The European Educational Researcher

It Takes Less than a Village to Influence Educational Aspirations and Attainment

The European Educational Researcher, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2022, pp. 177-199
OPEN ACCESS VIEWS: 366 DOWNLOADS: 134 Publication date: 15 Jun 2022
Influencers are individuals or entities that meaningfully contribute through a socially constructed process to the formation of educational aspirations and possibly to their attainment. The effect of a specific influencer may differ within the context of multiple influencers. The aim of the current mixed methods study was to investigate how various influencers shape the development of educational aspirations and may contribute to goal setting and eventual attainment of an early aspiration. One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 44 participants who attended high school in Ontario, Canada. Most participants identified as Canadian (54.5%) with a mean age of 29 years and median income of $48,504 Canadian Dollars. Participants were asked about the educational aspirations they had in high school. Retrospective accounts provided the opportunity to ask in the interviews not only who the influencers were but also if aspirations were pursued, changed, or attained. Coding and thematic analysis revealed 11 categories of influencers. Further analysis revealed that individuals with a diverse set of influencers attained their educational goals with an important exception. Young adults with 3 – 5 types of influencers were the largest percentage (61.9%) who achieved their goals, whereas among those with 1, 2, or more than 5 influencers only 21.7% achieved their aspirations. Two influencers that have received little empirical attention emerged: Self and Society/Culture. Findings have implications for encouraging young people and influencers to consider not only how parents and teachers affect educational aspirations but also the composition and size of socio-educational networks.
educational aspirations, number of influencers, attainment, adolescence, youth, goal
Singh, G., Loomis, C., Dimakos, C., O’Malley, B. Y., Lamont, S., Pelletier, J., Christens, B. D., Wright, C., & Peters, R. DeV (2022). It Takes Less than a Village to Influence Educational Aspirations and Attainment. The European Educational Researcher, 5(2), 177-199.
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