"The first analysis indicate that difference in study progress in Icelandic upper secondary schools by nationality can in part be explained by the students' difference in social status rather than their differing origins. Enrolment in schools also seems connected to social status," says Þorlákur Axel Jónsson, doctoral student in Educational studies and adjunct lecturer at the University of Akureyri. Research on the study progress of young people by nationality is a part of Þórlákur's doctoral thesis.
"As an experienced teacher I found it interesting to test the truth of two tenacious myths in the discourse on academic performance in upper secondary schools: that social background of students is irrelevant, and that it is of the utmost importance which secondary school students attend," says Þorlákur. "I will examine how enrolment in upper secondary schools from the point-of-view of social background differs, and whether study progress varies according to social position and national origin, gender and residence. Then I will continue to study whether there is a link between these factors and enrolment in specific upper secondary schools. The study is based on data on grades in standardised tests, social background and student progress on the secondary education level. I opted to study the year that completed elementary school in 2006 and follow it until 2014."
Þorlákur says the aim is to increase knowledge on the social context in upper secondary schools in order to make policy making and the discourse more focused. " The long formative period of the Icelandic secondary education is far from over; research is important to understand and guide the process and thus important to increse understanding with research."
Supervisors: Ólöf Garðarsdóttir, Professor at the Faculty of Teacher Education, and Gestur Guðmundsson, Professor at the Faculty of Education Studies.