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The Evolution of Educational Expectations in Spain (2003-2018): An Analysis of Social Inequality Using PISA

Abstract: This paper examines the educational expectations of the Spanish student body at the end of compulsory education. Using the 2003 and 2018 waves of PISA, I report a remarkable increase in the educational ambition of the Spanish student body. Two aspects are worth noting. Firstly, virtually all 15-years-old students expect to enroll in Upper Secondary Education by 2018. Secondly, Higher Vocational Education has become a very appealing alternative at tertiary level. Furthermore, significant inequalities have been documented in the configuration of educational expectations. However, inequality has been reduced in the expectations of enrolment in Upper Secondary and Tertiary Education due to the higher educational ambition among socioeconomically disadvantaged students. In turn, inequality has increased in the horizontal expectation of enrolment in the academic track in both levels because a larger share of socioeconomically disadvantaged students preferred the vocational track in 2018 (diversion thesis). Using counterfactual analysis, I have observed that this increase in horizontal inequality would have been larger had it not been for the change in the social structure between 2003 and 2018
Keywords: evolution / Inequality / Tertiary / students / diversion / Spanish / expectations / Pisa / Disadvantaged / socioeconomically

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