Social Bonds and School Achievement: A quantitative study of the connection between school social bonds to school among adolescent pupils enrolled in compulsory school in Sweden.
Author: Diana Kajic
Supervisor: Torbjörn Kalin
Over the past few decades, a gender-based gap in scholastic attainment has emerged within Swedish schools. Boys in general, but immigrant boys in particular, have been observed to achieve lower grades and fail more often in school than girls. This is significant, as failing compulsory school constitutes a risk factor for social problems, social exclusion, and mental health problems in adulthood. This is due mainly to the obstacles that such failure imposes on access to further education, employment, and other rites of passage into adulthood. This study, therefore, examines the relationship between school social bonds among compulsory school pupils, with data from 1627 participants, including 801 girls and 826 boys, of which 252 ware immigrants, from the Longitudinal Research of Development in Adolescence (-LoRDIA), - being used. Data was collected through self-reported questionnaires and grade reports. Analysis has been completed through univariate, bivariate and multivariate processes. Effects of social bonds on school attainment ware analyzed through path analysis. The main findings of this study show a clear connection between school social bonds among teenagers. Most participants report to have positive social bonds to school in 7th grade. Over subsequent grades, social bonds are seen to change in a positive direction for boys but a negative direction for girls. Despite their stronger social bonds, boys exhibited lower levels of school attainment than girls, although pupils reporting weaker social bonds also showed lower attainment than pupils with strong social bonds, which in turn limited their options for further education. No significant differences were observed between immigrant and non-immigrant students regarding social bonds to school. Implications for practice and policy are discussed in the study, while further research on the topic is required.
This research is financed by:
Swedish Research Council, FORTE, VINNOVA, Formas.