Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 375–397 | Cite as

‘The trouble with Year 10’. 13 – 16 year old school students’ attitudes to higher education

  • Pam Maras
  • Kirsty Carmichael
  • Swatee Patel
  • Jennifer Wills


This study looked at the impact of Widening Participation interventions on the attitudes of young people towards higher education. A total of 2731 adolescents aged 13–16 years completed a self-report measure of their attitudes to higher education, general and academic self concept and identification with school, family and peers. This was matched with data on the students’ academic attainment and social backgrounds. As expected, attainment scores were significantly positively correlated with take up of Widening Participation activities aimed at increasing participation in higher education, attitudes towards going to university and academic motivation. However, attainment was negatively correlated with perceptions of family attending university and identification with family. Regression analyses found that perceptions of family views about attending university were not a predictor of taking part in Widening Participation activities but were a predictor of attitudes towards higher education. Students in Year 10 aged 14–15 were significantly more negative on most factors than either older or younger students.


social identity self concept motivation attitudes to higher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pam Maras
    • 1
  • Kirsty Carmichael
    • 1
  • Swatee Patel
    • 1
  • Jennifer Wills
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and CounsellingUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK

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