Early antecedents, developmental trajectories and mechanisms involved in dropping out of school and marginalization from society

Main funder

Funds granted by main funder (€)

24 220,00

Funding program

Research costs of Academy Research Fellow, AoF (Academy of Finland)

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2019

Project end date: 31/08/2022


Dropping out of school, and, as a consequence, marginalization from society are serious problems both for the individual and for the whole society. The aim of the current research proposal is to examine the early antecedents of dropping out from upper secondary and vocational education and to identify different trajectories that lead to dropping out of school later on. Furthermore, the key mechanisms that may change developmental trajectories during school years will be examined.
Our current understanding about early markers of dropping out is limited, because longitudinal studies on the subject have typically spanned only a short period of time. The present project will use data that spans over 13 years and covers the most important antecedents and mechanisms that can be assumed to play a role in dropping out of school and further marginalization from the society. The first part of the study will use existing data from the First Steps study (Lerkkanen et al., 2006–2016) and its’ continuation, the School Path study (Vasalampi & Aunola, 2016–2020). Together, the follow-up of the 2000 participants spans already from kindergarten to the end of upper secondary education. The data includes a broad range of measures regarding students’ skills, motivation, social relations, and well-being (tests, parent-, teacher-, and student-ratings), and from upper secondary education it includes adolescents’ educational decisions and well-being and as well as a registered information of dropping out from school. The second part of the study will use another longitudinal data set; registered data from the Finnish Insurance Institute (KELA). Registered data will be integrated with a follow-up to examine the role that societal support and benefits for participants’ health, learning, and working play on developmental trajectories and whether support by society can prevent dropping out and marginalization. The third part of the study will collect 50 interviews focusing on participants’ retrospective experiences about the key factors that have affected their development during school years. The data will be analysed using SEM modelling, qualitative thematic analyses and a mixed method approach. This project will add substantially to our scientific understanding of the longitudinal development of dropping out of school and marginalization from society and it will improve evidence-based implications for interventions to avoid the development of dropping out as early as needed.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

Last updated on 2019-17-07 at 12:59