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‘Who takes a second chance?’ Profile of participants in alternative systems for obtaining a secondary diploma

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In Belgium, the Exam Board (EB) and the Secondary School for Adults (SSA) are two different ways to attain a secondary diploma after leaving secondary school without a diploma. The SSA is part of the regular educational system and organises courses with an adult approach. The EB is a flexible system in which students prepare themselves to do exams. Using survey data, we examined the effectiveness of both systems in diminishing the large inequalities in the Belgian educational system. Our analyses make clear that the EB and SSA attract different groups of unqualified school-leavers; as such they complement each other. Compared with those who never take a second chance, and thus stay unqualified, participants of the SSA and the EB seem to have a higher socio-economic background and less problematic school careers. As such, neither the SSA, nor the EB seems to be very effective in mitigating social inequality.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium 2: Department of Micro-economics, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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