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ERIC Number: ED529851
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 72
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
Post-16 Educational Choices and Institutional Value Added at Key Stage 5. CEE DP 124
Crawford, Claire; Meschi, Elena; Vignoles, Anna
Centre for the Economics of Education (NJ1)
In the UK there has historically been a clear demarcation between the academic and vocational routes through education post-16. Generally vocational study is taken either on a part time basis or full time at Further Education (FE) colleges. Students who want to take academic qualifications such as A levels have the option to enrol in a school sixth form, a Sixth Form College or a general FE college. The FE route is therefore an important one through the educational system for both vocational and academic students alike. This research investigates which types of students choose to study at these different institutions and whether this choice matters for the achievement of educational outcomes. In this report the authors determine first what types of student stay on in education past the age of 16 and which types of student enrol in different types of post-16 institution. They then ask whether post-16 institutions matter to pupils' final key stage 5 achievement and specifically whether FE colleges contribute differently to the gain in pupil attainment for those taking A levels as compared to sixth form based provision (in schools or colleges). In this paper the authors assume that the decision process regarding the person's choice of post compulsory education course (if any) is sequential. They conclude the following: (1) Different types of pupils choose to enrol in FE and sixth form based provision; and (2) The following types of pupils are more likely to enrol in sixth form based provision: (1) More advantaged/high achieving pupils; (2) Pupils in a school with a 6th form; (3) Pupils in the most advantaged schools; (4) Pupils in a single sex school; (5) Pupils in a school with a lower pupil teacher ratio; and (6) Pupils in comprehensive or community schools. The authors conclude from Part 1 of their report, that general FE college enrolment is determined by pupils' prior attainment but also by their family background and their parents' attitude towards education. As FE attendance is socially graded, this is likely to impact on pupil performance at Key Stage 5 as well. These results clearly illustrate that there is significant selection of pupils into FE provision and that this will tend to bias results if it is not fully accounted for. The authors conclude from Parts 2 and 3 of this report that those in general FE colleges, whether doing A levels or other types of Key Stage 5 qualifications, do more poorly in terms of their education attainment than those who opt for sixth form based provision. This result only holds for students who are higher achieving at GCSE level. Furthermore, they only considered students who took either A levels or other level 3 qualifications in FE colleges. FE colleges often take students who have not attained level 2 qualifications and this important role is not considered in their analysis. The authors also need to be cautious. Their models do allow for a substantial array of factors that influence pupils' choice of post 16 institution and that also influence pupil attainment, such as pupils' socio-economic background. Yet they need to remain aware that despite the richness of their models, this result may still reflect the fact that those who attend FE colleges are more educationally disadvantaged in ways that they do not account for in their model. Appended are: (1) Summarising descriptive statistics; (2) The determinants of remaining in full time education and choice of post-16 provision by gender; (3) Separate models by institution types- Dependent variable: KS5 average score A-level only); (4) Test of balance between observables in the two groups (treated and nontreated); and (5) The relationship between post 16 institution and participation in higher education. (Contains 25 tables, 4 figures, and 37 footnotes.)
Centre for the Economics of Education. London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, UK. Tel: +44-20-7955-7673; Fax: +44-20-7955-7595; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: London School of Economics & Political Science, Centre for the Economics of Education
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom