Shifting problems and shifting policies to reduce student drop-out: the case of vocational education policy in Denmark

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This chapter explores the following question: what kind of problem is drop-out considered to be in educa-tion policy and in research connected to educational improvement (Bacchi 2000)? In addition, it examines what kind of measures and solutions are prescribed to solve the drop-out problem in connection with policymakers´ and researchers´ diverse understandings of the nature of the drop-out problem. This chapter explores these questions, first by reviewing research on drop-out and on the related policies to reduce students´ drop-out, with a special focus on upper-secondary education. This is done by asking what kind of a problem drop-out is considered to be: Where is the problem located? Who has the problem, or who is the problem? The review identifies three different general framings of the drop-out problem in policy and research. The first framing locates the drop-out problem with the individual student´s characteristics (deficits, behaviour and attitudes) or with their choices and decision-making. The second framing locates the problem in the schools, and relates drop-out to school structures, cultures and practices. The third framing locates the problem in the wider structures and functioning of the educational system and with the student´s social and cultural backgrounds. Drop-out is here is seen as the result of the interplay between the assessment, categorisation and selection of students in schools and the strategies and resources of different groups of students. To qualify the discussion and problematisation of the drop-out problem, the chapter draws on a students´ view of drop-out, partly based on a larger Danish study of drop-out in vocational education (Tanggaard 2013; Jørgensen 2011). The second part of the chapter is a study of the shifting education policies designed to reduce drop-out in the Danish system of vocational education and training. It explores how the framing of the drop-out problem has shifted over time, and how, accordingly, the solutions and measures applied in policy reforms have shifted. These shifts have been so significant that the policies to increase retention rates in Denmark seem to be going in circles. Measures that are employed to reduce drop-out at one time are later on considered to be a contributing factor to students´ drop-out. Some of the reasons for this paradox are discussed in the conclusion
TitelEducation Policy : Mapping the landscape and scope
RedaktørerSandra Bohlinger , Thi Kim Anh Dang , Malgorzata Klatt
Antal sider28
UdgivelsesstedFrankfurt am Main
ForlagPeter Lang
Publikationsdato18 aug. 2016
Sider325 - 353
ISBN (Trykt)9783631693711
StatusUdgivet - 18 aug. 2016

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