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Cinderellas and ugly ducklings: positive turning points in students' educational careers—exploratory evidence and a future agenda

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Positive turning points touch upon the essence of education. They epitomize its power and reflect its core agenda: maximizing human capital. Paradoxically, previous studies have not looked into this important phenomenon. The current exploratory study fills this lacuna by building on extensive empirical research of key educational experiences to shed light on four aspects of turning points in students' educational careers. Data come from a sample of 3045 key educational experiences. The article uses a narrative analysis to describe four features in students' changing trajectories, suggesting that the opportunities to experience a positive turning point are organizationally produced and socially distributed to the advantage of higher socio-economic status students. It is concluded with pointers for policy and practice and opens up questions for future studies in this important domain.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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