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50% to the bachelor’s degree... but how? Young people from working class families at university in France

Abstract : In France, the majority of baccalaureate holders enroll in university. Based on the panel of pupils who entered collège (secondary school for ages 11-14) in 1995, 70% of children whose parents are managers and professionals or in intermediate occupations obtain a bachelor degree vs. 52% of children whose parents are manual workers. With comparable social backgrounds, students of North African origin are less likely to get a bachelor degree. The differences in graduation rates are greater still between those with a vocational or technology baccalaureate and those with a general baccalaureate; those who got a baccalaureate “avec mention”, a grade higher than a pass, are also more likely to obtain a bachelor degree, especially if they have never repeated a year. Inequalities in learning in primary education have an impact on entry into higher education and getting the bachelor’s degree. Five educational pathways can be distinguished among bachelor graduates. The “respectable” pathways of general baccalaureate holders are the most frequent. Next come the “middle-of-the-road” trajectories, which are neither excellent nor poor. Also fairly frequent are the “second-chance pathways” of students from the technology and vocational education system. More well-known, the last two are also the least frequent: on the one hand, the fragile and difficult secondary pathways identified by Beaud; on the other the “héritiers” described by Bourdieu and Passeron, or rather nowadays, the “héritières”.
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Yaël Brinbaum, Cédric Hugrée, T. Poullaouec. 50% to the bachelor’s degree... but how? Young people from working class families at university in France. Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, INSEE, 2018, pp. 79-105. ⟨10.24187/ecostat.2018.499s.1941⟩. ⟨halshs-01878157⟩

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