Department of Education in the USA

Posted on 1 March 2014

Dr Gill Hampden-Thompson recently gave three talks in the USA.

Combining large-scale secondary analysis with in-depth qualitative methods

24 February at University of Maryland (Baltimore County), USA

Quantitative secondary analysis of large-scale data can be combined with in-depth qualitative methods. Dr Hampden-Thompson will discuss the role of this combined methods approach in examining the uptake of physics and chemistry in post compulsory schooling for students in England. The secondary data analysis of the National Pupil Database (NPD) served three distinct purposes in the design of this study.

Dropouts in Refugee Schools in the Middle East

4 March at Pennsylvania State University, USA

While school dropout is an enduring issue worldwide, relatively very little global research has been conducted in this area (for exceptions see Al-Hroub, 2011; Sabates, Akyeampong, Westbrook & Hunt, 2010). Lessening the prevalence of dropouts in all school systems is an important issue. However, it becomes more salient in areas of the developing world where school completion is vital for achieving many basic economic, social, and health outcomes.  Dropping out of school is often viewed as a single event in which a student simply stops attending school one day. This is very rarely the case. Instead, school dropout is often the result of a series of events or processes that culminate into the final action of the student attending school for the very last time. Rather that referring to this as dropping out, it could be characterized as fading out. Given this, there may be many points along the process of fading out in which actions can be taken and the path to dropping out prevented. Recognizing factors that are indicators of potential school dropout and reacting to them may prevent students from leaving school prematurely. This was the motivation behind this research on school dropouts conducted with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). For UNRWA it was hoped that the collection and analysis of data from students who had dropped out of Palestine refugee schools in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank may reveal warning signs and risk factors that could be identified before the student leaves school prematurely and help put in place interventions and supports to help the student continue their education.

As part of this talk, I will also reflect on the challenges faced by researchers collecting data in the middle east and also on working with organisations like UNRWA.

Changes in Family Structure and the Educational Persistence of Young People in England

17 March at Child Trends, Washington, DC, USA

Despite the abundant high quality research being conducted in the United States, relatively little research has been conducted in family structure and children’s wellbeing recently in Europe. There is a need for UK research that considers the educational impact of all types of family structures and the educational impact of family change.

This presentation will focus primarily on educational persistence among young people in England who experienced a change in their family structure in the four years prior to the end of compulsory education. The likelihood of staying in education is also explored for other family structures.