The extent of dropout from higher education is a cause for concern in much of the Western world, especially because, despite the large amounts of money and resources invested over the last two decades, dropout rates have remained almost unchanged. In view of this, the aim of this research is to identify and analyse the factors with the greatest impact on dropout in the three higher education centres in Rivera (Uruguay), which are affected by unfavourable socio-academic contexts. A qualitative methodology was used, based on survey techniques, in-depth interviews, and a focus group, using the 2014 cohorts as units of analysis. These included students who were still studying and others who had dropped out at the time of the empirical work (2016). The main finding of the research was that in unfavourable socioacademic contexts, as in the case in Rivera, the explanatory chain for dropout from higher education is very different from the one for more favourable contexts. Indeed, poor academic performance, which often precedes dropping out, happens because students do not study enough, and this can largely be explained by them having little motivation for their chosen programmes because they have enrolled on courses that are not what they would have chosen if they had the chance to take their preferred subject, something they were prevented from doing by the limited range on offer near where they live. The main conclusion is that the structural conditions in unfavourable socio-academic contexts, especially the limited range of programmes, are a powerful explanatory factor for dropout from higher education, especially in the first year.

 


 

This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 276 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: Acevedo Calamet, F. (2020). Factores explicativos del abandono de los estudios en la educación superior en contextos socio-académicos desfavorables | Explanatory factors for dropout from higher education in unfavourable socio-academic contexts. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 78 (276), 253-270. doi: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP78-2-2020-02

Acevedo, F. (2009). El Centro Universitario de Rivera, impulsor del sistema nervioso de la región. Análisis, diagnosis, prognosis. Montevideo: Comisión Coordinadora del Interior, Universidad de la República. Acevedo, F. (2011). Dicen. Calidad educativa y gobernabilidad en un instituto de formación docente. Montevideo: Erga Omnes Ediciones.

Acevedo, F. (2012). Ante el naufragio. Una propuesta para la formación de actores de la enseñanza. Montevideo: Consejo de Formación en Educación, Administración Nacional de Educación Pública.

Acevedo, F. (2013, October). Abandono y riesgos de abandono en la educación superior en el interior del país. Un análisis provisional. In Transiciones entre ciclos, riesgos y desafiliación en la Educación Media y Superior deUruguay. Symposium conducted at the regional seminar-workshop of the Centro Universitario de Rivera, Universidad de la República, Rivera.

Acevedo, F. (2014a). Una aproximación a la desafiliación educativa en la transición hacia la Educación Superior en el interior de Uruguay. Páginas de Educación, 7 (1), 131-148.

Acevedo, F. (2014b). La desafiliación en un centro de formación docente. Un análisis provisional. In T. Fernández & Á. Ríos (Eds.), El tránsito entre ciclos en la Educación Media y Superior de Uruguay (pp. 183-208). Montevideo: Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica, Universidad de la República.

Acevedo, F. (2017, September). La oferta de estudios terciarios en el noreste de Uruguay y sus efectos en la persistencia estudiantil. In XVI Jornadas de Investigación Científica de la Facultad de Ciencias Sociales. Symposium conducted at the sessions of the Faculty of Social Sciences Universidad de la República, Montevideo.

Álvarez, P., Cabrera, L., González, M., & Bethencourt, J. (2006). Causas del abandono y prolongación de los estudios universitarios. Paradigma, 27 (1), 01-22.

Álvarez González, M., Figuera, P., & Torrado, M. (2011). La problemática de la transición Bachillerato- Universidad en la Universidad de Barcelona. Revista Española de Orientación Psicopedagógica (REOP), 22 (1), 15-27.

Astin, A., & Oseguera, L. (2012). Pre-College and Institutional Influences on Degree Attainment. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College Student Retention: Formula for student success (pp. 119-143). Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Bean, J. P. (1990). Understanding why students leave: Insights from research. In D. Hossler & J. P. Bean (Eds.), The Strategic Management of College Enrollments (pp. 147-169). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Boado, M., Custodio, L., & Ramírez, R. (2011). La deserción estudiantil universitaria en la UDELAR y en Uruguay entre 1997 y 2006. Montevideo: Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica, Universidad de la República.

Bricall, J. M. (Ed.) (1998). Informe Universidad 2000. Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos. Retrieved from http://www.oei.es/oeivirt/ bricall.htm (Consulted on 11-09-2017).

Brunner, J. J. (2011). Constantes, novedades y preguntas sobre la deserción escolar. Notas para el Seminario «Deserción Escolar en Educación Básica». CEPAL. Retrieved from http:// 200.6.99.248/~bru487cl/files/Notas_Desercion_ 1205011.pdf (Consulted on 8-11-2017).

Cabrera, A., Pérez, P., & López, L. (2014). Evolución de perspectivas en el estudio de la retención universitaria en los EE.UU.: bases conceptuales y puntos de inflexión. In P. Figuera (Ed.), Persistir con éxito en la universidad: de la investigación a la acción (pp. 15-40). Barcelona: Laertes.

Cabrera, L., Bethencourt, J. T., González Afonso, M., & Álvarez Pérez, P. (2006a). Un estudio transversal retrospectivo sobre prolongación y abandono de estudios universitarios. RELIEVE, 12 (1), 105-127.

Cabrera, L., Tomás, J., Álvarez Pérez, P., & González Afonso, M. (2006b). El problema del abandono de los estudios universitarios. RELIEVE, 12 (2), 171-203.

Cambours, A. M., & Gorostiaga, J. M. (2016). Reflexiones finales. Hallazgos y tareas pendientes. In A. M. Cambours & J. M. Gorostiaga (Coords.), Hacia una universidad inclusiva. Nuevos escenarios y miradas (pp. 217-221). Buenos Aires: Aique Grupo Editor.

Christie, H., Tett, L., Cree, V., Hounsell, J., & Mc- Cune, V. (2008). A real rollercoaster of confidence and emotions: learning to be a university student. Studies in Higher Education, 33 (5), 567-581. Coates, H. (2008). Student engagement in campusbased and online education: university connections. London: Routledge.

Corominas, E. (2001). La transición a los estudios universitarios. Abandono o cambio en el primer año de universidad. Revista de Investigación Educativa, 19 (1), 127-151.

Dorio, I., & Corti, F. (2014). El primer año en la universidad. La experiencia de los estudiantes. In P. Figuera (Ed.), Persistir con éxito en la universidad: de la investigación a la acción (pp. 157-172). Barcelona: Laertes.

Fernández, T., & Cardozo, S. (2014a). Acceso y persistencia en el tránsito a la educación superior en la cohorte de estudiantes uruguayos evaluados por PISA en 2003. In T. Fernández & Á. Ríos (Eds.), El tránsito entre ciclos en la Educación Media y Superior de Uruguay (pp. 123-146). Montevideo: Comisión Sectorial de Investigacion Científica, Universidad de la República.

Fernández, T., & Cardozo, S. (2014b). Educación Superior y persistencia al cabo del primer año en Uruguay. Un estudio longitudinal con base en la cohorte de estudiantes evaluados por PISA 2003. Páginas de Educación, 7 (1), 103- 128.

Gairín, J., Triado, X., Feixas, M., Figuera, P., Aparicio- Chueca, P., & Torrado, M. (2014). Student dropout rates in Catalan universities: profile and motives for disengagement. Quality in Higher Education, 20 (2), 165-182.

Gale, T., & Parker, S. (2014). Navigating change: a typology of student transition in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 39 (5), 734-753.

Gunuc, S., & Kuzu, A. (2015). Student engagement scale: development, reliability and validity. Journal Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40 (4), 587-610.

Habley, W., Bloom, J., & Robbins, S. (2012). Increasing Persistence. Research-Based Strategies for College Student Success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Holliman, A. J., Martin, A. J., & Collie, R. J. (2018). Adaptability, engagement, and degree completion: a longitudinal investigation of university students. Educational Psychology, 38 (6), 785-799.

Hong, B. S., Shull, P. J., & Haefner, L. A. (2012). Impact of perceptions of faculty on student outcomes of self-efficacy, locus of control, persistence, and commitment. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 13 (3), 289-309.

Johnston, B. (2013). El primer año de universidad. Una experiencia positiva de transición. Madrid: Narcea.

Juarros, M. F. (2006). Educación Superior, ¿como derecho o como privilegio? Las políticas de admisión a la universidad en el contexto de los países de la región. Andamios, 3 (5), 69-90.

Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing Student Engagement in Higher Education. Studies in Higher Education, 38 (5), 758-773.

Kahu, E. R., & Nelson, K. (2018). Student engagement in the educational interface: understanding the mechanisms of student success. Higher Education Research & Development, 37 (1), 58-71.

Karp, M. M. (2011). How Non-Academic Supports Work: Four Mechanisms for Improving Student Outcomes. New York: Community College Research Center.

Krause, K.-L., & Coates, H. (2008). Students’ engagement in first-year university. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33 (5), 493- 505.

Krause, K.-L., Hartley, R., James, R., & McInnis, C. (2005). The First Year Experience in Australian Universities: Findings from a Decade of National Studies. Melbourne: Department of Education, Science and Training, Australian Government-Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne.

Kuh, G., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J., Whitt, E., & Associates (2010). Student Success in College. Creating Conditions that Matter. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lillis, M. P. (2012). Faculty emotional intelligence and student-faculty interactions: implications for student retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 13 (2), 155-178.

Lyche, C. (2010). Taking on the Completion Challenge: A Literature Review on Policies to Prevent Dropout and Early School Leaving. OECD Education Working Papers, 53. doi: https://doi. org/10.1787/5km4m2t59cmr-en

Mortenson, T. G. (2012). Measurements of Persistence. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College Student Retention: Formula for student success (pp. 35- 59). Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

OECD (2012). Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing. doi: https:// doi.org/10.1787/eag-2012-en

Pineda-Báez, C., Pedraza-Ortiz, A., & Moreno, I. (2011). Efectividad de las estrategias de retención universitaria: la función del docente. Educación y Educadores, 14 (1), 119-135.

Raju, D., & Schumacker, R. (2015). Exploring Student Characteristics of Retention that Lead to Graduation in Higher Education Using Data Mining Models. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 16 (4), 563-591.

Scanlon, L., Rowling, L., & Weber, Z. (2007). ‘You don’t have like an identity... you are just lost in a crowd’: forming a student identity in the first-year transition to university. Journal of Youth Studies, 10 (2), 223-241.

Seidman, A. (2012a). Introduction. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College Student Retention. Formula for Student Success (pp. 1-5). Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Seidman, A. (2012b). Taking Action. A Retention Formula and Model for Student Success. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College Student Retention. Formula for Student Success (pp. 267-284). Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Serra, L. (2012). How to Define Retention. A New Look at an Old Problem. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College Student Retention. Formula for Student Success (pp. 81-99). Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: a theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45 (1), 89-125.

Tinto, V. (1987). El abandono de los estudios superiores. Una nueva perspectiva de las causas del abandono y su tratamiento. Mexico: UNAMANUIES.

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Tinto, V. (2007). Research and Practice of Student Retention: What Next? Journal of College Student Retention, 8 (1), 1-19.

Tinto, V. (2010). From theory to action: Exploring the institutional conditions for student retention. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, 25, 51-90.

Tinto, V. (2012a). Completing College: rethinking institutional action. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Tinto, V. (2012b). Moving from Theory to Action. A Model of Institutional Action for Student Success. In A. Seidman (Ed.), College Student Retention. Formula for Student Success (pp. 251-266). Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.

Tinto, V. (2017). Reflections on student persistence. Student Success, 8 (2), 1-8.

Webb, O. J., & Cotton, D. R. E. (2018). Early withdrawal from higher education: a focus on academic experiences. Teaching in Higher Education, 23 (7), 835-852.

Yorke, M. (1998). Undergraduate Non-completion in England: Some Implications for the Higher Education System and its Institutions. Tertiary Education and Management, 4 (1), 59-70.

Zepke, N. (2014). Understanding Teaching, Motivation and External Influences in Student Engagement: How Can Complexity Thinking Help? Research in Post-compulsory Education, 16 (1), 1-24.

Fernando Acevedo Calamet is an Architect, Bachelor in Social Anthropology and Master in Education Policy and Management. PhD from the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja. He works as a Profesor at the Northeast Regional University Centre of the Universidad de la República and is the Academic Head of the Centre for the Study of Educational Policies. His main lines of research focus on the quality of education and the dropout rate in higher education.

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0815-7980