Children’s expectations for educational attainment: the roles of demographics, economics, and ability

Elizabeth Frankenberg, University of California, Los Angeles

Most studies of schooling focus on attained outcomes such as current enrolment or completed years of schooling. The achievement of a particular educational outcome, however, requires a preceding commitment on the parts of both the child and his or her parents toward pursuing particular educational goals. We know very little about how such goals are formed. Using innovative data collected in Indonesia, this paper explores the ways in which children’s expectations for their own educational attainment are shaped by their gender, their family background, their parents’ characteristics, and household resources. Children and young adults between the ages of 11 and 22 were asked what educational level they expected to achieve, which is converted to a measure of expected years of education. In addition to demographic and socioeconomic correlates of educational expectations, prior levels of cognitive ability and standardized test performance are considered as well.

Presented in Session 3: Schooling