The Risk Of Failure In Spain

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The risk of failure in Spain

School failure in Spain is a problem we are currently facing. We could define it as:

(…) The situation of the student who tries to achieve the minimum objectives set by the institution -the compulsory education -fails and retires after being classified as such; In sum, after being suspended in general, certified instead of graduate, etc., according to the peculiar terminology of each normative moment or each cultural context. In the Spanish case, the student who fails to finish the ESO and leaves her with a certificate of having taken her but without the graduate title, who proves to have overcome her.  

That is, when a student does not reach the expected level of performance for their age and pedagogical level we could say that we are facing a case of school failure. If your educational or family environment detects the difficulties that the student is going through, the relevant actions can be studied and launched. Otherwise, the student will have disorders in their learning that, in the worst case, will accumulate each course that it does, then speaking of cumulative school failure.

One of the consequences of this school failure is abandonment, which occurs when a student does not complete a compulsory, regulated and ordinary secondary education, such as Baccalaureate or a medium grade training cycle.

Leaving the educational system is a personal decision, the final result of a progressive disappointment process that has been revealed as a complex and multifaceted. Abandonment is also the culmination of a resistance trajectory to participation in the education system. In personal terms, the process of school failure is usually understood by its protagonists as a combination of two ingredients to a greater or lesser degree: disinterest and difficulty.

The disinterest in the studies and the difficulty of following them are properly related to each other, although it is probably not possible to know if one is the cause of the other or vice versa. The facts we know and interest us are: first, that are not uniformly distributed among the school population; Second, they are the central element of a process of output of the education system that includes delays, bad notes, neglect, indiscipline and absenteeism; And third, they are integrated and assumed by primary and secondary students as an acceptable mental model of their passage through the educational system.  

Its distribution by the national territory is very different from one region to another, since there are various factors that determine it, such as social origin, migration, ethnicities, gender, family situation or bullying.

The most representative factor is the social origin of the student. As Shavit and Blossfeld (1993) point out the probability of access to higher education is six times greater for the children of the middle classes than for those of the working classes. The family, as we know, is a key socialization agent that plays a central role in the transmission of norms and values ​​to its members (Collet, Besalú, Feu and Tort, 2014), so it becomes an area of ​​fundamental analysis To understand the educational opportunities of adolescents.The family environment, as well as the educational level of the parents, has a direct relationship. In the following table we can see that the higher the formative level of the parents, the lower the level of failure of their children.

Although the table does not collect all social class indicators or the complexity of its structure, it is sufficient to see the association between class and school failure. The risk of failure between students belonging to working classes (44.8%) is practically double that for medium -class students (22.7%). They also highlight the percentages obtained in the groups of students with results below a standard deviation and those that aspire to an educational level of postsecundaria, since the value triples between classes.

If we now analyze the same data but relating them to the maximum educational level of the parents, the results we obtain are practically the same.

Students whose parents do not have any studies have a repetition percentage of almost 50%, practically 40% do not aspire to continue their studies after ESO, 43% have qualifications below average and almost 63% can be a victim of school failure. If we now analyze the percentages of those students whose parents finished their university, media or higher studies, show around 22% of course repetitions, only 7% have no intention of continuing their studies after ESO, 12% It has lower ratings than average and 27% can suffer a risk of school failure.

The biggest difference is found among groups with parents without studies and parents with higher studies, from 20.2% to 62.9%, which shows that the way in which cultural transmission is developed, therefore, explains that certain groups have "guaranteed" success or failure in their passage through the teaching system (Bonal, 1998: 76).

Given this data, it is curious to see how this trend is not met students whose parents studied only until ESO, professional training or high school, since in these groups there are no significant differences in any of the indicators.

It is striking a study of the etefil that analyzes the level of the parents of those students who abandon the ESO unfinished and those who do.

Within the group of those who end the ESO, the highest percentage, 41.3%, corresponds to the children of parents who have only reached mandatory studies, followed by 24.6%, corresponding to the group with parents than They have a university degree or higher studies. This data breaks the expected, if we rely on what has been seen so far.

And on the side of the students who leave ESO, it is seen that the highest percentage, 56.4%, corresponds again to the children of parents who have only reached mandatory studies, followed by 20.7%, corresponding to the group with parents without studies.

The effect of the family environment on educational expectations towards children and on the pressure exerted by parents so that children continue to study vary according to social class. For a family in which parents do not have any studies, that their children get to finish ESO can be a success, however, for a family with parents who have achieved higher studies, not aspire to greater training would be A failure. As is known, the educational expectations of parents towards children are in relation to the level of studies of the former with which, at a higher level of family studies, greater educational expectations towards children.

On the other hand, there is the issue of the aid that parents can offer to their children when they have problems with their studies, more prepared parents at the level of studies have greater ease to help their children in certain problems that may arise. However, students with less prepared parents can help their children in the early stages, by the time they level up they find a lot of difficulty to help them or directly do not have enough knowledge to do so.

We can conclude that the living conditions of families are totally related to the failure and school abandonment of adolescents that come from the most disadvantaged social classes, since their way of perceiving the value of education is totally different. Parents with a high level of studies have a greater awareness of the importance of studies and try their children to continue their way. In the opposite case, the lack of culture in the studies, can not be made.


  • Fernández Enguita, M., Mena Martínez, L. and Riviere Gómez, J. (2010). School failure and abandonment in Spain. Barcelona: La Caixa Foundation
  • Martínez García, J. S. (2009). "School failure, Pisa and the Difficult that" in the Magazine of the Association of Sociology of Education. Vol. 2, no. 1, pp.56-85. https: // = 2794364 [Consultation: October 19, 2019]
  • Navarro Murugere, and. (2014/2015). Relationship between the family environment and school failure. Final Degree Work. La Rioja: Publications Service of the University of La Rioja
  • Tarabini, a. And Curran, M. (2015). "The effect of social class on educational decisions: an analysis of the opportunities, beliefs and educational desires of young people" in Education Research Magazine. Vol. 13, no. 1, pp.7-26. http: // reined.websites.Uvigo.It is/index.PHP/REINED/ARTICLE/VIEW/239/273 [Consultation: October 13, 2019]


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