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Cuadernos de Investigación Educativa

Print version ISSN 1510-2432On-line version ISSN 1688-9304


MORENO, Jacqueline Elizabet  and  CHIECHER, Analía Claudia. Drop-outs in Engineering courses. A study of the academic, socio-demographic, vital and work aspects. Cuad. Investig. Educ. [online]. 2019, vol.10, n.2, pp.73-90.  Epub Dec 01, 2019. ISSN 1510-2432.

The study presented in this article proposes a retrospective reconstruction of academic performance in a cohort of engineering students who were contacted five years after their admission to university. At the time of the survey -5 years from the date of their admission-, it was found that half of the cohort had abandoned their studies. This article discusses on the group of subjects who had abandoned studies and analyses those aspects related to their family context, their work experience, and life history of each of them, as well as the reasons for dropping out.

A total of 80 subjects constitute the group who started an engineering course and dropped out within 5 years. Socio-demographic data are available for the entire group, whereas for 18 subjects, it was also possible to administer a semi-structured interview as well as a longitudinal survey to reconstruct their academic performance. The most outstanding results show that, in relation to socio-demographic aspects, most of the subjects came from other localities to start their university studies and their parents had had only access to low educational levels. Regarding employment, the percentage of students who reported working and studying in parallel is not the majority. However, it is noted that on several occasions the start date of employment coincides with the time they began studying at university. Finally, the life events that students have perceived as being influential in their educational trajectories are varied. Nevertheless, by delving deeper into the reasons that led these young people to abandon their studies, we find that most of them account their abandonment to aspects linked to vocational choice and to academic difficulties.

Keywords : academic trajectories; drop-out rates; socio-demographic aspects; family context; work history; personal hallmarks.

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