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How Primary School Children View University By Michael Lee (aged 11)

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1 How Primary School Children View University By Michael Lee (aged 11)

2 My Objectives To Find Out: 1.If children at my school in years 4, 5 and 6 know what a university is? 2.If they want to go to university? (and why?) 3.Where have they learned about university? 4.How does their current career choice fit with their thoughts about university? ??????

3 Methodology Data Collection I chose questionnaires rather than interviews as it was more time efficient for everyone involved. The questionnaire had both open and closed questions -I kept questions as simple as possible. I asked the children to answer without the help of an adult so that the answers came only from the children.

4 Methodology (cont.) Data Collection (cont.) I distributed the questionnaires to a sample of boys and girls in years 4, 5 and 6. I gave out 60 forms ( approx. 1/3 of children in each year). I asked the teachers to give the questionnaires to a mix of abilities in each class. The returned questionnaires were as follows: Data Analysis I used a spreadsheet to code the answers and search for patterns. I applied common sense to group together the answers to the open questions. GirlsBoysTotal Year Year Year

5 Ethics I made it clear that children did not have to answer unless they wanted to. All children signed a consent form and questionnaires were anonymous. I looked after the complete questionnaires very carefully and shredded them once I had transferred the answers to the spreadsheet.

6 What do you think university is? 40/51A place to learn things/ a school for older children 20/51A place to prepare for your chosen job But also: “A proving ground” Somewhere to help make you a success Boarding school Expensive

7 Do you want to go to university? Two thirds of children said they want to go to university. More girls than boys want to go to university No clear trend between year groups. Dearing Report (2000): 33% of young people go into in higher education. Percentage of completed questionnaires (n=51)

8 Why do you want to go to university? Most children see university as a way to get a better job. Making friends and learning are also significant factors. Little explanation of “other” Percentage of children who want to go to university (n=34) Children could choose more than one answer

9 Where have you heard people talking about university? Two thirds of children have heard people talking about university at home Very few children have heard university talked about at school. Percentage of completed questionnaires (n=51) Children could choose more than one answer

10 Has anyone in your family been to university? 37 of the 51 (72%) of children have family members who have been to university. BUT – 12 (25%) of children were not sure if a family member has been to university Number of completed questionnaires (n=51)

11 Influence of family on children Of 34 children who want to go university: 26 have a family member who went to university (76%) 27 have heard university talked about at home (79%) Of the 15 children who were unsure about going to university: 10 have a family member who went to university (67%) 9 have heard university talked about at home (60%) A slightly higher proportion of children who have family members with university experience OR who hear about university at home definitely want to go to university. The data sample is too small to draw conclusions from those that do not want to go to university. (Only 2 responses.)

12 Does the child need a university degree for their choice of job? Do you want to go to university? Need degree for job Yes Not sure No Grand Total Yes Maybe11 No Grand Total Children have aligned their choice of job with their choice about university. (Green cells) 12 Children have chosen a job that is not aligned with their job choice. (Red cells) Many children have little idea of the education required to do the job they want to do. Children who chose a job (n=41)

13 Conclusions The following conclusions are based on 51 children (in years 4, 5 and 6) at my school: 1.Children see university as a place to learn (78%) and prepare for their chosen job (39%). 2.Most children want to go to university (66%), or still have an open mind (30%). 3.The most common reason for wanting to go to university is to get a better job (76%). 4.The biggest influence on children’s opinions comes from their family life. 5.Many children do not yet understand the education they need for the job they want to do. Larger scale research would be required to see if this is the typical across the UK.

14 And finally….. Dr. Chae-Young Kim Dr. Cindy Kerawalla Mrs. Law


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