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Can changing aspirations and attitudes impact on educational attainment?

Liz Todd et al.

25 April 2012

Can educational attainment be raised by changing parents' and children's attitudes?

The evidence supports a shift in emphasis from 'raising aspirations' to 'keeping aspirations on track'.

With reduced public funds available, should policy and practice focus on attitudes or on other directions? The study evaluates research evidence from five groups of interventions with children and parents: parent involvement, extra-curricular activities, mentoring, volunteering and peer education, and interventions with a primary focus on changing attitudes.

It found that:

  • Changing three attitudes – aspirations, locus of control and valuing school – did not impact on educational attainment;
  • There should be a shift in emphasis from 'raising aspirations' to 'keeping aspirations on track'.

The details annexes from this report can be accessed via Newcastle University's website.

A 'roundup' of the key messages from this programme of work is also available.

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