Mixed Methods for Research in Education; a Cross-level Study on Education Systems

Castelli, Luciana and Ragazzi, Serena and Cattaneo, Angela (2014) Mixed Methods for Research in Education; a Cross-level Study on Education Systems. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 112. pp. 1207-1216. ISSN 1877-0428

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In order to pursue equity in education, different directions have been taken by scholastic systems in most of the western countries (Origoni, 2007); the government of Cantone Ticino, established the principle of integration and equality of treatment for compulsory school, while it's, no longer pursued when it comes to the non-compulsory upper secondary school, where the objective is a multi- disciplinary formation, well balanced and coherent as condition for academic studies and to respond to society's needs (SKBF|CSRE, 2010). Still, the rate of scholastic failure in first year of upper secondary school in Ticino has increased from the 20% in 1997 to the 29% in 2010. A problem related to scholastic failure in first year persists, and the application of the principle of equity of results, success and achievements is questioned. The aim of the research is to understand reasons behind the growing rate of scholastic failure at first year of upper secondary school in Ticino. A mixed-methods research design (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009) has been implemented. A preliminary analysis of statistical data has been conducted; then, exploratory face-to-face interviews with schools principals (n=6) and teachers differentiated by subject matters and years of experience (n=32) have been administered. Afterwards, an extensive quantitative phase on the population of students has been designed. First results highlighted some peculiar dimensions related to failure and success in first year of secondary school. A cultural discontinuity between lower and upper secondary level has been detected, determined by a contraposition of basic assumption (inclusivity on one side and selectivity on the other) and the consequent lack of connection between teachers, programs, learning methods and evaluation.

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