Educational stratification and students' social bonding to school
This paper examines the polarization model from qualitative research in both Great Britain and the U.S., which claims that educational stratification practices polarize students into pro- and anti-school orientations. Because few researchers have adequately conceptualized school attitudes and behavior, social bonding theory (Hirschi, 1969) is used to provide a framework for examining the polarization hypothesis. Relying on High School and Beyond data from the U.S., an attempt is made to develop measures of respondents' social bonding to school, including college expectations, absenteeism, disciplinary problems, and engagement. The polarization hypothesis is supported by these U.S. data when examining educational stratification effects on the school bonding measures. Compared with academic-track students, general- and vocational-track students have lower college expectations, more disciplinary problems, and are less academically engaged, controlling for prior school orientations and for selection bias due to dropping out of school. For absenteeism, the general track has a significant positive effect, while vocational-track students do not differ from those in the academic track. In addition, students in the nonacademic tracks are more likely to drop out of school between the 10th and 12th grades compared with academic-track students.
Originally published in: British Journal of Sociology of Education, v. 16, no. 3, 1995, pp. 327-351.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.