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Aspirations and Progress at School: Models of Collective Action and Educational Practice

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The New Zealand Progress at School project has established that high aspirations are associated with relative educational success. This article uses quantitative and qualitative data to examine the relationship between aspiration, social class, and attainment. Boudon’s theory of secondary effects is considered together with Bourdieu’s influential ‘value’ theory of social and educational reproduction. The purpose of analytical models of collective behaviour, which require either a rational actor or an agent with an abstract habitus, is to explain overall states of affairs. It is suggested, however, that such accounts have limited practical worth to schools that must necessarily confront the complex reality of actual students.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Massey University

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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  • Educational Practice and Theory is a bi-annual, independent, refereed journal which, since its launch in 1978, has become an important independent forum for original ideas in education. It publishes innovative and original research in the area. Its focus is both applied and theoretical and it seeks articles from a diverse range of themes and countries.
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