The Transitional Years
1983, Pages 400-431

12 - EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE rights and content

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This chapter presents educational experience for adolescents. Several factors operate to influence a given individual's level of educational attainment. These factors are referred to as sorting mechanisms. Three major classes of factors appear to serve as sorting mechanisms: (1) family background, including socioeconomic status, discipline, and family stability; (2) academic ability, including grade failure, school attitudes, and aptitude; and (3) personality characteristics. High-school dropouts score low on academic aptitude tests, have low grades, and express negative attitudes about school. These students are lower in self-esteem and other personality characteristics in comparison to high-school graduates. Students appear to change in complex ways, partly as a function of education itself. In the affective domain, college induces changes in values, such as an increase in aesthetic values and a decrease in religious values. College students are also less authoritarian and less conservative than noncollege peers. In the cognitive domain, college appears to induce, to some extent, changes in intellectual disposition. College students prefer abstract, reflective thought in comparison to noncollege youth.

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