The authors consider various forms of non-normative educational pathways within the cultural contexts of Canada, England, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America. Rather than conducting cross-cultural comparisons of normative educational pathways, the authors focus on (a) identifying unexpected educational pathways across various ages using various analytic methods and (b) examining a wide range of factors that may promote, inhibit, or result from these diverse forms of educational progress. The results are intended to help researchers and policy-makers understand why some students who appear to be on promising educational pathways fail to succeed and why other students, who appear to be at risk for failure, nevertheless go on to negotiate successful educational pathways.
Dr. Peck is a Research Investigator at the Research Center for Group Dynamics in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. He uses a combination of variable- and pattern-centered methodological approaches to study how personal and contextual multilevel systems interact to produce more or less healthy forms of human development. Dr. Feinstein is Professor of Education and Social Policy at the Institute of Education, Univeristy of London and Director of the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, a centre funded by the UK Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families and others to investigate the economic, social, and personal effects of education and other policy interventions. Dr. Eccles is the McKeachie Collegiate Professor of Psychology, Women's Studies, and Education at the University of Michigan. Her most recent work focuses on: (1) ethnicity as a part of the self and as a social category influencing experiences and (2) the relation of self beliefs and identity to the transition from mid to late adolescence and then into adulthood.