Persistent Inequality or Liberation from Social Origins? Determining Who Attends Graduate and Professional Schools in Canada’s Expanded Postsecondary System

Persistent Inequality or Liberation from Social Origins? Determining Who Attends Graduate and Professional Schools in Canada’s Expanded Postsecondary System

Persistent Inequality or Liberation from Social Origins? Determining Who Attends Graduate and Professional Schools in Canada’s Expanded Postsecondary System

Persistent Inequality or Liberation from Social Origins? Determining Who Attends Graduate and Professional Schools in Canada’s Expanded Postsecondary Systems

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Référence bibliographique [10859]

Zarifa, David. 2012. «Persistent Inequality or Liberation from Social Origins? Determining Who Attends Graduate and Professional Schools in Canada’s Expanded Postsecondary System ». Revue canadienne de sociologie / Canadian Review of Sociology, vol. 49, no 2, p. 109-137.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
«This study investigates two main issues related to graduate and professional school attendance. First, this study empirically establishes who attends first-professional, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees within five years of the successful completion of their first bachelor’s degree. Second, this research uniquely contributes to the existing debates on the relationship between social origins and education continuation decisions by exploring recent trends in Canada’s postsecondary system.» (p. 131)

Questions/Hypothèses :
«[T]wo formal research questions guide the analyses. First, to what extent does socioeconomic status (SES; parent’s education and income), gender, race, or age impact one’s likelihood of obtaining a graduate degree in Canada? Are there educational factors (academic ability, aspirations, academic confidence, field of study, type of undergraduate degree) that minimize the effects of social origins on completing a professional or graduate program?» (p. 111)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
«The data for this study are drawn from the 2000 cohort of Statistics Canada’s National Graduate Survey (NGS) and follow-up survey. The NGS was conducted via computer-assisted telephone interviews in 2002, two years after respondents had graduated from a postsecondary institution. [...] The 2000 NGS and follow-up of graduates contain information on approximately 35,000 postsecondary graduates of various programs across all provinces and territories.» (p. 115-116)

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse statistique

3. Résumé


«Overall, the results revealed that nearly 20 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders from the 2000 cohort went on to attend some form of professional or graduate degree. Social background was indeed a contributing factor in determining who is selected into this privileged group of individuals. The results of this study show social origins may affect graduate school attendance both directly through parents’ level of education and indirectly through student performance. Despite recent improvements in access to undergraduate education for traditionally disadvantaged groups, significant inequality persists at the professional and graduate levels. The marginal relationships revealed strong and significant relationships between both parental education and income and graduate school attendance. [...] Despite the strong and consistent parent education effect, this study also found strong evidence to suggest that students may be at least partially ’liberated’ from their family backgrounds by their academic abilities and undergraduate experiences. Social origins exert their strongest influences on post-undergraduate decisions indirectly through students’ educational achievements and experiences. Being highly skilled, having high educational aspirations, and perceiving oneself to have a high academic standing greatly explain differences in graduates’ choices.» (p. 131-132)