How and when do educational aspirations, expectations and achievement align?

Nabil Khattab*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a new typology of educational aspirations, expectations and achievement. This typology is derived from combinations of aspirations, expectations and achievement, creating eight possible combinations of aligned and irregular profiles. To devise this new typology, data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) panel survey and matching administrative data from the National Pupil Database (NPD) was utilised. These data were collected in 2004 from a sample of 15,770 young people (YP) aged 13 to 14 attending 647 different schools in England. This study demonstrates that aspirations, expectations and achievement do converge amongst some students; but for most young people they do not always intersect. Many young people succeed academically, but without necessarily developing high aspirations or high expectations. For one out of every five young people, high aspirations and high expectations do not lead to academic achievement. The findings in this paper provide a distinct analytical framework for further research and policy development in this area.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • England
  • Expectations
  • School Achievement
  • Students


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