood of subsequent employment relative  42 to those who had achieved only high school graduation, it did not increase their occupational status or their wages. Employment and income differentials of community college and university graduates are demonstrated earlier in this chapter in Tables 1 and 2, and Figures 3 and 4. Breneman and Nelson concluded: “Since occupational status is generally considered to be highly correlated with adult earnings, the positive relationship between attending university and occupational status bodes ill for future earnings for students choosing a ). 72 community college instead of a university” (p.  Transfer from College to University Numerous studies reveal that transfer rates from community colleges to universities are low and that the probability of degree completion is generally superior when post-secondary education is commenced in a degree-granting institution (Alba & Lavin, 1981; Anderson, 1984; Astin, 1982; Medsker & Tillery, 1971; Velez, 1985). Karabel (1986) indicates that students who are similar in terms of socioeconomic background, academic ability, educational aspirations, and other relevant individual characteristics are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree if they initially commence their studies in four-year institutions. In a study on the distributive effects of public two-year college availability, Tinto (1975b) found that the presence of a public two-year college in a community acted as a redistributive mechanism and did less to increase rates of college attendance than to alter the type of post-secondary institution attended. He found that the degree to which the substitution of a public two-year college for a four-year college occurred tended to be inversely related to socioeconomic status and not measured ability. He concludes that “for persons of the two highest ability quarters, in particular, the lower the social-status background the lower  43 the likelihood that individuals living in a community with a local public twoyear college would attend nonlocal public four-year institutions” (p.271). Commenting on Tinto’s findings, Karabel (1986) states that: to the extent that this substitution effect diverts individuals from nonprivileged backgrounds away from four-year institutions, the expansion of community colleges may paradoxically lead to an increase in inequality of educational opportunity attendance at a two-year rather than four-year institution has a negative independent effect on the likelihood of completing a bachelor’s degree. (p.16)  Brint and Karabel (1989) maintain that this ‘diversion effect’ that accompanied  the ‘democratization effect’ of community colleges was an intended outcome, “for part of the junior colleges’ raison d’être was to channel students away from ). (p. l more selective and expensive four-year colleges and universities” 9 Dougherty (1987) offers a model to explain how community college entrance hinders the educational attainment of baccalaureate aspirants. He describes three key processes which act as a funnel-like structure to militate against transfer to degree-granting institutions and subsequent degree completion: attrition before transfer, difficulty in the transfer process, and attrition after transfer. First, attrition during the first two years of community colleges is associated with lack of residential facilities, low academic selectivity and prestige, and lower expectations of instructors. Second, difficulty in the transfer process is related to the vocational orientation of community colleges, the need to move to a new institution, and difficulty in gaining admission to and obtaining financial aid at four-year institutions. Third, attrition after transfer is associated with credit loss suffered in the transfer process, drastic declines in grades, lack of financial aid, and problems becoming socially integrated into the new institution. Together, Dougherty concludes, these institutional effects  44 prevent large numbers of students who begin in community colleges from successfully attaining the goal of completing a baccalaureate. Anderson (1981) maintains that where one commences post-secondary studies may lead to differences in future occupational status. In her longitudinal study of persistence in higher education, she concluded that students entering two-year institutions, despite higher academic performance, were less likely to persist in higher education than their peers who commenced at four-year institutions, and that the attrition rate was particularly high between the second and third year. 12 in British Columbia who entered the postOf the Grade 12 graduates secondary system in the 1985/86 year, 64% entered community colleges and 36% 13 (Report of the Standing Senate Committee on directly entered universities National Finance, 1987). In 1985, the estimated total transfer rates from British Columbia community colleges to universities ranged from 14 to 51% with a median rate of 29% (Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training, 1987). It is estimated that the degree completion rates of students transferring from college to university range from 8 to 32% compared with a degree completion rate of 29 to 56% for those students directly entering university  (p.lO). The B.C.  Council on Admissions and Transfer (1989) reports that second year enrolment in the college and institute sector as a percentage of first year decreased to 20% in 1987, a decrease which has affected both university transfer and career 12 Of this total cohort, 28.5% continued on to a community college, and 16.7% entered a university. 13 The Report of the Standing Committee on National Finance (1987) reports that all of the provinces, British Columbia has the lowest percentage of students entering directly into university. It could be argued that because of the nature of post-secondary education in British Columbia, many students have chosen to complete one or two years of university-equivalent courses at community colleges, thus lowering the numbers entering university. Alberta, however, with a similar post-secondary structure, reports a transition rate of 26.9% for students entering directly into university. While Alberta has the second lowest transition rate to university, it is much closer than British Columbia to the national average of 29.3%.  45 programs. Between 1981 and 1987 the percentage had been stable at 22% (p.l). The Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training (1987) concludes that on average less than one in four full-time students who begin college academic programs can expect to end up with a first degree. Looking at it another way, those who begin studies at university have twice the chance of completion as those who begin college. (p.11) The Report of the British Columbia Provincial Access Committee (1988) indicates that quotas are being placed on both the number of students admitted to universities and the number of transfer students accepted from colleges. Thus, those who are currently over-represented in the community college system in British Columbia are the most likely to be affected by these policies. Karabel (1986) laments: from the perspective of equality of opportunity, the implications of this pattern of overrepresentation one in which individuals from working-class and minority backgrounds tend to be concentrated in the very institutions that offer them the least chance of obtaining a bachelor’s degree are sobering. (p.17) -  -  Coleman and Husén (1985) comment on the paradoxical nature of educational opportunity today. They note that there are more available places in postsecondary education than any other time in history; yet, as participation rates climb there is a concomitant escalation of competition for these places, and in particular, university places. Alexander, Holupka, and Pallas (1987b) suggest that it is reasonable to conclude, in terms of life chances, that the type of post-secondary institution one attends may rival in importance with whether one attends at all. Therefore, it should be of critical importance whether one’s point of entry to higher education is a community college or a university.  46 Summary  This chapter has examined the educational and societal context within which decisions regarding post-high school destinations occur. The structure of the educational system was described, the problem of transition from high school to post-high school destinations was discussed from an economic and equality of opportunity perspective, and the need for an exploration of those decisions made during the period of transition from high school has been highlighted. In particular, I have strived to illustrate that: 1) participation in postsecondary education does make a difference in terms of future labour market experience and quality of life, and 2) the type of post-secondary institution initially attended may affect one’s future ‘life chances’. The significance of whether and where an individual attends post-secondary education can be justified from the viewpoint of unemployment and education, the marketed and nonmarketed  effects  of  education,  changing  market  requirements,  or  credentialism. Given what is known about the benefits of participating in post-secondary education, the observation that numerous high school graduates do not go on to post-secondary education, and existence of persistent disparities between groups of participants and non-participants, further investigation is warranted. That is, it is worth investigating why one “would not want a visa to the bridge-head zone, when the alternative is so starkly different?” (Dore, 1976).  Chapter 3 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES  The purpose of this chapter is to examine the literature on participation in higher education as it relates to educational choice. The chapter begins with a review of two dominant bodies of literature on educational attainment and participation: the social stratification perspective, and research on status attainment. Following a critical review of the contributions provided by these bodies of literature to the research questions of this study, the foundation for an alternate model, based primarily on Härnqvists (1978) conceptualization of the determinants of educational choice is proposed. In the second section of this chapter, the literature on decision making processes is considered. This section draws primarily on rational choice theory as developed by Elster (1986, 1989a, 1989b), and a Theory of Practice as depicted by Bourdieu (1977c, 1979, 1986, 1990b).  Factors Affecting Participation  As indicated in Chapter 1, there are many studies on the factors affecting participation in post-secondary education. Of particular interest in this study are two approaches, as distinguished by Bidwell and Friedkin (1988) to the  participation question  -  the social stratification perspective and status  attainment research.  47  48 Social Stratification Perspective  One predominant approach to the analysis of participation in higher education in the Canadian literature is the adoption of a social stratification perspective. This approach seeks to explore ‘the degree to which individuals educational attainment is independent of ascriptive characteristics” (Bidwell & Friedkin, 1988, p.453). These ascriptive characteristics, or structural inequalities, are identified as socioeconomic status (most commonly parents’ education, occupation, and income), gender, ethnicity, and geographic location. Studies have focussed on a single characteristic as the independent variable, for example the relationship between gender and participation (Gilbert & Guppy, 1988; Guppy, Vellutini, & Balson, 1987) or socioeconomic status (Guppy, Mikicich, & Pendakur, 1984) or a combination of ascriptive characteristics, such as the relationship of gender and parental education on choice of institution and field of study (Guppy & Pendakur, 1989), participation trends among groups based on gender, socioeconomic background, and rural/urban residency (Alberta Advanced Education, 1984; Anisef, Okihiro, and James, 1982), and the relationship between city size and region, family background, and ethno religous background on educational transition (Pineo & Goyder, 1988). Several important findings have been revealed in these studies. First, those who enter the post-secondary system historically have and continue to come from higher socioeconomic origins (Anisef et al., 1982; Pineo & Goyder, 1988). Second, women are both “winners” and “losers” in the battle against ascription. That is, enrolment of women in undergraduate programs is now equal with that of men (Bellamy & Guppy, 1991; Gilbert & Guppy, 1988; Selleck & Breslauer, 1989), but they continue to be underrepresented in certain disciplines (e.g. engineering) and in graduate studies, and women with lower  49 socioeconomic backgrounds are overrepresented in the community colleges and underrepresented in universities (Fortin, 1987; Gaskell, 1981). While  studies  such  as  these  have  greatly  contributed  to  the  understanding of participation in higher education of various groups in Canadian society by highlighting the existence, persistence, or diminishment of certain structural inequalities, they provide little insight into lww individuals make decisions about participation in post-secondary education and the processes behind these decisions. This approach is limited in the following ways. First, as Bidwell and Friedkin (1988) explain, because this perspective only considers factors exogenous to schooling, characteristics of the individual, institutional aspects of educational status allocation, and internal organization and processes of educational institutions are not accounted for. Second, this perspective does not allow for a discussion of the processes behind these disparities (Boyd et al., 1981). In their study on the relationship of socioeconomic status on participation in higher education, Guppy, Mikicich, and Pendakur (1984) concluded: we have provided an overall portrait of disparities but we have not endeavoured to pinpoint the effects of social origin on each of the many transitions embedded in the educational system. That is, we have noted that large socioeconomic disparities exist at the post-secondary level but we have not examined exactly how this has come about. For example, students from blue-collar backgrounds may be underrepresented at university as a consequence of their failure to complete high school, their enrolment in high school programs which prevent immediate transition to university, their decision not to pursue a university education even though eligible, or some combination of these and other factors. (p.329)  Several authors have commented that observed phenomena, such as the correlation between socioeconomic status and participation in post-secondary education, are not wholly consistent and do not constitute an explanation (Lane, 1972; Giddens, 1984; Porter, Porter, and Blishen, 1982). While it is not unusual to  50 conclude that a measure such as socioeconomic status is related to the probability that an individual will continue on to post-secondary education, the usefulness of this type of a measure is incomplete. It remains unclear as to how these correlations come about. As Lane (1972) observes: even if the correlation were perfect, which it is not, we would still need to seek out and specify the mechanism or mechanisms whereby.. [factors operate] to constrain the educational decisions of its offspring. (p.255) .  Härnqvist (1978) asserts that research efforts of this type have likely provided more knowledge about stable and fairly resistant factors behind educational choice than about factors that influence change. A second approach to participation, status attainment research, addresses some of the limitations encountered by a social stratification approach.  Status Attainment Research  The seminal work of Duncan and Hodge (1963) and Blau and Duncan (1967) generated a series of studies which now fall under the rubric of status attainment models. The original path model of the occupational status attainment presented by Blau and Duncan (1967) was developed to address two questions: How and to what degree do the circumstances of birth condition subsequent status? and how does status attained (whether by ascription or by achievement) at one stage of the life cycle affect the prospects for a subsequent stage” (Blau & Duncan, 1967, p.l ). Using an analytical framework which 64 consisted of two antecedent structural variables (father’s education and father’s occupation), two intervening behavioural variables (respondents education and  51 respondent’s first job), and one dependent variable (respondent’s occupational level), they attempted to model social mobility. As one part of this work, they demonstrated the existence of a strong correlation between father’s occupational standing and son’s completed years of schooling. The model was subsequently modified by the addition of psychological and social-psychological variables which included mental ability, academic performance, the influence of significant others, and educational and occupational aspirations (Sewell, Hailer, & Ohlendorf, 1970; Sewell, Hailer, & Portes, 1969). This ameliorated version, known as the ‘Wisconsin’ model of status transmission and status attainment, demonstrated that the effects of family social status on educational and occupational attainment were mediated substantially by social-psychological variables such as significant others’ influence and one’s own educational and occupational aspirations (Jencks, Crouse, & Mueser, 1983; Looker & Pineo, 1983; Sewell, Hailer, & Ohlendorf, 1970; Sewell, Hailer, & Portes, 1969; Sewell & Hauser, 1975). Since educational attainment was demonstrated to be a powerful predictor of subsequent occupational attainment Gencks, Crouse, & Mueser, 1983; Kerckhoff, 1976; Sewell, Hailer, & Ohlendorf, 1970), one group of researchers have focused on educational attainment as the dependent variable (Alexander & Cook, 1982; Alexander, Cook, & McDill, 1978; Alexander & McDill, 1976; Sewell & Hauser, 1975). This model was further modified by treating level of educational aspirations, level of occupational aspirations, and/or educational expectations as the dependent variable(s) (Gilbert, 1977; Gilbert and McRoberts, 1977; Porter, Porter, and Blishen, et al. 1982). Bidwell and Friedkin (1988) provide a concise summary of the range of variables used in these studies:  52 Criterion variables include intended or completed years of schooling, achievement test scores, or such measures of educational aspirations as plans for college attendance. Exogenous variables are those of status origins and variously include parents’ occupation, education, and income; material and cultural aspects of the home; race and ethnicity; and gender. The intervening variables variously include academic ability and achievement, the students academic and occupational goals, significant others influence, and school organizational variables. (p.456)  Like the findings of studies which use occupational attainment as the dependent variable, studies of educational attainment have demonstrated that while significant coefficients have been obtained in regressions of educational attainment on the status origins of students, these effects are mediated by the intervening variables contained in the model. These variables, in diminishing importance, include academic ability, prior academic performance, educational aspirations, parental and peer social support, and track placement (Bidwell & Friedkin, 1988). The ‘Wisconsin’ model of status attainment has been described as one of the most significant and influential advances in recent sociological research (Kerckhoff, 1976; Marjoribanks, Secombe, & Srnolicz, 1987). Coser (1975) explains that because of the complexity of these models, it is possible to assess the contributions of social inheritance and individual effort in the status attainment process. Yet, one major criticism of status attainment models persists. While the range of variables which have been included in various models is extensive, they are comprised almost exclusively of measures of individual characteristics, and thus are interpreted as “individual resources or liabilities” which contribute to the individual attainment process (Campbell, 1983; Coser, 1975; Kerckhoff, 1976; Horan, 1978). Extraindividual or structural constraints, such as class barriers or between-group differences in opportunity structures, have been given minimal attention. Coser (1975) remarks that “there is no concern here  53  with the ways in which differential class power and social advantage operate in predictable and routine ways, through specifiable social interactions between classes or interest groups, to give shape to determine social structures and to 11 (p.694). create differential life chances Kerckhoff (1976) explains that the theoretical approach used in the interpretation of social attainment models is that of social interactionism. According to this perspective, the socialization process is used to elucidate the connection between status origin and attainment. He continues: significant others are seen as having an influence on the goals of the young person, and these goals are viewed as instrumental in the attainment process. The theory anticipates that the encouragement by significant others will vary according to the social position and demonstrated ability of the child, and that this encouragement will affect the level to which he aspires. The family and school are seen as the institutional settings of this socialization process, and the significant others include parents, teachers, and peers. (p.368)  In an attempt to explain educational and occupational attainment, the focus of a socialization model is on the individual and her or his evolving characteristics. It  is assumed that the agent travels unconstrained through the social system; thus, a persons attainments are determined by what he or she chooses to do and how well he or she does it (Kerckhoff, 1976). This perspective, Coser (1975) adds, is rooted in the prevailing American ideology of individual achievement. Kerckhoff suggests that an alternate view, which he calls the ‘allocation model” of status attainment, can be used to interpret the findings generated by status attainment models. In contrast to the socialization model, the locus of analysis in an allocation model shifts to an examination of the “mechanisms and criteria of control of the individual by social agencies” (p.369). The individual, in an allocation model, is viewed as relatively constrained by the social structure,  54  and her or his attainments are determined by “what he is permitted to do” (Kerckhoff, 1976, p.369). Kerckhoff elaborates: [An allocation model] emphasizes the salience of societal forces which identify, select, process, classify, and assign individuals according to externally imposed criteria. Rather than differential attainment as being seen as due to variations in learned motives and skills, as in the socialization model, an allocation model views attainment as due to the application of structural limitations and selection criteria. (p.369)  Kerckhoff asserts that constraints and limitations exist throughout the attainment process, and are imposed, in the form of providing or withholding opportunities, by agents in institutional settings. While structural constraints and selection criteria are absent from most status attainment models, they have not escaped investigation. These investigations include the relationship between socioeconomic origins and enrollment in educational tracks (Gaskell, 1985, 1991; Heyns, 1974; Rosenbaum, 1976; Vanfossen, Jones, & Spade, 1987), access to school personnel and resources (Anyon, 1981; Orfield & Paul, 1987), and formal and informal track placement (Lee & Eckstrorn, 1987; Page & Valli, 1990). Other studies demonstrate the relationship between track placement and self-direction (Miller, Kohn, & Schooler, 1986), cognitive development (Alexander & Pallas, 1984; Rosenbaum, 1976), and educational and occupational aspirations, academic achievement, and post-secondary participation (Vanfossen, Jones, & Spade, 1987). In general, these studies reveal how various components of school life, such as the social organization of education and the hidden curriculum, contribute to social reproduction. Bidwell and Friedkin (1988) conclude that despite the consistent findings of the status attainment literature that reinforce the notion that individual characteristics of students, rather than differential access to educational  55  resources, are primarily responsible for individual differences in educational life chances, “it is hard to accept the conclusion that school resources or social organization have only minor effects on academic attainment (p. )”. Kerckhoff 6 S 4 (1976) suggests that the inclusion of measures of the allocation process to current models of status attainment, based on a socialization perspective, would increase the overall power of the models by explaining the relationship between origin and attainment left unexplained in these models. He asserts: the kinds of variables needed can be devised only if we keep before us the idea that school as an institution is more than a fixed obstacle course through which students with varying levels of skill and motivation are permitted to run. If we recognize the institutional necessity for teachers and other officials to differentiate among students and to attempt to provide the most suitable kinds of educational experiences to different kinds of students, we immediately face the problem of defining the bases of differentiation and the characteristics of the varying kinds of educational experiences. (Kerckhoff, 1976, p.377)  He maintains that it is impossible to fully differentiate a socialization model and an allocation model, since each perspective provides its own account of how the social environment influences the individual actor by highlighting different kinds of phenomena. Thus, each contributes a unique theoretical interpretation of the same observations. Various models of educational choice have been proposed which claim to address both the process (Litten, 1982) and the outcomes of post-secondary selection (Chapman, 1981). However, these models tend to focus primarily on the “college oriented” student; that is, those students already committed to post secondary participation (see Jackson, 1982). Although most of these models identify three stages in the choice process  --  predisposition, search, and choice  (Hossler, Braxton, & Coopersmith, 1989) it is often assumed in college choice models that all students of the traditional college-age group are potential clients of the post-secondary system. That is, although the predisposition stage is  56 acknowledged by these models, the emphasis tends to be on which institution a student chooses, rather than whether one attends and, if so, which type of institution within the hierarchy of post-secondary institutions is chosen. Härnqvist (1978) offers an approach that provides a foundation for the analysis of educational choice by integrating notions of both socialization and allocation. As such, he concentrates primarily on the predisposition stage of the educational choice process.  Determinants of Educational Choice  The work of Härnqvist (1978) provides a comprehensive approach for exploring the relationship between the factors affecting participation and individual responses to these factors. Grounding his analytical framework in the findings of a myriad of empirical studies, Härnqvist identifies educational choice as the dependent variable, then recasts the factors which are commonly identified as influencing participation into ‘determinants of educational choice”. He adopts a distinction originally formulated by Blau, Gustad, Jessor, Parnes and Wilcock (1956), and proposes that entry into the post-compulsory system of education is dependent on both the individual and institutional determinants. In the next section, each of these types of determinants, as outlined in Figure 5, is considered.  -  57  Individual Determinants of Educational Choice 1. Student Characteristics sex intellectual abilities educational achievement interests aspirations -  -  -  -  -  2. Personal Environment family background peer group school environment -  -  -  Institutional Determinants of Educational Choice 1. Educational System a) conditions antecedent to choice curriculum emphasis terminal vs. transfer programs differentiation system guidance organization -  -  -  -  b) conditions anticipated in the choice situation admission and selection rules geographic availability study finance -  -  -  c) predicted structural changes in education  2. Society Outside the Educational System a) Demographic Factors b) Occupation and the Economy c) Social and Cultural Conditions  FigiLre 5: 5[ämqvLct& etenninants ofEt1ucatioiwfC1wice  58 Individual determinants of educational choice According to Härnqvist, “the process leading up to choice is a dynamic relationship between the individual and his environment where cause and effect are hard to isolate from the network of continuous interaction” (p.32). He asserts that the majority of work on educational choice has been done by trait factor theorists (Holland, 1966, 1973; Super, 1957; Super & Crites, 1962) who view choices as related to stable characteristics of the individual. They do not, however, provide an explanation of the intermediate processes, that is, the variables that intervene between the attributes of the individual and the final choice. Härnqvist opines that the most interesting developments will arise from attempts to “weigh individual attributes against other characteristics of the individual and his situation” (p ). 32 According to Härnqvist, the relevant individual determinants are: 1) characteristics of the individual, and 2) characteristics of the student’s personal environment. Characteristics of the individual include sex, intelligence, educational achievement, interests, and aspirations. Characteristics of the students’ personal environment include family background, peer group, and the climate and student composition of the school.  Institutional determinants of educational choice Härnqvist points out that while institutional determinants of educational choice appear to be of considerable importance, empirical evidence of educational choice in relation to institutional or structural characteristics is scarce and less complete than for individual determinants.  59 Härnqvist considers institutional determinants of educational choice under two headings: 1) characteristics of the educational system itself, and 2) society outside the educational system. Characteristics of the educational system itself are categorized into: 1) conditions antecedent to choice, 2) conditions anticipated in the choice situation, and 3) predicted structural changes in education. Conditions antecedent to choice refer to ‘factors which operate in the school to which the student belongs when he makes his plans for the next stage” (p.55). Included under conditions antecedent to choice are curriculum emphasis, terminal  vs.  transfer  programs,  differentiation  system,  and  guidance  organization. Conditions anticipated in the choice situation, which characterize the stage which the individual is about to enter, are admission and selection rules, geographic availability, and study finance at the stage of decision. Included under society outside the educational system are demographic factors, occupation and the economy, and social and cultural conditions. This schema captures a range of psychological, sociological, and economic factors, that, as Blau et a!. (1956) suggest, are necessary in the development of an inclusive framework. As such, it includes indicators of the socialization and the allocation process in educational attainment, as proposed by Kerckhoff (1976). Blau et al. (1956) and Härnqvist (1978) maintain that in order to demonstrate how earlier decisions limit or extend the range of future choices, a systematic analysis of a series of successive choice periods is required. Härnqvist  asserts that the importance of early and distant decisions may be greater than those that immediately precede what appears to be the educational choice. He adds, however, that while more is known about distant determinants than about  60 immediate determinants, distant determinants are relevant “only to the extent . (p.1 ) that they in turn influence immediate determinants” 6 Given one’s decision regarding post-high school destination, Harnqvist’s framework allows for the exploration of how each individuals’ decision making processes have been influenced or shaped by individual and institutional determinants, and what decisions individuals make in response to these forces. Determinants, as enabling and constraining forces may also be investigated. The relative importance and interrelationships of personal attributes, students’ use of educational resources, and formal and informal organization on the secondary and post-secondary systems of education on educational choice, as suggested by Bidwell and Friedkin (1988), may also be assessed. Differences among groups of non-participants and participants in colleges, universities and other institutions may be revealed by analyzing the differential impact of the determinants on . 14 members of these groups Employment of Härnqvist’s framework to analyse the choices that individuals make will illuminate what relationships exist. However, a demonstration of the relationships among a set of relevant individual and institutional variables, or macro-processes, will not reveal how and why certain 14 This model, does not, of course, take into account all of the variables that have been  considered in previous work on educational and participation and attainment. Some of the variables not included are: birth order and family size (Blake,1981; Lindert,1977; O’Neill,1981; Porter, Porter, & Blishen,1982), the influence of single parent families (Crysdale,1975), religion (Porter, Porter, & Blishen,1982), self-concept (Gilbert, 1977). However, as Allison (1971) explains: in attempting to explain a particular event, the analyst cannot simply describe the full scale of the world leading up to that event. The logic of explanation requires that he single out relevant, important determinants of the occurrence. Moreover, as the logic of prediction underscores, he must summarize the various factors as they bear on the occurrence. Conceptual models not only fix the mesh of the nets that the analyst drags through the material in order to explain a particular action; they also direct him to cast his nets in select ponds, at certain depths, in order to catch the fish he is after. (Allison,1971, p.4) This model is an attempt to accomplish precisely what Allison suggests important determinants of educational choice.  -  to capture the relevant,  61 mechanisms influence choice. As several authors have commented, despite the preoccupation by researchers on the effect of social origin on educational and occupational outcomes, there has been little progress in unravelling how these relationships are created and reproduced (Bielby, 1981; Knorr-Cetina & Cicourel, 1981; Lamont & Lareau, 1988; Lareau, 1987). Campbell (1983) maintains that the really interesting and difficult questions in stratification research, such as “Why is there an unequal distribution of attainment? In a society which values meritocratic selection, why are parents so easily able to pass on status to their children?”, remain unaddressed (p.59). While previous studies have demonstrated that an ‘upperclass’ child has a much greater chance of reaching higher education than one from a working-class’ background, not all upper-class students go to university, nor are all working-class students non-participants (Keller & Zavalloni, 1964; Lane, 1972). It continues to remain as difficult to explain why ‘working class kids’ let themselves get working class jobs (Willis, 1977), as it is to clarify why others escape the social reproductive forces and destinations predicted by their ascribed status (Gambetta, 1987). Härnqvist (1978), commenting on our limited knowledge of these mechanisms, motives or reasons, states: how this choice is made is largely unknown and cannot be inferred from the more basic individual characteristics that have dominated the research so far. Neither does it seem possible to approach this problem with the same tools as have been used for measuring the influence of individuals, mainly correlational techniques of different kinds. More important is the close observation of individual decision sequences and Along the construction of decision models that can be tested in individual cases. with more objective variables the individual’s motives and perception of the choice situation are worth studying. (p.112) .  .  .  Others have suggested that in order to explain the relationship between  interaction and structure, both micro and macro levels of analysis are required (Knorr-Cetina, 1981; Larnont & Lareau, 1988). In the next section, theoretical  62 perspectives for exploring the micro-processes of educational choice are considered.  Post-high School Destination and Educational Choice  Regardless of one’s family background, geographic location, educational achievement, and the other variables identified in the model presented in the first section of this chapter, every graduating high school student reaches a juncture in her or his life path. At this juncture, a route must be taken  --  either to  continue to post-secondary education, or to leave the educational system. Having identified the relevant determinants of educational choice, a second question may now be considered: How does an individual make this decision? Or, to reframe the question in light of Härnqvist’s work, how do individuals make decisions about post-high school destinations in relation to the individual and institutional determinants ofeducational choice? Gambetta (1982, 1987) posed a similar question and applied it to educational choice. Setting out to determine whether the educational behaviour of a group of Italian youth could best be represented as a “product of intentional choice”, or, as the “result of processes which in one way or another minimize the scope for socially meaningful choice at the individual level”, he asked: the theoretical question is whether it is more realistic to think of educational decisions as, so to speak, non-decisions, as pure individual manifestations of social forces that act “behind the back” of agents, or whether it is rather the case that people respond thoughtfully to events and try to act according to what they generally want. (Gambetta, 1982, p.3)  63 He posits that there are two relevant perspectives of the individual agent when considering decision making processes: the pushed-from-behind view and the pulled-from-the-front view . The first view, pushed-from-behind, regards 15 educational decisions as essentially non-decisions. This perspective adopts the viewpoint that reproductive forces are overwhelming; thus, they constrain or act behind the backs of agents. Since the actions of individuals are ‘propelled’ by forces that are beyond the immediate reach of their conscious states, individuals are pushed into given destinations. Rather than clearly perceiving the available alternatives and choosing the best alternative among them, individuals are guided by “some inner mechanism” to select a particular course of action, “behaving as if the feasible set were more restricted than it is objectively” (p.12). As such, agents are directed by causes that “act independently of their awareness” (p.12). These forces which act behind individuals’ backs push them in two different directions: middle- and upper-class children are pushed upward and working class children are pushed downward. The second view, pulled-from-the-front, posits that “people are rational and jump towards the destinations that attract them most” (Gambetta, 1987, p.2). Gambetta identifies two distinct versions of the pulled-from-the-front view. In general, both “pull” versions refer to an intentional agent, who is capable of adapting intelligently to circumstances and to the perceived probability of success, and thus plans her or his life according to personal preferences. In the first version of the pulled-from-the-front view, when individuals make decisions 15  In his initial theoretical formulation, Gambetta included a third view, “the structural view”, which he quickly discounted as an unsuitable generalized explanation of behaviour. In this view, “individuals’ actions are channelled by external constraints, with no provision for choice”. That is, individuals are seen to have no choice or lack of any relevant alternatives. Gambetta comments that this approach treats actors as ‘structural puppets’, and shortcircuits the agent by emphasizing the constraints on behaviour rather than the behaviour itself. It is very difficult to clearly distinguish between these two views, as posed by Gambetta; hence, in my research they are treated as a single perspective.  64 about their education, they rationally respond to their past achievement and to labour market opportunities; in other words, they choose options that maximize expected utility. Individual preferences are considered as generally irrelevant. The second version emphasizes that individuals try to act according to what they generally want. A rational calculation of personal preferences and future rewards results in a decision. Economic maximization, however, does not necessarily drive these decisions. Personal preferences and aspirations make a difference in educational choices irrespective of ones social origin. Gambetta suggests that the first view (pushed) emphasizes causality, and the second (pulled) intentionality. He points out that most authors have concentrated on either the ‘push” or the “pull” perspective when studying educational behaviour. He suggests that rather than disregarding or rejecting the other perspective as irrelevant, it may be more fruitful to ask: “to what extent can educational behaviour be represented as a product of intentional choice, or conversely, to what extent is it the result of processes which, in one way or another, minimize the scope for socially meaningful choice at the individual level?” (p.7’). These perspectives, as identified by Gambetta, correspond to the two broad intellectual streams, the sociological versus the economic, that Coleman (1988) indicates are used to describe and explain social action. The first view, the sociological, is that of the socialized actor whose action is governed by social norms, rules and obligations. The second view, typical of the work of most economists, views the actor as “having goals independently arrived at, as acting independently, and as wholly self-interested” (p.S95). According to Coleman, the main strength of the first intellectual stream rests in its ability to “describe action in social context and to explain the way action is shaped, constrained, and  65 redirected by the social context’, and the second stream “in having a principle of action, that of maximizing utility” (p.S95). However, consistent with Kerkhoff’s assertion regarding the difficulty of distinguishing an allocation from a socialization model, Coleman also maintains that the two views of action are not separable. He argues that to adopt either view of action, independent of the other, is misguided, for as defined by the first stream, the actor is treated as though he or she is without an ‘engine of action’ but is completely shaped by the environment, and in the second stream, constraints of the social environment are totally ignored. He suggests that the investigation of action should commence from one conceptually coherent framework, and proceed to introduce elements from the other, without destroying the coherence of the first. Giddens (1984) provides a similar criticism. He asserts that even when severe constraints limit the courses of action that an individual can take, some account of purposive action is still implied. Commenting on Gambetta’s study, he states that: always operate via agents’ motives and reasons, structural constraints establishing (often in diffuse and convoluted ways) conditions and consequences affecting options open to others, and what they want from the options they have. (p.310) .  .  He suggests that it would be more profitable to examine, in greater depth, the influence of structural constraints over the course of a particular action. He proposes that topics for further study include how an individual’s motives and processes of reasoning have been influenced or shaped by factors in their family background and previous experiences, the social forces themselves, and exploration of the limits of agents’ knowledgeability.  66 Elster (1989a) provides a cogent way of consolidating these two views. According to Elster, action may be explained if it is viewed as the final result of two successive filtering operations. All of the abstractly possible actions that  may be undertaken by an individual pass through each filter. The first filter consists of all of the constraints faced by the individual. The individuals opportunity set is thus formed by extracting actions that remain possible, as limited by the existing constraints. The second filter, according to Elster, consists of a mechanism that determines which action, within the existing opportunity set, will actually be implemented. Of these actions, rational choice is one. Using this perspective, Elster states that “actions are explained by opportunities and desires  -  by what  people can do and by what they want to do” (p.18). It is upon the opportunity set that an individual acts. Elster’s formulation of opportunity set and subsequent action allows for 1) an exploration of action based on a given opportunity set, and 2) differences in opportunity sets, and thus actions, amongst groups (e.g. participants and  non-  participants in post-secondary education). Given an existing opportunity set, how will an individual act? Rational choice theory will be used to consider this question.  Individuals as Rational Actors  The notion of rational action is not foreign to studies of educational attainment and participation. However, the manner in which rationality is treated in studies of participation is inconstant. In some studies, rational action  67  is simply assumed, without any explanation as to what is meant. For example, in his study on post-secondary education choices of high school graduates, Anisef (1975) states: A major assumption which guides our thinking and analysis in this panel survey is that adolescents make rational choices and decisions. (p19)  Porter, Porter, and Blishen (1982) provide an illustration where rational action is implied: It is very likely the case that when a student considers the amount of education he would like to have, he first thinks of the job he would like and then considers the education he would need in order to qualify for that job. (p.99)  Others provide concrete definitions. Bidwell and Friedkin (1988) assert: We assume that students are rational actors, so that they tend to define the educational situation by assessing the costs and benefits of schooling, on one hand, and the personal capacity to gain benefits and reduce costs, on the other. (p.460)  They continue: First, as students progress through the school grades, they make increasingly frequent, realistic calculations about the relationship between schooling and adult social destinations (primarily occupational or marital). Given our rational actor assumption, we expect that the higher the value of the material or social goods to which a student aspires and the stronger the perceived effect of education on their realization, the higher the student’s tolerance for education. In other words, we are proposing a reciprocal relationship between academic performance and educational and postschool aspirations, in which these aspirations reinforce performance just as they are reinforced by performance via the definition of the educational situation. 3) 6 (Bidwell & Friedkin, 1988, p.4  Härnqvist (1978) suggests that individuals make educational choices as follows: The immediate determinants [of educational choice] result in preferences and .The individual’s expectations which have to be matched against each other. he may take, but actions possible information set limits not only to the number of in and obtain to succeed probability of his predictive estimated validity also to the in a certain succeed to expectancy His actions. alternative different rewards from the education depends not only on knowing that he meets the minimum entrance .  68 requirements but also on estimating whether his qualifications are strong enough in a competitive situation before or during the education he is considering. (p.18)  Even the tenor of questions on survey instruments often reflects a perspective that implies rational action. The following is an example of such a question: Everyone does not end up doing the job he or she likes. Considering your ability, marks, ambitions, and family finances, what job do you think you will actually end up doing ? (Anisef, 1980, Appendix C)  Since assumptions of rationality play a central role in studies of educational participation, a review of the literature on rational choice is important. Such a review is also warranted since most studies of individual choices (i.e. Gambetta’s “pull’ forces) are premised on one particular version of rational choice theory.  According to rational choice theory, when an individual is confronted with several courses of action, the action taken is the one that the individual believes is most likely to have the best outcome. That is, rational choice involves choosing the best means available for achieving a given end. In this sense, rational choice is instrumental, and actions are chosen as efficient means to a further end. It is a way of optimal adaptation to existing circumstances (Elster, 1989a; Harsanyi, 1986; Mortimore, 1976). Aiming to explain human behaviour, rational choice theory proceeds in two steps. The first step is normative  -  to determine what a rational person  would do in a given circumstance. The normative or prescriptive component prescribes how individuals should act in a given situation, and emphasis is placed on guidelines, procedures, and analytical tools for optimizing decisions. It also predicts that individuals will act in the prescribed way. This is followed  69 by the second step, descriptive in nature, which sets out to ascertain whether the action, as described in the first step, is what the individual actually did. In contrast to the normative model, the descriptive model describes the way that decisions are actually made in the real world. The focus of the descriptive model is to provide an account of decision making behaviour, including each step in the process (Baird, 1978; Elster, 1989a, 1989b; Harsanyi, 1986; McGrew & Wilson, 1982). For the purposes of this study, two types of rational action will be considered:  practical rationality (or  practical reasoning), and  technical  rationality.  Practical Rationality  Practical rationality or reasoning is described as reasoning which is undertaken to determine what to do (Audi, 1982). This is contrasted with theoretical or epistemic reasoning which is undertaken to determine what is the case or what to believe (Audi, 1982; Benn & Mortimore, 1976; Coombs, 1986). Benn and Mortimore (1976) state that to explain an act as rational, it is to say that “a certain kind of relationship holds between the agent’s action, his beliefs about his situation and options, and the end-states he wishes to bring about” (p. ). They state that practical rationality can be best understood as “a 3 component of the ordinary notion of rationality in action”. According to Elster, the “central explanada of rational choice theory are actions” (p.4). The notion of practical reasoning embraces three components: beliefs, wants or desires, and evidence (Audi, 1982; Coornbs, 1986; Elster, 1989b). For an  70  action to be deemed rational, it must be the final result of three optimizing operations. These operations are: 1.  It must be the best means of realizing a person’s desire, given his beliefs.  2.  These beliefs must themselves be optimal, given the evidence available to him.  3.  The person must collect an optimal amount of evidence neither too much nor too little. That amount depends both on his desires on the importance he attaches to the decision and on the beliefs about the costs and benefits of gathering more information. (Elster, 1989a, p.30) -  -  These optimalizing operations are represented by Elster, in Figure 6. Action  Desires  / ‘<  Beliefs  Evidence  5igure 6. i4ifaptathrn of E(stercSc1tema of Rgthrna(Cltoice.  According to Elster (1989b), an action is explained by first confirming whether it is the best way of fulfilling an agents’ desires, given her or his beliefs. Desires and beliefs should be, at minimum internally consistent, but preferably rational in themselves. As well, beliefs should be optimally related to the evidence or information available to an agent. Also, the beliefs an individual holds must be true.  71 Rational belief and rational action are contrasted with ‘not rational’, ‘nonrational’ or ‘irrational’ beliefs or action. An ‘irrational’ act is considered to be one that is done without a reason when it is thought that there should be a reason, doing something for a bad reason, or if there is a good reason for taking an alternate course of action that was known or should have been known by the agent. “To say of an act that it is irrational is to evaluate it as failing to come up to some standard of appropriateness. A person who acts irrationally is not acting well from some point of view” (Benn & Mortimore, 1976, p.3). A ‘nonrational’ act is beyond the scope of rationality; that is, the act committed when the individual “either could not have a reason for doing it, or that to assess it in terms of reason is somehow out of place” (p. ). A ‘not rational’ act is one that is 3 sometimes irrational, sometimes non-rational (p. ). 3  Technical Rationality  Often, a “technical account of rationality” is used to explain behaviour regarding educational choice. Benn and Mortimore (1976) point out that this view differs from the former view on two counts: 1) it omits the condition that agents act on rational beliefs, the epistemic requirement, and 2) it tends to stipulate among the requirements special restrictions on what are admissible as ends (p.4). When using a technical account of rationality, the type of decision is important to consider. Decisions can be of three types: decisions under certainty, decisions under risk, and decisions under uncertainty. Of these types, the first two are relevant for this discussion.  72 Rational choice in certainty, or riskiess choice, follows the principle of ‘utility maximization’. Utility maximization, according to Elster (1989a), is simply a convenient way of saying that one does what one most prefers. It assumes that the individual can rank all the alternatives open to him or her in order of preference and will then select the course of action that yields the most desirable consequence. The most preferred alternative is the one which yields the most utility; “to maximize utility is therefore to select the alternative you like best” (Heath, 1976, p.8). The second type of decision, decision under risk, prescribes that individuals should maximize expected utility. This is achieved by calculating the expected value of available courses of action by weighing the possible gains or losses [utility value] by the probability of their occurrence. Implicit is the notion that the better one’s chance of getting something, the more likely one is to try it (Heath, 1976). According to Heath (1976), in order to maximize expected utility the individual must: consider each of the possible outcomes of a given course of action, assess the utility of each, multiply the utility by the probability of the outcome’s occurrence, sum the products, and compare this sum of the products with the sum of products of other courses of action. (p.84)  Decision making under risk requires that individuals rely on their ‘subjective probabilities’ or informed hunches. According to this version of rational choice theory, the action to be taken is the one that has associated with it the highest expected utility (Elster, 1989a, p.28). Choice regarding post-high school destination is generally assumed to be a decision under risk. According to Härnqvist (1978) participation in post secondary education requires not only the actions of the deciding individual, . (p.l ) but also acceptance by the selecting agency 8  73 rationality Boudon (1976) provides an elaborate account of what he calls 11 theory”. Claiming that people behave according to their own interests in the sense that they attempt to maximize the utility of their decisions, Boudon maintains that specific conclusions on variations in inequality of educational opportunity may be drawn. He provides the following example: let us assume that two children, one from a middle-class and one from a lower class Let us further family, are located at the same point of the Cartesian space suppose that at some stage these children have to choose between, say, a general and This effect will a vocational course or between staying in or leaving school. probably be reinforced if not only the youngsters but also the family take part in the decision process. The expected benefit which is perceived as attached to a given course will probably be differently evaluated by the families, exactly as the issue is likely to be differently evaluated by the youngsters. Generally, let us assume that youngsters and families must at some time choose between alternative a and alternative b a being more likely to lead to a higher social status. Then we may say that the expected benefit of choosing a rather than b is an increasing function of the family’s social status. The higher the social status, the higher the anticipated benefit associated with a. In summary, there is considerable empirical evidence to suggest that given two possible alternatives a and b (where a is associated with higher social expectations), the anticipated cost of a generally will be greater, the lower the social status of the family. In short, we can reasonably assume that the cost of choosing a over b will be a decreasing function of family status (Boudon, 1974, .  .  .  .  .  .  .  -  .  .  .  ) 0 p.29-3 Often in an economic explanation of post-secondary choice, admissible ends are restricted to the expected rate of return on investment. According to Stager (1989a; 1989b), one of the strongest influences on the enrolment decision is the individual’s assessment of the rate of return on educational investment. Investment in higher education depends on the expected rate of return, or the additional life-time earnings an individual expects to receive following graduation when compared with the costs of completing a post-secondary program. This method dictates that all benefits (earnings based on investment in post-secondary education) and all costs (tuition fees, books and other expenses, forgone earnings) associated with the choice are compared to determine whether the benefits exceed the costs. The calculation of the expected income  74 differential between post-secondary and high school graduates with the total costs, including forgone earnings leads to economic expectations about the benefits of attending post-secondary education. Stager (1989b) indicates that when properly applied, the basic logic of this type of cost-benefit analysis is 1 (p.2). “unassailable  Employment of rational choice theory may help explicate the means that individuals use to pursue certain goals. It does not, however, explain differences in preferences and desires, beliefs, reasons offered, amounts of information used, or costs and benefits considered. Elster (1989a) indicates that while an action is explained by considering the individual’s desires together with her or his beliefs about the opportunities, it is unclear how objective and subjective elements interact to produce an action. Mistaken beliefs and limited awareness of certain opportunities may result in the best means of realizing one’s desire not being chosen. As well, Elster avows, “at a further remove only opportunities matter since they also shape desires” (p.19). Yet, by employing rational choice theory to explain action, differences in opportunity sets remain unproblematic. How does a given opportunity set influence wants, desires, beliefs, and thus actions? Do wants, desires, and beliefs differ within and between groups of participants and non-participants? If so, what accounts for these differences? Or, in more general terms, what processes underlie the decisions people make in choosing whether or not to pursue a post-secondary education?  To pursue these questions, the work of Bourdieu, and Bourdieu and Passeron, which focusses on the complex mediating processes in education, will be utilized.  75  Bourdieus Theory of Practice  According to Bourdieu (1984), practices (action) can only be accounted for by illuminating the series of effects which underlie them. He proposes that the following formula be used to analyse these effects: [(habitus) (capital)]  +  field  =  practice  (p.101)  As specified in this formula, three concepts, capital, habitus, and field are central to Bourdieus theoretical formulation. In the next section, two forms of capital (cultural and social), habitus, and field are defined. According to Bourdieu (1984), primary differences distinguishing the major classes of conditions of existence, derive from the overall volume of capital possessed by an individual. Capital is defined as, “the set of actually usable resources and powers’ and exists as many types  -  as economic, cultural,  . Capital can exist in objectified form, such 16 4 (p.11 ) social, and symbolic capital as material properties, or in incorporated form as in cultural capital, and the kinds of capital “like trumps in a game of cards, are powers which define the chances of profit in a given field” (Bourdieu, 1991, p.Z3O).  Cultural Capital Of the forms of capital defined by Bourdieu that contribute to the reproduction of the structure of power relationships and symbolic relationships between classes, cultural capital has received the most attention. Stimulated by 16 Symbolic capital is defined as “prestige, reputation, fame, etc., which is the form assumed by these different kinds of capital when they are perceived and recognized as legitimate” (Bourdieu,  1983, p.Z3O).  76  the observation that discrepancies in ‘educational death rates” between social classes were not sufficiently explained by educational obstacles, Bourdieu (1986) states that the notion of cultural capital arose: as a theoretical hypothesis which made it possible to explain unequal scholastic achievement of children originating from different social classes by relating academic success, i.e. the specific profits which children from the different social classes and class fractions can obtain in the academic market, to the distribution of cultural capital between the classes and class fractions. (Bourdieu, 1986, p.243)  It is Bourdieu’s thesis that educational institutions, rather than being socially neutral institutions, are part of a larger universe of symbolic institutions that reproduce existing power relationships. The culture that is transmitted and rewarded by the educational system reflects the culture of the dominant class. Schools reinforce particular types of linguistic competence, authority patterns, and types of curricula. Children from higher social backgrounds acquire these cultural resources (that is, dispositions, behaviour, habits, good taste, savoir faire, and attitudes) at home, and enter the educational system already familiar with the dominant culture. Acquisition of the information and training offered by the school is dependent on the student’s ability to receive and decode it, which in turn depends on previously acquired cultural capital. According to Bourdieu and Passeron (1979): all teaching.. implicitly pressupposes a body of knowledge, skills, and above all, modes of expression which constitute heritage of the cultivated classes. Secondary schooling. conveys second-degree significations which takes for granted a whole treasury of first-degree experiences books found in the family library, ‘choice’ entertainments chosen by others, holidays organized as cultural pilgrimages, allusive conversations which only enlighten those already enlightened. It can only lead to a fundamental inequality in this game reserved for privileged persons, which all must enter because it presents itself adorned with universality. (p.22) .  .  .  .  .  -  Schools, however, do not teach the techniques required to receive and decode culture. For those students who already possess the requisite cultural resources,  77  adjustment to school is facilitated, and academic achievement is enhanced; children  who  lack  first-degree  experiences  are  handicapped.  Thus,  comprehension of the second-degree significations, reflected in academic achievement, becomes difficult, if not impossible. Because students with the requisite cultural capital are able to excel in school, cultural capital becomes objectified in the form of academic qualifications. In this way, cultural capital is converted into academic capital which is  academically sanctioned by legally guaranteed qualifications”  (Bourdieu, 1986, p.2z18). Over time, cultural capital is eventually converted to economic capital through the guarantee of monetary value of a given academic capital. Bourdieu (1986) explains that maximum appropriation of objectified cultural capital in the form of educational (or academic) capital depends on early transmission by families endowed with strong cultural capital, since “the precondition for fast, easy accumulation of every kind of useful cultural capital, starts at the outset, without delay, without wasted time, only for the offspring of families endowed with strong cultural capital” (Bourdieu, 1986, p.246). Thus, the acquisition of cultural rewards, is determined by the amount of cultural capital that is transmitted by the family. Families of higher social status transmit the culture which is the dominant culture. As a result, their children are more easily able to access academic rewards. Differential academic achievement is usually perceived to be the result of differential ability, rather than as a result of the volume and composition of cultural capital transmitted by the family; thus, domestic transmission of cultural capital is recognized as legitimate competence and is unrecognized as capital. As such, it remains the “best hidden and socially most determinant  78 educational investment” (Bourdieu, 1986, p. ). In this way, the educational 244 system contributes to the reproduction of the social structure through its sanctioning of the hereditary transmission of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986). Cultural capital is considered to be a key mechanism in the reproduction of the dominant culture through which background inequalities are converted into differential academic attainments and hence rewards. This is accomplished by producing and distributing a dominant culture that, as Giroux (1983) states, “tacitly confirms what it means to be educated” (p.87).  Social Capital The second form of capital included in cultural reproduction theory is that of social capital. According to Bourdieu (1986), social capital is: the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition in other words, membership in a group which provides each of its members with the backing of the collectively-owned capital, a ) 48 ‘credential’ which entitles them to credit, in the various senses of the word. (p.2 -  -  Social capital consists of social obligations or ‘connections’. Two criteria determine the volume of the social capital a given agent has at her or his disposal: first, the size of the network of connections that the agent can effectively mobilize, and second, the volume of capital (economic, cultural, or symbolic) possessed by each of those to whom the agent is connected (Bourdieu, 1986). Coleman (1988, 1990) also advances the notion of social capital, and provides a more complete, albeit somewhat different account. He states that ). 100 “social capital exists in the relations among persons” (Coleman, 1988, p.S That is, it is inherent in the structure of relations between persons and among  79 persons. It is not conceived as a single entity, but a variety of different entities, each possessing two common characteristics: 1) some aspect of a social structure, and 2) the facilitation of certain actions of individuals who are within the structure. Social capital, like other forms of capital, is productive; it actuates the achievement of certain ends that would be unattainable in its absence (Coleman, 1990). Coleman (1988) maintains that social capital exists in three forms: as obligations and expectations, as information channels, and as social norms. Obligations and Expectations. Obligations are conceptualized as a network of outstanding credit slips, which are reciprocally called in, as required, by the holders. Two elements, trustworthiness among group members, and the extent of the obligations held, are necessary for this form of social capital to work. Coleman explains: If A does something for B and trusts B to reciprocate in the future, this establishes an expectation in A and an obligation on the part of B. This obligation can be conceived as a credit slip held by A for performance by B. If A holds a large number of these slips, for a number of persons with whom A has relations, then the analogy to financial capital is direct. These credit slips constitute a large body of credit that A can call in if necessary unless, of course, the placement of trust has been unwise, and these are bad debts that will not be repaid. (S102) -  Individual actors differ not only on the number of outstanding credit slips in their possession, but whether or not they are included in a given network of this form of social capital. Those ‘in’ the network are more powerful than those excluded. Information Channels. Coleman asserts that the potential for information, inherent in social relations, is an important form of capital, for information provides an important basis for action. This is consistent with the requirement of sufficient information posited in the theory of practical rationality. Information,  80 however, is expensive and requires vigilance. Coleman suggests that one way of appropriating information is through the use of social relations which are maintained for other purposes. He provides an example of an individual, wishing to keep abreast with current events but finds little time to do so, depends on a well-informed spouse or parents to keep her or him informed. According to Bourdieu, one of the most valuable types of information transmitted by inherited cultural capital is practical or theoretical knowledge of current and future worth of academic qualifications. The ‘informed’ individual is thus able to invest wisely, including pulling out of devalued disciplines at propitious moments, in order to achieve the best return for her or his inherited cultural and educational capital. Those poorly informed about the diploma market lack the social capital to differentiate between the value of various types of education (e.g. between community college and university). By attributing more value on educational credentials than that which is objectively acknowledged, they continue to participate in education of less worth, and “become, in a sense, accomplices in their own mystification” (Bourdieu, 1984, ) 42 p.l Norms and Effective Sanctions. According to Coleman, the existence of effective norms provides a powerful form of social capital. For example, community norms providing effective rewards for academic achievement, greatly facilitate the school’s role. Norms such as these, however, can be both facilitating and constraining. Recognition of achievement in academic courses, but neglect of other types of achievement, may stifle actions which deviate from the norm but would actually benefit the deviant individual as well as others. This may result in reduction of innovation in a given area.  81 One or more of these forms of social capital, used in simplex or multiplex relations (Gluckrnan, 1967), facilitate actions of actors. In a multiplex relationship, linkages among people occur in more than one context, allowing for appropriation of resources among the various relations. An example relevant to this study would include the interrelated linkage of a student with parents, guidance counsellors, someone in the aspired profession, and a family friend who is knowledgeable about post-secondary education. While linkages between the student and various individuals may exist in a simplex relationship, they would not be interrelated. Bourdieu (1986) adds another dimension to social capital. He argues that members of the dominant culture, who tend to increasingly emphasize educational investment, are also able to use social capital as a way of “evading scholastic verdicts”. That is, through the use of social capital in the form of ‘a helping hand, ‘string-pulling’, and/or the ‘old boy network’, the effect of academic sanctions may be corrected.  Habitus Most simply, habitus is a system of dispositions which are created and recreated as objective structures and personal history converge. Disposition, for Bourdieu, has a three-fold meaning. First, it is the result of an organizing action, thus similar to the word structure. Second, it implies a way of being, a habitual state. Third, and most important, it expresses the idea of predisposition, tendency, propensity, or inclination (Bourdieu, 197Th). As such, habitus is “history turned into nature” (Bourdieu, 197Th, p. ). Bourdieu (197Th) provides 78 the following definition:  82 the habitus, a product of history, produces individual and collective practices more history in accordance with the schemes generated by history. It ensures the active presence of past experiences, which, deposited in each organism in the form of schemes of perception, thought and action, tend to guarantee the ‘correctness of practices and their constancy over time, more reliably than all formal rules and explicit norms. The habitus is a system of dispositions “a present past that tends to perpetuate itself into the future by reactivation in similarly structured practices, an internal law through which the law of external necessities, irreducible to immediate ) 4 constraints, is constantly exerted. (p.5 -  -  and the habitus is necessity internalized and converted into a disposition that generates meaningful practices and meaning-giving perceptions; it is a general, transposable disposition which carries out a systematic, universal application beyond the limits of what has been directly learnt of the necessity inherent in learning conditions. ) 70 (Bourdieu, 1984, p.1 -  -  The habitus is a practice-unifying and practice-generating principle that is capable of generating an infinity of practices depending on changing objective situations. The habitus, as a generative principle, is limited only by objective structures. Structures are portrayed as systems of objective relations which are imparted to individuals which they pre-exist and survive. The structures which constitute a particular type of environment produce the habitus, and is therefore a ‘structured structure’, which, in turn, predisposes it to be a ‘structuring structure’ as the generating principles are inculcated and become “objectively ‘regulated’ and ‘regular” (Bourdieu, 197Th, p. ). 72 Kennett (1973) likens the habitus to DNA coding in organisms. Once the habitus is sufficiently developed, it begins to generate an appropriate inodus operandi by informing and reproducing that which is deemed ‘appropriate’ in new contexts. Because the habitus is structured, it also possesses a structuring nature. Thus:  83 the ‘informed’ individual comes to find ‘naturally’ within him the cognitive and expressive styles that legitimate his eventual place in the social structure. The forming of the habitus may be regarded as the programming of the individual and the group to which he ‘belongs’, the handing down of the code which reaps its harvest in the educational system leading to ‘legitimized’ places in the social hierarchy. (Kennett, 1973,p.242)  According to Bourdieu, actions (or practices) are neither mechanically  determined nor the result of creative free will. Rather, practices are “determined by past conditions which have produced the principle of their production” (Bourdieu, 1977b, p.73). He asserts that when agents’ actions are described as a conscious adjustment of their aspirations to an exact evaluation of their chances of success, it is assumed that probabilities are calculated based on spontaneous dispositions. He suggests, instead, that unlike scientific estimations of probabilities, when an individual undertakes a practical evaluation of the likelihood of his or her success, “a whole body of wisdom, sayings, commonplaces, ethical precepts (‘that’s not for the likes of us’), and at a deeper 17 level, the unconscious principles of ethos  .  .  .  determines ‘reasonable’ and  ‘unreasonable’ conduct for every agent subjected to those regularities” is introduced (Bourdieu, 1977b, p.77). Even when practices appear as the realization of the explicit, and explicitly stated, purposes of a project or plan, these practices are, in reality, produced by the habitus, which is the strategygenerating principle enabling agents to cope with unforseen and ever-changing situations (Bourdieu, 197Th). Dispositions are durably instilled by objective conditions, and thus generate aspirations and practices which are objectively compatible with those objective requirements. In this way, the most improbable aspirations and  17 Bourdieu (1974) defines ethos as “a system of implicit and deeply interiorized values which,  among other things, helps to define attitudes toward cultural capital and educational ). 0 institutions” (ph  84 practices are excluded from one’s repertoire of choices. Exclusion results because practices are perceived as either unthinkable, and therefore not examined, or as a result of double negation which “inclines agents to make a virtue of necessity, that is, refuse what is anyway refused and love the inevitable” (Bourdieu, 1977b, p.77). He adds that it is rather like an example provided by Leibniz, in which “the magnetic needle  .  .  .  actually enjoying turning northwards” (p.77). This is  what Bourdieu calls the hysteresis effect, in which practices are susceptible to negative sanction when individuals are confronted with an environment which is too remote from the one to which they are objectively and ‘naturally’ fifted (Bourdieu, 1977b). It is due to the hysteresis of habitus, which he states is inherent in the social conditions of the reproduction of the structures in habitus, that a structural lag exists between opportunities and the dispositions to grasp ). The hysteresis effect is 83 them, thereby resulting in missed opportunities (p. similar to Elster’s (1983) mechanism of “sour grapes”, a mechanism of cognitive dissonance reduction which acts to ensure that there is no option outside the opportunity set that is preferred to the most preferred option within it. The habitus, as a concept, is relevant both at the individual level and group or class level. Group or class habitus exists because individuals of a particular class or group are exposed to homogeneous conditions of existence, and thus are the product of dispositions because of internalization of the same objective structures. This enables practices to be objectively harmonized without conscious intention, explicit co-ordination, or direct interaction; in other words it occurs as “conductorless orchestration”. In this way, the same class is endowed with an objective meaning that is both unitary and systematic, and transcends “subjective intentions and conscious projects whether individual or collective” (Bourdieu, 1977b, p.Sl). While it is not possible for all members of the same class  85  to have had the same experiences, in the same sequence, members of the same class are more likely than members of another class to have faced situations most commonly experienced by members of that class (Bourdieu, 197Th).  Field Bourdieu (1991) describes the social world as represented in the form of a multi-dimensional space comprised of intersecting fields. Agents, or groups of agents, are “defined by their relative positions in this space” (p. O). Each agent is 23 confined to one, and only one, position. A set of active properties which constitutes this multi-dimensional social space is able to confer force or power on the agents who occupy it. Since these properties selected in the construction of this space are active properties, the space can also be described as a field of forces --“as a set of objective power relations imposed on all those who enter this field, relations which are not reducible to the intentions of individual agents or even to direct interactions between agents” (Bourdieu, 1991, p.Z3O). The active properties that construct the social space are the different kinds of power or capital relevant to a given field. Thus, the position occupied by a given agent in the social space is defined by the position that she or he occupies in the different fields (of which the educational field is one) and in the distribution of powers that are active in each field. These powers or capital are economic capital, cultural capital, social capital, and symbolic capital. He summarizes:  86 the social field can be described as a multi-dimensional space of positions such that each actual position can be defined in terms of a multi-dimensional system of co ordinates whose values correspond to the values of the different pertinent variables. Agents are thus distributed, in the first dimension, according to the overall volume of the capital they possess, and in the second dimension, according to the composition of their capital in other words according to the relative weight of the different kinds of capital in the total set of their assets. (Bourdieu, 1991, p.Z31) -  Success at accessing the specific profits offered by a field (for example, the academic requirements necessary to gain admission to university) depends on 1) the configuration of the various forms of capital which is socially or legally recognized as legitimate in a particular field, and 2) the relative positions of agents (dictated by the volume and composition of capital with which one enters the game) in the field. Every position, even the most dominant one, is dependent on the other positions which constitute the field. Thus: the structure of the field, i.e. the space of positions, is nothing other than the structure of the distribution of the capital of specific properties which governs success in the field and the winning of the external or specific profits. which are at stake in the field. (Bourdieu, 1983, p.312) .  .  The social trajectory of a given individual arises from the intersection of the different fields (Robbins, 1991). Harker (1990) explains that in the educational field, agents struggle for capital in the form of credentials. The educational field may be viewed not only as a field of forces, but also as a field of struggles which tends to transform or conserve the field as a field of forces. Occupants of various positions in the field are oriented, through the network of objective relations between the positions, to the strategies which may be implemented in their struggles to either defend or ameliorate their positions. The usefulness and eventual success of implementing these strategies, however, depends on the original position occupied by each agent (Bourdieu, 1983, p.3t3).  87  In order to adjust to the demands of a given field requires that one possess “a feel for the game” (Bourdieu, 1990b, p. ) which he describes as the 66 meeting of the incorporated history of the habitus of an individual and the objectified history of a particular social field. A “feel for the game” is produced by experience with the game, and thus experience with the “objective structures within which it is played out” (p.66). An individual who is born into the game and born with the game has a natural advantage over those not born into the game, because: native membership in a field implies a feel for the game in the sense of a capacity for practical anticipation of the ‘upcoming’ future contained in the present, everything that takes place in it seems sensible: full of sense and objectivity directed in a judicious direction. (Bourdieu, 1990b, p.66)  A Theory of Practice and Post-high School Destination  Bourdieu (1977a, 1986) claims that as groups and organizations within society purport to adopt policies that support equality of opportunity, dominant groups increasingly adopt other indirect mechanisms of reproduction. In the case of equality of opportunity in post-secondary education, the demise of direct mechanisms of reproduction (ascriptive forces such as social position, gender, and race) and adoption of selection policies based on meritocratic criteria, results in the emergence of other indirect mechanisms of reproduction, in the form of cultural capital and social capital. These forms of capital originate within the family domain, are transmitted via the educational system, and are converted into educational capital. In this way, social origin, in the guise of cultural and social capital, is able to “exert its influence throughout the whole  88 duration of schooling, particularly at the great turning points of a school career’ (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1979, p.l ). They assert that: 3 the chances of entering higher education can be seen as the product of a selection process which, throughout the school system, is applied with very unequal severity, depending on the student’s social origin. In fact, for the most disadvantaged classes, it is purely and simply a matter of eliminahon. (p.2)  Rather than direct exclusion, however, which is no longer sanctioned, other forms of exclusion occur. Lamont and Lareau (1988) summarize the four major forms of exclusion identified by Bourdieu, and Bourdieu and Passeron: self-elimination, overselection, relegation, and direct elimination. They indicate that the first three forms of elimination are distinguished from direct elimination by their ‘elective affinities’ which are based on similarities in taste. The influence of cultural capital, social capital, and habitus on each of these forms of exclusion, is considered in the next section.  Self-elimination Self-elimination is the work of the habitus. It occurs when individuals adjust their aspirations to their perceived chances of success. Individuals also exclude themselves from specific social situations in which they feel uncomfortable because they lack familiarity with specific cultural norms. In relation to post-high school destinations, self-elimination occurs when individuals with credentials to attend post-secondary education choose instead not to attend. Reasons provided for non-attendance may be the unlikely probability of success or unfamiliarity with post-secondary life. More likely, according to Lamont and Lareau (1988), participation in post-secondary education is described as undesirable, based on beliefs of its questionable value,  89 thus ‘not for me’. Similar reasons would be provided for choice of community college over university.  Overselection Overselection results when individuals who possess less valued resources are subjected to the same selection processes as those who are privileged. In other words, their handicap, limited capital, is not taken into account, and they are required to perform equally well as those who possess more valued resources. Thus, they are required to perform more than others. In the case of overselection, the existence of a relationship between educational levels of parents and academic achievement of children, which in turn affects participation levels of children in higher education is consistent with an explanation of parental transmission of cultural capital. Evidence of the influence of social capital is consistent with the existence of disadvantaged individuals who are less subject to the positive influence of significant others (e.g. parents, guidance counsellors), less well informed, less likely to be in environments with strong positive educational norms, and less likely to be in muliplex relations. A relationship would exist between participation in post secondary education and some or all of these factors. The influence of economic capital would be related to the effect of fees and distance from post-secondary institutions on participation.  90 Relegation Individuals who possess less valued resources are relegated to less desirable positions. Ultimately, they get less out of their educational investment. According to Bourdieu and Passeron (1979): for students from the lower classes who have survived elimination, the initial disadvantages have evolved: their social past has been transformed into an educational handicap through relay mechanisms such as early, often ill-informed ) 4 decisions, forced choices, or lost time. (p.1 A relationship between curricular differentiation (at both the secondary and post-secondary level) of the student and the student’s family background is consistent with an explanation of parental transmission of cultural capital. Possession of social capital would be demonstrated by knowledge of pre requisite courses, and qualitative differences among the various types of post secondary institutions. Table 4 summarizes the relationship between capital and habitus on the different forms of exclusion:  91 Table 4. Relation to Capital and Habitus. in Exclusion Forms of Overselection  Relegation  Direct Exclusion  Cultural Capital  • Presence of a relationship between parents’ social background and educational capital of child.  • Association between curricular differentiation of student and social class of parent.  • In the form of academic capital either as an un acceptable GPA, or as unrecognized credentials.  Social Capital  • Relationship between information channels, ‘connections’, influence of significant others, presence of educ ational norms and parental social class.  • Knowledgeability of student about pre requisites, different institutions.  Economic Capital  • Ability to afford fees, . Distance from post-secondary education.  Selfelimination  Habitus  • Disposition toward postsecondary education e.g. “it’s not for me” or “I always knew I would go’. . Acceptance of academic ability, as defined by the dominant culture.  • Acceptance of the need to 1) seek out student loans, 2) go to a conimunity college when desires, beliefs and abilities indicate that university would be a better choice.  -  • Lack of money to pay fees.  • Acceptance of one’s place in the educational hierarchy, i.e. satisfaction with curricular choices, limitations.  Together, these forms of elimination or exclusion, assessed consciously or unconsciously, present an image of higher education as an “impossible,”  92 ‘possible’, or “natural” future. Direct exclusion is no longer necessary, since everything occurs as if those who were eliminated, excluded themselves. Evidence of the existence of indirect forms of elimination is provided when, despite the standardizing influences of thirteen years of schooling, differences in affitude and ability, and participation are significantly related to social origin (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1979). The lack of clearly delineated educational streams or tracks, according to Bourdieu (1984) encourages and entertains blurred and fuzzy aspirations, which facilitates the process of indirect elimination. He continues: whereas the old system tended to produce clearly demarcated social identities which left little room for social fantasy but were comfortable and reassuring even in the unconditional renunciation which they demanded, the new system of structural instability in the representation of social identity and its legitimate aspirations tends to shift agents from the terrain of social crisis and critique to the terrain of personal critique and crisis” (Bourdieu, 1984, p.1 ) 56  Bourdieu  comments  that  it is  significant  that divisions, while loosely  differentiated throughout elementary and secondary school, are sharply clarified at the points where access to the dominant class is decided. In Canada, these divisions occur at the point of entry into higher education. However, even within systems of higher education, subtley ranked paths and skilfully disguised ‘dumping grounds’ help to blur perception of its hierarchies (Bourdieu, 1984).  93 Reproduction and Agency While the influence of social origin, transmitted as cultural and social capital through the habitus, is relevant to the choice of post-high school destination, action does not take the form of mechanical determinism. Family background provides individuals with social, cultural, and economic capital. This capital, however, must be actively invested. As Jencks et al. (1983) indicate: while individuals with high SES parents, high aptitude scores, high grades, and college-bound friends all enjoy appreciable occupational advantages, they only do so if they get more schooling than average. (p.6)  When used rationally, educational success is facilitated by the possession of various forms of capital. Through shrewd investment of the capital at hand, even individuals from the most disadvantaged classes, those who are most likely to be “crushed by the weight of their social destiny”, are able to overcome their excessive handicap, and thus “avoid the common fate of their class” (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1979, p.25). Bourdieu (1976) uses the analogy of players in a card game to . Cards 18 demonstrate how individuals, as agents, invest various forms of capital dealt to the players represent social, cultural, and economic capital. The outcome of the game depends on the nature of the hand dealt, whose strength is defined by the 1) rules of the game, and 2) the degree of skill with which the hand is played. Thus, strategy plays an important role in profiting from the various types of resources (Bourdieu, 1976; Lamont & Lareau, 1988). Cultural, social, and economic capital can be invested and converted in to one another to  18 Although Bourdieu uses this example as an illustration of marriage strategies, it seems equally relevant to educational strategies.  94 maximize one’s upward mobility (Bourdieu, 1985). In this way, individuals, directed by the habitus, are able to act on their resources.  Destinations, Determinants, and Decisions  Admission into the Canadian system of higher education is determined exclusively on the basis of academic achievement and curricular differentiation. It is, to use Turner’s (1960) term, a system of contest mobility, and the rules of the game are defined according to meritocratic principles. That is, academic capital, in the form of a high school graduation diploma, is the only requirement for entrance into some form of post-secondary education. University entrance requires certain prerequisite academic courses and a minimum grade point average. Given a rational choice explanation of post-secondary participation, it would be expected that individuals would apply to and attend post-secondary institutions most compatible with their grade point averages and prerequisites  --  in other words, their actions should be based on evidence optimal to the decision at hand. Also, wants and desires regarding participation in postsecondary education, the beliefs that form the basis for wants and desires, and reasons provided for actions, should be based on evidence (as described in Chapter 2). However, given the explanations provided by Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice, relationships should be detected between curricular differentiation and social and cultural capital transmitted by the family (relegation), academic achievement and social class background (overselection), and among social and  95 cultural capital, dispositions (or habitus) toward post-secondary education, and participation (self-elimination). In Chapter 4, research questions and related conceptual frameworks to explore these relationships are developed from the bodies of literature reviewed in this chapter.  Summary  This chapter began with a review of two dominant bodies of literature on educational attainment and participation, the social stratification perspective and research on status attainment. From this review, a model of educational choice as proposed by Härnqvist was deemed to provide a comprehensive framework on which to base analyses of the macro-processes of educational choice by  non-participants,  non-university participants,  and  university  participants. Next, in order to pursue the micro-processes of educational choice, rational choice theory, from both a practical reasoning and technical rationality perspective, offered one approach to the examination of how individuals act in relation to the individual and institutional determinants in Härnqvists model. Finally, the introduction of Bourdieus Theory of Practice and related concepts of cultural capital, social capital, habitus, and field presented another avenue to examine the processes which underlie the decisions people make in choosing whether or not to pursue post-secondary education.  Chapter 4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS, CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS, AND HYPOTHESES  Why is it that some students do not continue to the post-secondary system following high school graduation? Why do other students proceed directly to post-secondary education? Of those who do continue, why do they choose one type of institution over another? It is clear from the previous two chapters that the problem of educational choice may be conceptualized and analysed in a variety of ways. In Chapter 3 several approaches to post-secondary participation were reviewed. Also, two theories Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice  --  --  rational choice theory and  were presented as providing possible  explanations for how individuals arrive at various post-high school destinations. In order to grasp the complexity of how individuals arrive at various post-high school destinations, three separate but interrelated questions, each requiring a particular conceptual and/or methodological approach, are advanced. In this chapter, the research questions and related conceptual frameworks are presented. The conceptual frameworks are based on the Härnqvist’s determinants of educational choice, rational choice theory primarily as posited by Elster, and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice. Together they provide a comprehensive heuristic for exploring factors affecting participation in post secondary education, the social processes behind these actions, and individuals perceptions and understandings of these processes.  96  97 Question 1. What factors influence whether and where one participates in postsecondary education? and  institutional  determinants  of  l.a.  What are the individual educational choice?  l.b.  What combination of individual and institutional determinants discriminate between participants and non-participants? That is, do participants and non-participants possess different opportunity sets?  In order to address the first set of questions, Härnqvists framework of educational choice, as depicted in Figure 5 (Chapter 3) has been recast into an analytical model, as portrayed in Figure 7. In this model, individual and institutional determinants of educational choice are framed within the context of the social and cultural conditions and labour markets and the economy, as described in Chapter 2. Employment of Härnqvists framework allows for an exploration of the relationship between individual and institutional determinants of educational choice and whether and where one participates in post-secondary education following high school graduation. The nature of opportunity sets, and thus the differential impact of the determinants possessed by non-participants, nonuniversity participants, and university participants, may be revealed. As indicated in Chapter 3, however, illumination of these relationships will not reveal how and why certain individual and institutional variables influence choice. Different factors are determinants, of course, only in the sense that while individuals make choices, they do not always do so under conditions of their own choosing (Giddens, 1984). Of interest in this study is whether and how individuals overcome or succumb to constraining factors and whether they recognize, acknowledge, and embrace enabling factors. Thus, in order to begin to  98  Labour Markets and the Economy Social and Cultural Conditions  Individual Determinants of Educational Choice I. Student Characteristics -sex -GPA interests expectations beliefs —  II. Personal Environment a. family background parents’ education parents’occupation parents’ influence other family members’ influence b. peer group c. school climate school district size • socioeconomic status of school district % of gr.12 graduates on honour roll in s d -  -  -  -  ¼  -  .  -  Non participant  University ¼ ¼  Institutional Determinants o  ¼  •  ¼  ¼  EducationalSystem  i) Conditions antecedent to choice a curricular differentiation university entrance requirements b. guidance organization teachers’ influence counsellors’ influence number of sources of information used -  I  -  -  ¼ ¼  -  ii) Conditions anticipated in the choice situation a. geographic availability distance from nearest university distance from nearest community college b. study finance total number of awards received -  ¼  -  ¼  -  I  I  I  L.  L  .T4qure 7’: etenninant.c ofrEilucationalCñoice  99 unravel how these relationships are created and reproduced, a second question is posed:  Question 2. What processes underlie the decisions people make in choosing whether or not to pursue a post-secondary education?  As reviewed in Chapter 3, rational choice theory is often used to explain s post-high school 1 educational choice. Given the problem of deciding about one destination, a rational choice, in the sense of practical rationality, would have been made if: an individual chose the post-high school destination that was the best means of realizing her wants and desires, given her beliefs; that her beliefs were optimal, or true given the available evidence; and finally, that an optimal amount of evidence was gathered (Figure 8).  59qure 8. R.çtiortaCClwice ‘Theory aost-Iig11ScIioo(Statu.c.  100 According to tenets of technical rationality, an individual would have behaved rationally if he calculated the expected value of available post-high school options by weighing the utility of each possible outcome by the estimated probability of that outcome. Or more specifically, rational action would require that individuals calculate their expected rates of return on investment in further education. Thus, one way of unravelling the processes behind the decisions individuals make about life after high school is to determine whether and to what extent rational choice theory helps to make sense of students’ actions. The following questions may be posed:  2.a.  Do individuals use the tenets of practical rationality when making decisions about post-high school destinations? 2.a.i.  Do students make choices based on wants and desires, given their beliefs?  2.a.ii.  Are these beliefs optimal, or true, given the available evidence?  2.a.iii. Has an optimal amount of evidence been collected in order to justify one’s choice?  2.b.  To what extent is a technical account of rationality relevant in describing actions? 2.b.i.  Under conditions of risk, do students calculate the expected value of available options by weighing the utility of each possible outcome by the estimated probability of that outcome? Do individuals choose the action that has the highest expected utility?  2.b.ii.  Do individuals calculate their expected rates of return on investment in further education?  101 Employment of the principles of rational choice theory may be useful in elucidating, as Figure 8 portrays, whether individuals act according to their desires, given their beliefs and in light of available evidence. Also, it may be determined whether desires, beliefs, and the collection of evidence differ between groups of participants and non-participants. However, while rational choice theory may reveal that differences do exist, it does not explain why or how these differences arose. As Hindess (1988) asserts, rational choice “accords a very limited role to the significance of social structure or social relations for actors and their actions” (p. ). Nor does it take 36 into consideration the “processes of deliberation” among beliefs, desires, and action (p.6). Bourdieu,in what he calls a Theory of Practice, argues that the concepts of cultural capital, social capital, and dispositions toward post-secondary education (habitus) are superior to those advanced by rational choice theory in explaining action. The relationship between these concepts and post-high school destinations is outlined in Figures 9 and 10.  .!Tiqure 9. Cultural Capital aiuf Post-fliqfl. SchoolStatus.  102  As Figure 9 portrays, parents as sources of cultural capital directly affect their children’s dispositions toward post-secondary education and the amount of academic capital accrued over the high school years. The subsequent relationship between dispositions toward post-secondary education and academic capital is reciprocal; that is, dispositions impact on academic capital and vice versa. In turn, dispositions toward post-secondary education and academic capital directly affect post-high school status. In this study, social capital is conceptualized as existing in two forms  --  as  primary social capital as supplied by the family and as secondary social capital acquired through relationships with school personnel and friends. The effects of primary and secondary social capital are illustrated by the presence and direction of paths as depicted in Figure 10.  103  Fqure 10. Social Capital an  ost-I1ig! Sc!oolStatus.  To ascertain the relationship between cultural capital, social capital, beliefs about and dispositions toward post-secondary education, academic and enabling capital on the post-high school status of the individual, the following questions may be asked:  104 2.c.i.  How and to what extent do parents as sources of cultural and primary social capital directly and indirectly affect the post-high school status of their children?  2.c.ii.  Do counsellors, teachers, and friends as sources of secondary social capital influence the post-high school destinations of high school students?  This study, however, endeavours to go one step further. In his study of educational opportunity in Italy, Gambetta (1987) concluded that: educational decisions are the joint result of three main processes: of what one can do, of what one wants to do, and, indirectly, of the conditions that shape on&s preferences and intentions. They are partly the result of causality and partly of intentionality. (p.168-9)  Guided by this conclusion, the following question is posed: 2.d.  What is the relationship between the concepts advanced in rational choice theory and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice?  Rather than treating these two theories as competing, a conceptual model of Post-high School Status, as presented in Figure 11, is proposed. This model arises from the previous set of research questions and integrates concepts central to rational choice theory and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice in order to provide a detailed portrait of the processes behind individuals educational decisions. The model, as illustrated in Figure 11, includes eight constructs. They are: sources of cultural capital, sources ofprimary social capital, beliefs about post-secondary education, academic capital, sources of secondary social capital, dispositions toward post secondary education, enabling capital, and post-high school status. As with s framework, this model of Post-high School Status is framed by the t Härnqvist larger social, cultural, and economic context. Justification for the causal arrangement of the constructs in this model has been explored in Chapters 2 and 3. Hypotheses indicating predicted  LFiqure 11.  Sv1ot[e1 ofPost-fiigfiSc1woCStatus  Qi  106 relationships between paths and their directions, as illustrated in Figure 11, are specified in the next section. While these hypotheses specify only the predicted direct effects of one construct on another, the model in its entirety is expected to best explain post-high school status. Thus, indirect effects are also expected.  Hypotheses  Hypothesis One. It is hypothesized that the effects of the two exogenous variables, sources of cultural capital, and sources of primary social capital, and one endogenous variable, sources of secondary social capital, will have positive effects on beliefs about post-secondary education.  Hypothesis Two. One exogenous variable, sources of cultural capital, and two endogenous variables, beliefs about post-secondary education and dispositions, is predicted to have positive effects on academic capitaL  Hypothesis Three. It is hypothesized that the two exogenous variables  --  sources  of cultural capital and sources ofprimary social capital will have positive effects on -  sources of secondary social capital.  Hypothesis Four. The two exogenous variables sources of primary social capital  --  --  sources of cultural capital and  and sources of secondary social capital, beliefs about  post-secondary education, and academic capital are hypothesized to have positive effects on dispositions toward post-secondary education. That is, a non-recursive or reciprocal path between academic capital and dispositions toward post-secondary education is hypothesized.  107 Hypothesis Five. Three endogenous variables, academic capital, sources of secondary social capital, and dispositions toward post-secondary education are predicted to have positive effects on enabling capital.  Hypothesis Six. It is hypothesized that one exogenous variable, sources of primary social capital, and three endogenous variables including academic capital, dispositions toward post-secondary education, and enabling capital will have positive effects on post-high sciwol status.  Furthermore, both sources of cultural capital and sources of primary social capital are predicted to have strong indirect effects on post-high school status. Sources of cultural capital is not, however, predicted to have a direct effect on posthigh school status. One final question, which focuses directly on the actor, is advanced. Question 3.  How do students perceive the processes underlying their decisions  regarding their post-high school destinations?  The model of Post-high School Status, as proposed in Figure 11, is used in Chapters 8 and 9 to further unravel the processes, and the perceptions of these processes, which lie behind the decisions individuals make when contemplating whether and where to participate in post-secondary education. This set of research questions, and conceptual frameworks based on Härnqvist’s conceptualization of the determinants of educational choice, rational choice theory as explicated primarily by Elster, and Bourdieus Theory of Practice, is intended to help explain the relevant determinants of educational  108 choice, the processes behind the decisions people make in choosing whether or not to pursue post-secondary education, and individuals’ perceptions of these processes. In the next chapter, a description of the data sources, instruments and methods of data collection, and details of the survey sample and interview sample is provided. The observed variables and formulation of the latent constructs are described in detail in Chapter 6. Questions 1 and 2 are explored in using discrirninant function analysis in Chapter 7 and structural equation modelling (LISREL) in Chapter 8. Question 3 is investigated in Chapter 8 through the use of indepth interviews with Grade 12 students.  Chapter 5 RESEARCH DESIGN  Given the nature of the research questions and the conceptual frameworks as described in Chapter 4, the strategy of multiple triangulation was employed in this study. That is, multiple sources of data and methodologies were used with the intent of providing a rich, composite depiction of educational choice. This chapter includes a description of the data sources, details of the samples, instruments and methods of data collection, and preparation of the data. The chapter concludes with a statement of delimitations and limitations. Three sources of data have been used in this study: 1) data from the Link File Data Base, 2) data generated by the Grade 12 Graduate Follow-Up survey questionnaire, and 3) interviews conducted with a sample of Grade 12 students who were in the process of making decisions regarding post-high school destinations. Each source of data will be described separately.  Link File Data Base The Link File Data Base is a data base of confidential individual student records from British Columbia secondary schools, colleges, institutes, and universities. The purpose of this data base is to provide a clear picture of students as they progress through the entire educational system. It is comprised of two separate data files  -  a transcript file and a post-secondary institution file. The  transcript file contains pre-tertiary level information about the individual such as school district attended, provincial examination results, and grade point average  109  110 earned. The post-secondary institution file documents information about postsecondary status such as post-secondary institution attended, major program area, and discipline cluster. The data, of which these files are comprised, are submitted by the various British Columbia educational institutions to the B.C. Research Corporation. The B.C. Research Corporation is entrusted with its management. The Link File Project data base served two purposes in this study. First, it was used to generate the sample of individuals surveyed in the Grade 12 Graduate Follow-Up survey questionnaire, and second, information available in the Link File data base was merged with questionnaire data to provide a comprehensive data set.  Grade 12 Graduate Follow-Up Survey Data  In May 1989, a survey of Grade 12 graduates was conducted by the British Columbia Research Corporation and the British Columbia Institute of Technology, under contract with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training. Two of the primary purposes of this survey were to “collect fundamental, student-based information” (British Columbia Research, Corporation, 1990a, p.2) and “to investigate reasons why students choose to go, or not to go, to post-secondary education” (p.4). In this study, 10,000 Grade 12 graduates of the 1988 cohort were sent a survey questionnaire entitled Grade 12 Graduate Follow-Up. Respondents included both non-participants and participants in the post-secondary system. The following sections describe the target and frame population, stratification and sampling strategy, return rates, and representativeness of the sample.  111 The Sample  During the 1987/88 school year, approximately 43,800 students were enrolled in Grade 12 in British Columbia. Of these enrollees, 28,677 fulfilled the requirements for Grade 12 graduation. The latter group, the Grade 12 graduates, was defined as the target population for this study. The frame population differs from the target population in two ways: noncoverage and foreign elements. Of the 28,677 graduates, only 23,428 records, representing 82% of the target population, were available in the Link File data base. This figure represents those students who granted permission to the Ministry of Education, at the time of writing provincial examinations, to release their Grade 12 records for research purposes. Total Graduates  Permission Granted  Permission Refused  28,667 (100%)  23,428 (82%)  5,247 (18%)  Since records of the 18% who did not give permission to release their records are not available for comparison, the characteristics of this group remain unknown. Refusal to grant permission for release of records creates an inexorable noncoverage problem, and a limitation of this study. Of the remaining 23,428 graduates, 127 were from the Yukon. They were treated as foreign elements and eliminated from the population. Thus, the frame population consists of 23,301 Grade 12 graduates.  112 Sampling Strategy  The frame population was divided into two groups according to postsecondary status (participant and non-participant) as identified by the Link File Data Base. Each of these groups was then stratified by geographic location and eligibility for admission to university. Criteria used to divide the sample according to post-secondary status and stratify by geographic location and eligibility for university admission are explicated in the following sections.  Post-secondary status. The Institutional File of the Link File Data Base was used to determine the post-secondary status of the frame population. Participants were defined as those students registered in one of the following post-secondary institutions according to the Link File as of October 1, 1988; non-participants were defined as those not registered in one of these institutions: Community Colleges: Camosun, Capilano, Cariboo, New Caledonia, Douglas, East Kootenay, Fraser Valley, Kwantlen, Malaspina, North Island (Comox, Port Alberrii, Courtenay, Campbell River), Northern Lights, Northwest, Okanagan, Selkirk (Castlegar, Rosemont), Vancouver Community (Langara, King Edward, Continuing Education, Vancouver Vocational Institute). Institutes and Vocational Schools: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Emily Carr Institute of Art, Open Learning Institute, Pacific Marine Training Institute. Universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, Trinity Western University. (British Columbia Research Corporation, 1990a)  Students attending institutions outside this list (e.g. students attending out of province institutions or private post-secondary institutions) were classified as non-participants for the purposes of this survey as were those students who commenced their studies after October 1, 1988. This created an inevitable source  113 of error in correctly identifying participants and non-participants (see British Columbia Research Corporation, 1990a). Geographic region. Geographic regions in this study were defined according to categories used in many other studies on post-secondary students in British Columbia (e.g. Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training,1986). The geographic regions include: Metropolitan Region This grouping includes school districts which are large metropolitan cities or centres (School Districts 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 61, 62, 63, 64). -  Urban/Rural Region This grouping includes school districts which are either located in the interior of the province or on Vancouver Island. They generally include communities which are moderate in size and typically have a mixture of urban and rural settlements. These districts are located closer to the Lower Mainland than those in the Remote Region grouping. (School Districts 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 47, 55, 56, 57, 65, 66, 68, 69, 75, 76, 77, 89). -  Remote Region This grouping indudes school districts which have relatively small populations, typically scattered in small communities. All are located quite remote from the Lower Mainland area of the province. (School Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 49, 50, 52, 54, 59, 60, 70, 71, 72, 80, 81, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 92). (British Columbia Research Corporation, 1990a) -  Eligibility for university admission. Eligibility for admission to university categories were constructed by calculating students’ grade point averages based on eligibility for admission to the University of Victoria. Those students without the requisite courses for university entrance, regardless of their academic standing in high school, were assigned a score of 0. Students were then allocated to eligible, borderline, or not eligible categories based on the following definitions:  Eligible:  Grade point average of 2.5 or greater.  Borderline:  Grade point average between 2.0 and 2.4.  Not eligible:  Grade point average of less than 2.0.  114  The stratification scheme for the frame population is represented in Table 5. Figures in parentheses indicate the percentage of the population in a particular stratum; for example, the 3,818 individuals belonging to the stratum defined as metropolitan and eligible for university admission represent 31.7% of the frame population of participants. Table 5. Frame Population of the 1988 Grade 12 Graduates (as determined by the Link File).  Post-secondary Participants Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region Eligible Metropolitan Urban/Rural Remote  % 3,818 (31.7) 1,441 (12.0) 667 ( 5.5)  Total  5,926 (49.2)  Borderline % 686 (5.7) 284 (2.4) 121 (1.0) 1,091 (9.1)  Not Eligible % 2,704 (22.4) 1,588 (13.2) 740 ( 6.1) 5,032 (41.7)  Total % 7,208 (59.8) 3,313 (27.5) 1,528 (12.7) 12,049 (100.0)  Post-secondary Non-participants Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region Eligible 04  Borderline %  Not Eligible %  Metropolitan Urban/Rural Remote  1,413 (12.6) 692 ( 6.2) 313 ( 2.8)  433 (3.8) 190 (1.7) 87 (0.8)  4,332 (38.5) 2,619 (23.3) 1,173 (10.4)  Total  2,418 (21.6)  710 (6.3)  8,124 (72.2)  Total % 6,178 3,501 1,573  ( 54.9) ( 31.1) ( 14.0)  11,252 (100.0)  115 Sample Selection A probabilistic sampling strategy was used to generate the survey sample for this study. That is, each unit in each stratum of the frame population had a nonzero probability of being selected into the sample. The sample was generated , commencing from a random start, 19 by making distinct systematic selections within each stratum. According to the British Columbia. Research Corporation (1990), the rationale for the differential sampling fractions for each stratum was to “yield as many students as possible in the ‘Borderlin& [university eligibility] category and in the ‘Remote geographic region.  .  .  ,  yet still maintain a reasonable  overall balance to the sample” (p.7). Table 6 describes the total numbers sampled and the sampling fractions in each stratum.  19 Kish (1965) warns that monotonic trends and periodic fluctuations of the data may result in a  spuriously high computed variance when systematic sampling is employed. Individual records used to generate the sample for this study, are sorted and stored in the Link File Project data base by provincial examination identification number. Neither periodic trends or periodic fluctuations of the data are problematic in this study.  116 Table 6. Sample Size and Sampling Fractions by Stratum.  Post-secondary Participants Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region Eligible  %*  Metropolitan Urban/Rural Remote  1,025 ( 26.8) 1,112 ( 77.2) 667 (100.0)  Total  2,804  ( 47.3)  Borderline % 390 ( 56.9) 284 (100.0) 121 (100.0) 795  (  72.9)  Total  Not Eligible % 548 (20.3) 619 (39.0) 590 (79.7)  % 1,963 (27.2) 2,015 (60.8) 1,378 (90.2)  1757 (34.9)  5,356 (44.5)  Post-secondary Non-participants Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region Eligible Metropolitan Urban/Rural Remote  1,208 (50.0)  Total *  % 371 ( 26.3) 524 ( 75.7) 313 (100.0)  Borderline % 249 ( 57.5) 190 (100.0) 87 (100.0) 526  ( 74.1)  Total  Not Eligible % 875 (20.2) 1,096 (41.8) 939 (80.1)  % 1,495 (24.2) 1,810 (51.7) 1,339 (85.1)  2,910 (35.8)  4,644 (41.3)  Sampling fractions in parentheses  In total, 44.5% (n=5,356) of the participants and 41.3% (n=4,644) of the nonparticipants, representing 42.9% of the frame population, were included in the survey sample.  Questionnaire Development and Data Collection The questionnaire used in this survey was developed by a working group of individuals representing the following institutions: Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training, Ministry of Education, British Columbia Research Corporation, British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of British  117 , and Vancouver Community College. The penultimate draft of the 20 Columbia questionnaire was piloted with three geographically disparate Grade 12 classes and one first year class of university students. The final questionnaire was prepared in booklet form and consisted of three sections for a total of 24 questions. Section A was to be completed by respondents who were nonparticipants in post-secondary education, and Section B by participants. Section C was to be answered by all respondents. The maximum number of questions to be answered by any respondent was 21. At the end of the questionnaire, students were invited in an open-ended question, to comment on any aspect of the educational system. The self-administered mail questionnaire, along with a postage-paid envelope and introductory letters by B.C. Research, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training, and the Ministry of Education, was sent to each individual in the sample. The first questionnaires were mailed on May 5, 1989, followed by a postcard reminder to the total sample on May 12, 1989. On June 2, 1989, all non-respondents were sent a second questionnaire. A copy of the survey questionnaire and postcard reminder, can be found in Appendix A. For further details of sampling, mail follow-ups and response rates, see British Columbia Research Corporation (1990a).  Response Rate Of the 10,000 individuals included in the sample, 5,345 responded, resulting in an overall response rate of 53.5%. When the 728 undeliverable questionnaires are eliminated from the sample, the adjusted response rate was 57.7%. The survey respondents for this study, those who responded to the 20  was one of two members representing the University of British Columbia.  118 questionnaire, are described in Table 7. Figures in parentheses indicate the percent response rate within each stratum. Table 7. The Survey Respondents (Response Rate).  Post-secondary Participants  Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region  638 (62.2) 760 (68.3) 450 (67.5)  205 (52.6) 155 (54.6) 82 (67.8)  % 1,124 (57.3) 1,234 (61.2) 842 (61.1)  1,848 (65.9)  442 (55.6)  910 (51.8)  3,200 (59.7)  %  % Metropolitan Urban/Rural Remote Total  Total  Not Eligible % 281 (51.3) 319 (51.5) 310 (52.5)  Borderline  Eligible  Post-secondary Non-participants  Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region  Borderline  Eligible  %  %  Metropolitan Urban/Rural Remote  216 (58.2) 298 (56.9) 179 (57.2)  101 (40.6) 95 (50.0) 45 (51.7)  Total  693 (57.4)  241 (45.8)  Total  Not Eligible % 354 (40.5) 460 (42.0) 397 (42.3)  % 671 (44.9) 853 (47.1) 621 (46.4)  1,211 (41.6)  2,145 (46.2)  Representativeness of the Sample Representativeness of the sample was determined in several ways. First, the overall response rate was compared with response rates of other studies which were similar in nature. Second, the survey population was compared to  119 the frame population. Third, within the survey sample, characteristics of respondents and non-respondents were examined.  Overall Return Rate Non-response has been identified as a persistent problem in studies which use survey questionnaires (Kish, 1987; Miller, 1977; Wallace, 1954). Miller (1977) indicates that a response rate of less than 50% is typical in mail questionnaires (p.7’9). Heberein and Baumgartner (1978), in an analysis of 80 published studies using mail questionnaires, found that in 50% of these studies, the response rate was less than 61% and in 25% the response rate was less than 41%. As discussed in the previous section, the overall return rate for this study was 53.5%. Of those identified as participants in the sample, 59.7% responded. This figure represents 26.5% of the frame population. Of the sampled nonparticipants, the response rate was 46.2%, or 19.1% of the frame population. In other words, the survey population for this study includes over 1 of every 4 graduates identified as participants in post-secondary education, and almost 1 in 5 graduates deemed a non-participant by the Link File Project data base.  The overall response rate is not unlike other studies of this nature. In a follow-up study of Grade 12 graduates, Alberta Advanced Education (1989) reported an overall response rate of 62%. In her study of a cohort of Grade 12 graduates from one British Columbia school district, Bellamy (1988) achieved an overall response rate of 45%. Dennison et al. (1975) report a 56% response rate in a survey of students who had entered post-secondary schools. Given the high initial sample size and a response rate comparable to other post-high school follow-up studies, it can be argued that the overall response rate is reasonable. Several authors warn, however, that non-response introduces the  120 possibility of a biased sample; that is, the respondents to the questionnaire may not be representative of the intended survey sample (Denzin, 1989; Wiersma, 1986; Wallace, 1954). Information contained in the Link File Project data base allows for a comparison of the frame population with the survey population and several of the characteristics of respondents and non-respondents.  Frame Population and Survey Respondents A comparison of the frame population, survey sample, response rate, and survey respondents within each stratum is summarized in Table 8. By way of illustration, the table may be read as: in the metropolitan, eligible for university admission, participant group, the population size was 32% (3,818) of the total frame population (A), the sampling fraction was 27% (1025) (B), the response rate was 62% (638) (C), which represents 20% of all respondents belonging to the participant group (D). Finally, the percent difference between the frame respondents of this stratum (32%) and the survey respondents (20%) was -12% (E). In 11 of the 18 strata, oversampling resulted in the survey respondent sample proportion exceeding the frame population proportion.  In the  participant/metropolitan/borderline stratum, oversampling resulted in the survey respondent sample proportion to equal the frame population proportion. In 3 strata (participant, urban/rural, not eligible; non-participant, metropolitan, eligible; non-participant, urban/rural, not eligible), despite oversampling, the survey respondent sample proportion is slightly less than the frame population proportion. This may be due to a relatively low oversampling fraction and/or a low response rate in these strata. The participant, metropolitan, eligible stratum is  121  Table 8 Frame Population (A), Sampling Fractions (B), Response Rate (C), Survey Respondents (D), Percent Difference between the Frame Population and Survey Respondents(E) Participants  Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region  Eligible A  B  Borderline  CD  E  62 20 68 24 68 14 6658  (-12) (+12) (+ 8) (+9)  Not Eligible  ABCDE  ABCD  6 2 1 9  22 20 13 39 6 80 4235  Total B  ABCD  E  % Metro. Urban/Rural Remote Total  32 27 12 77 6 100 47 49  57 100 100 73  53 6 55 5 68 3 5614  0) (+1) (+2) (+5)  (  51 10 52 10 53 10 5228  (-12) (- 3) (+ 4) (-14)  60 27 28 61 13 90 10045  57 35 61 39 61 26 6027  (-25) (+11) (+13)  Non-participants  Eligibility for University Admission  Geographic Region  Borderline  Eligible A  B  CD  E  A  3) (+8) (+5) (+10)  4 2 1 6  Not Eligible  BCDE  A  B  CD  39 23 10 72  20 41 17 424221 80 42 19 36 42 56  Total E  ABC  D  E  0 /0  13 26 Metro. Urban/Rural 6 76 Remote 3100 Total 22 50  58 10 5714 57 8 57 32  (-  58 100 100 74  41 5 50 4 52 2 46 11  (+1) (+2) (+1) (+5)  - percentage of the frame population B - sampling fraction C - response rate A  D  - percentage of respondents  E - percent difference between frame and survey respondents  (-21) (-2) (+9) (-16)  55 31 14 100  24 52 85 41  45 47 46 46  31 (- 24) 40 (+ 9) 29 (+15) 19  122 underrepresented in the survey respondent sample because of undersampling. In 3 other strata (participant, metropolitan, eligible; participant, metropolitan, not eligible;  non-participant,  metropolitan,  not eligible),  a  combination  of  undersampling and low response rates resulted in larger discrepancies between the frame population size and the survey respondent sample proportion. Overall, in both the participant and non-participant sample, the metropolitan region for all eligibility for university admission categories and the urban/rural region in the not eligible for university admission category are underrepresented. Response rates of individual strata range from a high of 68% to a low of 41%. In each stratum, response rates of non-participants were lower than in the corresponding stratum of participants. Also, the more likely ones eligibility for university admission, the greater the response rate. It appears that low response rates in some strata are a result of perceived low salience of the survey topic rather than faulty questionnaire design and mailout procedures. As described in the section on questionnaire development and data collection, procedures recommended in the survey questionnaire literature (Heberlein & Baumgartner, 1978; Miller, 1977; Dillman et al., 1974) were followed to increase the response rate. That is, the questionnaire was prepared in booklet form, the length of the questionnaire was deliberately brief, respondent anonymity was assured, postpaid return envelopes and introductory letters explaining the importance of the study were included, letters from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training were signed by their respective deputy ministers (i.e. government sponsored), and three mailings including one postcard reminder were sent. Other measures, such as a fourth mailing by registered mail, telephone follow-up, and the use of incentives, may have increased the response rate (Heberlein & Baumgartner, 1987; Miller, 1977; Dillman et al., 1974). From a  123 cost perspective, however, the size of the survey sample prohibited this type of follow-up. As Heberlein and Baumgartner (1987) point out, when questionnaires are deemed to be salient, they are more likely to be returned. They also found that students, compared with the general population, are more likely to respond to questionnaires. This may explain higher response rates in the participant and eligible for university admission groups. In order to detect the possibility of response bias due to non-response, one further comparison, between respondents and non-respondents can be made. -  -  Respondents versus Non-respondents There are two types of non-respondents to the questionnaire. The first type of non-respondent is comprised of those individuals to whom questionnaires were not delivered. Of the 10,000 questionnaires mailed, 728 (7.3%) were returned undelivered. The second type of non-respondent includes those individuals who chose not to participate in the study. Of the Grade 12 graduates surveyed in this study, 4655 (46.5%) belong to the second group. Using Link File Project data, respondents, non-respondents, and the ‘undelivered group in each stratum were compared on the following dimensions: age, sex, college region, school district, and eligibility for university admission as calculated according to the requirements of the each of the following universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria. Appendix B provides a detailed account of differences, including chi square tests, of these dimensions among respondents, non-respondents, and  124 undelivered. These results are summarized in Table 9. Significant differences are noted below; however, the largest effect size (an expression of the magnitude of the difference between means, Glass & Hopkins, 1984) is .44 and in 62% of the significant differences noted in Table 9, the effect size does not exceed .30. This suggests that in the majority of cases, the magnitude of the difference is small. Significant differences are evident between groups on several variables, as indicated in Table 9. In the participant group, respondents tend to be younger, female, and have higher than average grade point averages. Non-respondents are generally older, male, and have lower grade point averages. Differences in grade point average are particularly evident among the eligible for university admission group. Only in the urban/rural region are significant differences noted within the eligible for university admission category. Respondents are more likely to be eligible for entrance at all three British Columbia universities; non-respondents are less likely to qualify for university entrance. Few significant differences arise in the non-participant group. It is interesting to note, however, that the highest number of differences are detected in the participant urban/rural group, and no differences are evident in the non participant urban/rural group. In all but one instance, no significant differences (p<.O are noted between respondents and non ) as determined by chi-square 5 respondents by geographic location or college region. Significant differences (p<.O5) were detected in the non-participant, eligible for university admission, remote stratum. Response rates for this stratum by college region are as follows:  125  Table 9. Respondents and Non-respondents Significant Differences By Geographic Region and Eligibility for University Admission. -  Non-participants  Participants Eligible  METROPOLITAN age sex U.B.C. eligibility U.B.C. grade U.Vic. eligibility U.Vic grade S.F.U. eligibility S.F.U. grade college region school district  Borderline  Not Eligible  Eligible  Borderline  * **  *  *  **  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  * -  *  URBAN/RURAL age sex U.B.C. eligibility U.B.C. grade U.Vic. eligibility U.Vic. grade S.F.U. eligibility S.F.U. grade college region school district  **  *  ***  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  *  *  ** ** *  REMOTE age **  sex  U.B.C. eligibility U.B.C. grade U.Vic. eligibility U.Vic. grade S.F.U.. eligibility S.F.U. grade college region school district * **  -  significant at p significant at p significant at p not applicable  Not Eligible  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  *  *  < < <  .05 .01 .001  *  126 n %  179 57.2 respondents  total East Kootenay North Island Northern Lights Northwest Selkirk  66.7 39.3 68.4 64.0 56.9  110 35.1 non-respondents 28.8 49.4 26.3 26.0 37.3  24 7.7  313 100  undelivered  row%  4.5 11.2 5.3 10.0 5.9  21.1 28.4 18.2 16.0 16.3 100.0%  The North Island college region has a high rate of non-response and undelivered questionnaires, and East Kootenay and Northern Lights college regions have a high rate of response. While Northwest college region has a high rate of response, the number of undelivered questionnaires is high. In some instances, discrepancies between the frame population percentage and the percentage of respondents in the survey population appear to be associated with the number and level of significant differences within strata. For example, in the urban/rural, eligible, participant stratum, the survey population is 12% higher than the frame population (as reported in Table 8). This stratum also has the highest number of significant differences between respondents and non-respondents. In other strata (e.g. eligible, urban/rural, non-participant), discrepancies between the two populations do not result in significant differences. Tables 10 and 11 show these findings by comparing mean values of the variables used to compare the groups. Consistent with the findings in Appendix B, mean values demonstrate that respondents and non-respondents differ very little across strata in age, sex, and grade point average. The ‘undelivered group has a slightly higher proportion of females. There does not appear to be any other consistent differences, across strata, in this group, which suggests that the incidence of undelivered questionnaires occurs randomly in this sample.  18.0 1.6 3.0 3.0 3.0  x  638 62.2  t In this  18.0 1.6 3.1 3.0 3.1  450 67.5  18.0 1.6 3.0 3.0 3.0  760 68.3  .32 .49 .49 .53 .49  S  .30 .49 .56 .62 .52  5  .40 .50 .50 .72 .50  18.0 1.5 29 29 29  188 28.2  18.1 1.4 29 29 2.9  291 26.2  18.1 1.5 2.8 2.9 3.0  338 33.0  .33 .50 .62 .64 .49  5  .35 .50 .45 .52 .49  s  .44 .50 .69 .70 .45  5  nonresp ondent  Eligible  18.2 1.5 3.0 29 2.9  29 4.3  18.2 1.6 2.8 28 29  61 5.5  18.0 1.7 2.9 3.0 3.1  49 4.8  5  .35 .51 .33 .39 .39  S  .50 .50 .84 .85 .56  18.2 1.6 21 1.9 20  .28 .48 .75 .78 .49  .36 .49 .45 .46 .26  18.1 1.6 21 1.9 20  S  .49 .49 .30 .49 .45  x 18.2 1.6 2.1 1.9 1.9  82 67.8  5  18.2 1.4 1.9 1.8 20  32 26.4  18.1 1.5 21 20 20  .37 .49 .63 .63 .22  S  .42 .50 .39 .46 .32  S  .40 .49 .47 .49 .26  .45 50 .49 .54 .32  107 37.7  5  18.2 1.4 2.1 1.9 20  162 41.5  nonrespondent  Borderline  18.3 1.3 21 20 20  7 5.8  18.1 1.5 21 1.9 1.9  22 7.7  18.3 1.5 1.9 1.8 21  23 5.9  .49 .49 .14 .28 .28  S  .42 .51 .14 .26 .26  5  18.2 1.6 .1 .1 .1  310 53.5  18.2 1.6 .1 .1 .1  .51 .50 .46 .40 .40  .45 .49 .36 .33 .33  S  .56 .50 .39 .35 .39  .69 .51 .77 .75 .22  319 51.5  5  18.3 1.6 .1 .1 .1  281 51.3  respondent  5  undeliv able  Post-secondary Participants  S  x  155 54.6  x  205 52.6  respondent  S  undeliv erable  table, sex was measured as lmale, 2’female.  age sex U.B.C. gr. U.Vic. gr. S.F.U. gr.  n %  REMOTE  age sex U.B.C. gr. U.Vic. gr. S.F.U. gr.  n %  URBAN/RURAL  age sext U.B.C. gr. U.Vic gr. S.F.U. gr.  n % S  respondent  METROPOLITAN  University Eligibility  -  18.4 1.5 .1 .1 .1  x  234 39.7  18.4 1.4 .1 .1 .1  265 428  18.3 1.4 .2 .1 .2  230 420  .59 .50 .46 .39 .39  S  .62 .49 .37 .35 .35  S  .61 .49 .52 .45 .22  nonrespondent  Not Eligible  18.3 1.6 .1 .1 .1  46 7.8  18.3 1.5 .1 .1 .1  35 5.7  18.2 1.5 .1 .1 .1  37 6.8  .65 .49 .45 .33 .33  5  .63 .51 .28 .26 .26  5  .54 .51 .37 .35 .35  5  undeliv erable  Table 10 Comparison of Mean Values Respondents and Non-respondents By Geographic Region and Eligibility for University Admission  18.0 1.6 2.8 2.8 2.9  216 58.2  18.1 1.5 3.0 2.9 29  179 57.2  18.0 1.6 3.0 3.0 3.0  298 56.9  s .39 .50 .79 .78 .49  24 7.7 X 18.2 1.4 2.9 29 3.0  s .33 .50 .42 .66 .66  110 35.1 5C 18.1 1.5 29 2.8 28  5  .39 .50 .47 .61 .57  .00 .57 .14 .20 .20  18.0 1.7 22 2.0 2.0 .30 .50 .14 .40 .40 18.2 .45 1.6 .48 .17 2.2 .37 2.0 20.37  18.1 1.4 2.2 1.9 1.9  s X X  C 18.4 1.5 .1 .1 .1  s .56 .50 .26 .25 .25 18.3 1.5 .1 .1 .1  s .73 .50 .30 .30 .30  X 18.6 1.4 .1 .1 .1  s .64 .50 .32 .28 .30  71 7.6  .64 .50 .17 .14 .14 18.4 1.5 .1 .1 .1 .61 .50 .26 .24 .24 18.4 1.5 .1 .1 .1  471 50.2  s X s  X  521 47.5  X  397 42.3  18.3 1.5 .1 .1 .1 .50 .51 .17 .24 .24  18.2 1.5 22 20 2.0 .44 .46 .46 .52 .35  3 3.4  .57 .50 .32 .63 .30  X s  X  s  Cs  39 44.8  s  460 42.0  19 10.0  115 10.5  .61 .50 .22 .22 .26 18.3 1.5 .1 .1 .1 .60 .50 .32 .30 .33 18.4 1.5 .1 .1 .1  .64 .50 .25 .20 .20 18.3 1.6 .1 .1 .1  .42 .50 .66 .62 .20  17.9 1.6 1.9 1.8 2.0  s X  91 10.4  undeliv erable  s  430 49.1  nonrespondent  Cs  354 40.5  respondent  Not Eligible  Cs  22 8.8  undelivable  s  45 51.7  18.1 1.5 2.1 1.9 20  .32 .50 .50 .54 .32  18.1 1.6 2.0 1.9 20  .54 .51 .63 .63 .43  18.0 1.5 28 2.8 29  .47 .50 .54 .60 .52  18.0 1.4 2.9 29 29  .39 .50 .57 .59 .52  X  s  X  s  C  s  95 50.0  39 7.4  C  187 35.7  76 40.0  .42 .49 .48 .56 .36  18.1 1.4 2.0 1.9 20  .40 .50 .50 .46 .32  18.1 1.6 2.1 1.9 2.0  .49 .26 .72 .70 .49  18.0 1.5 2.9 2.9 3.0  .37 .50 .84 .87 .47  18.1 1.5 2.7 28 3.0  s  .41 .49 .78 .71 .55  s  X  s  X  s  X  126 50.6  nonrespondent  Cs  101 40.6  respondent  35 9.4  undellverable  Borderline  Post-secondary Non-partldpants  120 32.3  nonrespondent  Eligible  f In this table, sex was measured as 1=male, 2female.  age sex U.B.C. gr.  n %  REMOTE  age sex U.Vic. gr. S.F.U. gr.  n %  URBAN/RURAL  age sext U.Vic gr. S.F.U. gr.  n % s  respondent  METROPOLITAN  University Eligibility  -  Table 11 Comparison of Mean Values Respondents and Non-respondents By Geographic Region and Academic Standing  c_iD  129 Preparation of the Data Set The data were received, on tape and in three files, from the British Columbia Research Corporation. The files consisted of 1) Grade 12 Graduate Follow-up Survey data (n=1O,000), 2) secondary school transcript data (n30,771) and 3) post-secondary institutional data (n5507). In order to construct a complete data set for the 5345 respondents to the Grade 12 Graduate Follow-up survey, relevant information from the other files was extracted, matched by survey identification number to survey respondent data, and merged into one file. Of the 5345 respondents to the Grade 12 Graduate Follow-up survey, 527 cases were eliminated from the final sample. In 174 cases, either post-secondary status could not be determined, questionnaires were spoiled or technical problems existed. Those students attending post-secondary institutions (n=353) outside of British Columbia were also eliminated from the sample, as it was not possible to determine which type of post-secondary institution they attended (that is, university or non-university). The final sample consisted of 4818 cases.  Summary  In this section of the chapter, I have endeavoured to evaluate the integrity of the sample by describing the target and frame population, stratification and sampling strategies, development of the survey instrument, data collection, response rates, the survey population, representativeness of the sample, and preparation of the data set. This detailed description is provided to justify the use of data generated from the Grade 12 Graduate Follow-up survey questionnaire  130 and corresponding Link File Project data. Figure 12 provides a summary of the different populations in this survey.  All Grade 12 graduates with characteiistics similar to the survey respondent sample Indudes all Grade 12 graduates in the 1988 cohort in British Columbia  Inferential Population  Taiet Population 28,677  Not induded ai 5,247 who nfused release of of their records and 127 Yukon graduates  23 428  Indudes 5,356 (44.5%) participants and 4,644 (41.3%) non-participants in post-secondary  10 000  Frame Population  Survey Sample  education  Not induded ai non-respondents and 728 undelivered questionnaires  Survey Respondents  Figure 12. Topulation.c aiu[Samp(e.c e[evrnt to the nzd 12 Qraduate To1Tow-up Survey  In the ideal study, survey respondents would be representative of the target population, randomly selected, and free from bias. Kish (1987), however, indicates that “for most surveys it is difficult or impossible to make the samples entirely representative of the desired populations. Beyond sampling variations are the diverse divergences that may bias the selection, such as defective frames and nonresponses” (p.28).  131 In order to alert the reader to a less than ideal, but nevertheless reasonable, representation by the survey respondents of the target population, the populations and samples in this study have been described in considerable detail. Findings of this study will be interpreted with these caveats in mind. However, given that 1988 Grade 12 graduates from the entire province were surveyed, the size sample is considerably large, and that secondary and post-secondary institutional data bases have been linked to the survey questionnaire data, this data base offers a unique opportunity to examine the choices individuals make regarding post-high school destinations.  In the next section, the interview sample for this study, including school and student selection, the interview procedure, and representativeness of the interview sample is described.  Interviews with Grade 12 Students  The third source of data in this study involved interviews with Grade 12 students who were in the process of making decisions regarding post-high school destinations. The purpose of the interviews was to 1) determine the post-high school plans of the sample of students, and 2) to explore in depth students’ perceptions of the processes underlying their decisions in choosing post-high school destinations. In the following section, selection of school districts, secondary schools, and students is described, and the interview procedure is explained.  132 The Sample  Selection of Schools A multisite approach was adopted in this part of this study. A purposive or judgment sampling strategy was used to select three schools in which to conduct the interviews. According to Kish (1965), such a strategy is preferred to random selection when a research project must be limited to a few locations. The aim of the selection strategy was to ensure that one metropolitan, one urban/rural, and one remote school, each typical or modal of the category, was included in the study. After tentative selection of three school districts, permission to conduct research was requested by letter to each district superintendent (Appendix C). Secondary schools deemed appropriate for the interviews were then sel