• Julie Mathilde Würtz Jensen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
The aim of this master thesis is to examine the relationship between social background (eco-nomic and cultural capital), preliminary motivation (cultured and rational) and dropout be-havior of first year students from higher education in Denmark (n = 3965). In doing so, this thesis uses quantitative survey data requested by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science (UFM) linked to information from Statistics Denmark (DST) and the Coordi-nated Admission (KOT) regarding the dropout students’ social background. The theoretical framework consists of Bourdieu’s educational sociology and Boudon’s as well as Breen & Goldthorpe’s theory of relative risk aversion. The thesis statement is formulated as a media-tion model to examine whether the relationship between social background and dropout behavior is mediated through preliminary motivation. The thesis argues, that dropout should be investigated as more than just a dichotomous decision of whether or not to continue on the enrolled education. Therefore, the thesis op-erationalizes dropout behavior as consisting of two parts of decisions; first, whether or not to continue on the enrolled education, and second whether or not to enroll the educational course again. To enroll the educational course again can either be on a previous enrolled educational program or a new one. The thesis found, that parents’ economic and cultural capital have different effects on the two decisions regarding dropout behavior. Economic capital has an effect on one of five identified reasons for dropout, which regards housing and economic (BO-ECO) reasons for dropout. The effects of cultural capital on the reason of vocational level and forms of teach-ing (FK-UF) was removed in the fixed effects OLS model, which absorbed the effects of unobserved heterogeneity between types of education. The thesis was able to find a rela-tionship between cultural capital and the situation after dropout, which states the presence of secondary effects. Thereby, the thesis concludes, that cultural privileged students are af-fected by structural risk aversion, which results in the involuntary dropout. By contrast, cul-tural under-privileged students are affected by individual risk aversion, which makes it a vol-untary dropout. Thereby, the thesis underlines the requirement of separating the forms of capital while exploring the relationship between students’ social background and dropout behavior. This thesis finds no evidence, that the relationship between social background and dropout behavior is mediated through preliminary motivation, when using multinomial logistic re-gression model along with the KHB-method. Due to the lack of significant results from the examination of the relationship between social background and respectively cultured and rational motivation, it’s questionable whether the concepts were proper operationalized. By using explorative factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha I were able to develop two kinds of motivation; cultured and rational motivation. The development of cultured motivation was inspired by the theoretical framework of Bourdieu’s concept of embodied cultural capital, while the development of rational motivation was inspired by Boudon’s concept of second-ary effects. The thesis doesn’t deny the use of the theories for investigating a mediating rela-tionship, but the result brings caution to how to operationalize the concepts. Though, the thesis concludes, that the proper amount and kind of motivation can be used as a resource for resuming the educational course. Especially rational motivation is useful for either enroll onto a new education or resuming a previous education. By contrast, the amount of cultured motivation effects the estimated probability for respectively resuming a previous education or not to resume the educational course at all. The result underlines the point of seeing the situation one year after the dropout as more than just a dichotomous action of either drop-ping the educational course or transferring.
Publication date1 Jun 2019
Number of pages94
External collaboratorUddannelses- og forskningsministeriet
David Vestergaard Eriksen dav@ufm.dk
ID: 304887247