School segregation and declining educational outcomes : An analysis of urban and school segregation and the possibility of neighbourhood effects in upper comprehensive schools in Helsinki

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202008213809
Title: School segregation and declining educational outcomes : An analysis of urban and school segregation and the possibility of neighbourhood effects in upper comprehensive schools in Helsinki
Author: Suomalainen, Aino
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202008213809
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318459
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This Master’s thesis studies the mechanisms connected to negative changes in educational outcomes in upper comprehensive schools in Helsinki. What are the factors associated with negative changes in educational outcomes of individual students during the transition from 7th to 9th grade? There is an increased socioeconomic and ethnic segregation in Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and the differences between schools’ levels of success have also been growing throughout the 21st century. There is little research on combining schools and city development in Finland. The aim is to examine is there an association between decreasing individual educational outcomes and socio-spatial or school segregation, and to look at what is the role of individual factors and social context in decreased educational outcomes. Studying pupils and schools is a good way to capture local processes of differentiation and neighbourhood effect, because children and youth are especially prone to neighbourhood and school effects due to their ongoing process of socialization, localized lives in their neighbourhood and shared institutions, such as school. This study is conducted quantitatively, and the main method in this study is hierarchical linear regression. The data is from Metropolitan Longitudinal Finland research, which studies the success and wellbeing of pupils in upper comprehensive schools in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. The study was conducted during the Fall of 2011 and the Spring of 2014 tracking the same cohort when the pupils were in their 7th and 9th grades. The results suggest that there are no differences found between schools, but some of the qualities describing neighborhoods indicate that some neighbourhood effect might be found. There are indications that pupils with decreased educational outcomes are more likely to study in schools that are located in low income areas than higher income areas. Also, for pupils with decreased educational outcomes, attending a school that is located in Northern or Southeastern Great districts is more likely than attending a school in Eastern Great district. Based on the results, pupils with negative change in educational outcomes are more likely to spend time with friends of own area than with school friends. Boys have a bigger risk for a negative change in educational outcomes than girls, and the change of school is connected to decreased educational outcomes. Mother’s education and immigration background was not found to have connection with decreased educational outcomes. Decreased educational outcomes have a connection with a low parents’ pedagogical ethos, but no connection with peers’ pedagogical ethos was found. The results are significant from the perspective of urban and educational politics and planning. The indications that the educational outcomes in upper comprehensive schools in Helsinki are differentiated in neighborhood level for example between Great districts, and in individual level between genders, challenge the goals of equal educational opportunities. Also, urban planning should be targeted to prevent socio-spatial differentiation of neighborhoods, in order to combat differentiation in schools’ composition of pupils. In future research, the starting level of educational success could be studied more closely- does decrease in educational outcomes implicate different educational paths for pupils that start with high starting level than pupils that have lower starting level in the beginning? This study provided information that there are no differences between schools found currently, but the processes of differentiation are not stable, so the processes should be observed continuously.
Subject: segregation
school choice
school differentiation
neighbourhood effect
peer effect
pedagogical ethos
educational outcomes
Discipline: none


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