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Educational decision-making: rationality and the impact of time

By L. Adshead and Anne Jamieson


This paper explores educational decision-making within a life course perspective. It draws on interviews carried out with 34 people, ages 30-81, as part of a longitudinal study into educational experiences of part-time mature students in continuing education at a London university. It considers to what extent their decisions about study are technically rational, as assumed in much policy making. The key focus is on whether there is any evidence that adults become increasingly agentic and rational as they progress through the life course. Our findings suggest that educational decision-making does shift from decisions in young adults being heavily influenced by others, to more autonomous and rational decisions in later life. However the picture was complex with more heterogeneity discernable in mid life, as the effect of structural factors became more evident, especially in the ways choices related to gendered career and family roles

Topics: spe
Publisher: The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1080/02660830.2008.11661562
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