More Individual Choice? Students’ Share in Educational Decision-Making at the Transition to High School in Japan (1995-2009)
According to sociological rational choice theory, students’ class-specific educational decisions at key transition points significantly contribute to educational and social inequalities. Yet, while theory missed to clearly accentuate all relevant actors’ influences on students’ decisions, research failed to adequately empirically account for students’ individual share in such decisions, but attributed their choices to family background and academic achievement. Drawing on the Japanese case, a refined theoretical model reflecting multiple (f)actors’ influence on students’ rational decision-making is introduced, before new evidence on students’ actual share in high school choice since the 1990s is presented. Comparative multinomial logistic regressions show the following main findings: (1) Students with concrete educational plans decisively impact their high school choice even when controlling for family background and academic achievement. Students thus clearly impact their own educational pathways and whether inequalities are reproduced. (2) In spite of the recent policy shift towards more individual choice, students’ own educational plans have not become considerably more influential for their final high school placement in 2009 compared to 1995, implying similar constraints for individual choice still. Academic achievement remains decisive for school choice in Japan, as juku have taken over former functions of placement counselling.Steve R. Entrich is a Post-Doc Research Fellow at the Graduate School for East Asian Studies (GEAS) at the Freie Universität Berlin. He holds a Master's degree in History and Educational Sciences (University of Potsdam). Following his stays at Dōshisha University, Kyoto, and the German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo, he received his Ph.D. at the University of Potsdam for his thesis on shadow education in Japan. His recent publications include ‘Shadow Education and Social Inequality in Japan: Evolving Patterns and Conceptual Implications’, Springer International Publishing (2018); ‘Diversification of university entrance examinations and use of out-of-school education in Japan’ with Hirofumi Taki, in Ojima & Aramaki (eds.): ‘High school students' life course and school life and the transformation of social conciousness: Trajectories over 30 years’ (in Japanese). Tokyo: Sekai shisō-sha (2018).
Zeit & Ort
18.06.2018 | 14:00 c.t. - 16:00
Room K.18 (basement)
Graduate School of East Asian Studies