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Personal features and educational experiences of Adult High School Students (AHS)


School drop-out and failure rates have been and remain persistent problems in our education system (particularly among certain social groups). In the case of Spain, early drop-out figures are some of the highest in the European Union. Therefore, increasing the number of students that complete compulsory secondary education (ESO) remains a priority for the Spanish system.

This project focuses on students in adult high schools. Exploring their experiences will help us detect where the ordinary education system is failing and outline actions that might motivate adults who dropped out or did not manage to complete their studies at the time. We understand that motivation among this population group varies widely and will differ from anyone who (a) went through a successful education process (obtaining their school leavers' (ESO) certificate within the ordinary time frame and school years) and anyone who (b) did not obtain their ESO qualification and does not plan to ever study again.  The research is driven by questions such as: Why did participants not finish ESO or the equivalent of this education level? In the event of obtaining the compulsory education certificate prescribed by law at the time, why do adult students decide to go back to school? What specific reasons have pushed them to return to school? How do they perceive their current education experience? What differences have they encountered compared to their past experience? What are their expectations once they finish ESO (in terms of work, personal life, training, etc.)?

This project began with a series of aims in line with the European Union Progress report towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training. Indicators and benchmarks 2008, as well as actions envisaged in the Conclusions on reducing early school leaving and promoting success in school (2015). The project will help to:

  • Improve the educational offer, particularly for collectives with greater failure rates.

  • Prevent early school leaving (understanding essential motivation for continuing to study/train).

  • Design personal, work-oriented guidance to fit the adult student profile.

  • Encourage transition between educational stages and the world of work.

  • Make alternative educational pathways visible for students who have not found what they were looking for in the ordinary education system.

  • Promote second chance systems and support mechanisms to include adult students in training, or anyone with a poor school record. 

Principal Investigator

Maite Aznárez
Principal Investigator

General contact:
Campus universitario s/n
31009 Pamplona

+34 948 425 600