Little empirical evidence is available on what drives young people to engage in higher education, even though such knowledge is crucial in order to motivate students to make the most of their potential.
In a new study, funded by LKAB Academy, Luleå University of Technology’s researchers Malin Malmström and Anna Öqvist have surveyed a total of 294 high school students in northern Sweden.
The result shows that intentions play a mediating role between students' attitudes and the performance levels they achieve.
– We have looked at the link between these factors. This is something that has been done in psychology, but not within the school field, says Malin Malmström.
Eligible to apply
According to the study, students who have the attitude that higher education in the long run lead to a better salary and a more varied and stimulating job, also strive to perform so that they become eligible to apply.
On the contrary, students who do not believe higher studies bring these positive effects also do not strive to the same extent to obtain approved grades.
Malin Malmström and Anna Öqvist say that the results from the new study contribute to existing literature by showing that attitudes link to young people's intentions, and intentions subsequently associate with performance behavior. The findings provide guidance on how to foster students' grade performance in school.
– It is not the exact grades that are interesting, but if the students are qualified to apply for higher education. We see that the intention affects the performance at school, says Anna Öqvist, senior lecturer in education at Luleå University of Technology.
The teacher's leadership important
Her and Malin Malmström's previous research has shown that teacher’s leadership, social support and education motivation are important factors for establishing an interest in higher education.
– We have to start stimulating children’s curiosity already in pre-school. It's a long process to succeed in motivating and stimulating students and increasing their interest in higher education, says Anna Öqvist.
– It's not just in the school world, you need to think about how to talk about and relate to higher education – it applies to society at large. The school is an enormously important arena for the competence maintenance, adds Malin Malmström.
Link to the study:
Click HERE to get to the study ”Students’ attitudes and intentions toward higher education as determinants for grade performance”.