Student commitment and purpose in a private secondary school

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Research on public education often concludes that low achievement is partly caused by a lack of student commitment to an educational goal. This study investigates the sense of academic purpose among students in a private secondary school where all graduates go to college, and explores the mechanisms of student commitment built into the social organization of the school. Results show that educational commitment among students develops from intensive face-to-face interaction in a primary community, the sense of history and tradition resulting from continuity in students' educational experiences, and the substantial power students have over their own school lives. These results add qualitative information to the debate over differences between public and private education, and suggest ways to improve public schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-181
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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