Objectives: To empirically test the impact of dietary intake at several time points in childhood on children's school attainment and to investigate whether any differences in school attainment between children who ate packed lunches or school meals was due to who these children were, their pre-school dietary patterns, or to what they ate at school. Design: Using longitudinal data available in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), multivariate linear regression was used to assess the relative importance of diet at different ages for school attainment. Main outcome measures: Three indicators of school attainment were used: at ages 4-5 entry assessments to school, at ages 6-7 Key Stage 1 national tests and at ages 10-11 Key Stage 2 national tests. These outcome variables were measured in levels as well as in changes from the previous educational stage. Results: The key finding at age 3 was that ''junk food'' dietary pattern had a negative association with the level of school attainment. A weak association remained after controlling for the impact of other dietary patterns at age 3, dietary patterns at ages 4 and 7 and other confounding factors. The authors did not find evidence that eating packed lunches or eating school meals affected children's attainment, once the impact of junk food dietary pattern at age 3 was accounted for in the model. Conclusions: Early eating patterns have implications for attainment that appear to persist over time, regardless of subsequent changes in diet.The content and quality of food eaten is related to developmental, cognitive and behavioural outcomes that are important in childhood for health and well-being, but also for specific experiences, such as school life.
Many youth in the United States lack clear occupational aspirations. This uncertainty in achievement ambitions may benefit socioeconomic attainment if it signifies “role exploration,” characterized by career development, continued education, and enduring partnerships. By contrast, uncertainty may diminish attainment if it instead leads to “aimlessness,” involving prolonged education without the acquisition of a degree, residential dependence, and frequent job changes. We use nationally representative data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) to examine how uncertainty in occupational aspirations in adolescence (age 16) affects wage attainments in young adulthood (age 26). Results suggest that youth with uncertain career ambitions earn significantly lower hourly wages in young adulthood than youth with professional and non-professional aspirations, supporting the view that uncertainty heightens the risk of labor-market problems.
There has been significant recent research and policy interest in issues of young people's occupational aspirations, transitions to employment and the antecedents of NEET (not in employment, education or training) status. Many have argued that changes to the youth labour market over the past 30 years have led to transitions to work becoming more individualised, complex and troublesome for many, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. However, little research has examined the connection between early uncertainty or misalignment in occupational aspirations and entry into NEET status. This paper draws on the British Cohort Study to investigate these issues, and finds that young people with uncertain occupational aspirations or ones misaligned with their educational expectations are considerably more likely to become NEET by age 18. Uncertainty and misalignment are both more widespread and more detrimental for those from poorer backgrounds. These findings are discussed in the context of recent research and debates on emerging adulthood and the youth labour market.
Promoting social cohesion through education has re-emerged as an important policy objective in many countries during the past decade. But there is little clarity in policy discussions about what social cohesion means and how education may affect it. In this article we distinguish between social capital and societal cohesion and argue that education acts in differential ways on each. Using comparative, cross-country analysis, we develop a 'distributional model' which shows the relationship between equality of educational outcomes and various measures of social cohesion. In the final part of the article we discuss theories explaining the cross-country trends and variations in educational inequality and social inheritance in education, and argue that education system characteristics, such as degrees of 'comprehensiveness' in secondary schooling, may be an important factor in both. We conclude by arguing that policies to increase social cohesion through education must pay more attention to the reduction of educational equality than they currently do.
Objective. The objective of this study was to investigate whether misaligned or uncertain ambitions in adolescence influence the process of socioeconomic attainment. Methods. Using 34 years of longitudinal data from the British Cohort Study (BCS70), we considered whether youth with (1) misaligned ambitions (i.e., those who either over-or underestimate the level of education required for their desired occupation), (2) both low occupational aspirations and educational expectations (low-aligned ambitions), and (3) uncertainty with regard to their future occupations (uncertain ambitions) at age 16 experienced more unemployment spells, lower educational attainment, and lower hourly wages in adulthood compared to youth with high occupational aspirations and educational expectations (high-aligned ambitions). Results. Youth who hold misaligned or uncertain aspirations show long-term deficits in employment stability and educational attainment, which in turn leads to lower wage attainments at age 34. Conclusion. Misaligned and uncertain ambitions in adolescence compromise the construction of life paths and the realization of long-term educational and occupational goals.Research has long shown that ambitious teenagers have higher educational achievement, occupational prestige, and wage attainments in adulthood than youth whose educational and career aspirations are low (Sewell and Hauser, 1975). These findings seem encouraging considering that the proportion of youths in the United Kingdom (and in and other developed nations) aspiring toward graduate/professional degrees and professional occupations that require such qualifications has increased over time (Reynolds et al., 2006;Schoon, 2009;Strand, 2007). Yet despite this recent growth in highly ambitious young people, scholars have voiced concern that some youths are not Social Science Quarterly sure of the schooling necessary to achieve these ambitious career goals (Rosenbaum, 2001;Schneider and Stevenson, 1999;Staff et al., 2010). In particular, Schneider and Stevenson's (1999) theoretical framework notes the importance that aligned ambitions-educational expectations commensurate with occupational aspiration-have in constructing life paths and realizing educational and occupational goals. Accordingly, in comparison to youth with educational and career aspirations that are aligned and certain, youth with misaligned or uncertain ambitions are hypothesized to experience long-term socioeconomic deficits, such as prolonged schooling without the completion of a postsecondary degree, greater work instability, and lower earnings in adulthood.In this study, we examine the long-term socioeconomic consequences that misaligned and uncertain ambitions during adolescence have on work instability, educational attainment, and wages during adulthood using the British Cohort Study (BCS70). While the United Kingdom provides a context similar to the United States-where youths' ambitions are increasing (Strand, 2007;Schoon, 2009) and clear linkages from school to work are often lacking (Scho...
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