Resilience and Educational Pathways: A Longitudinal Analysis of Low Reading Achievers

Victor Thiessen


Utilizing the first three cycles of the Canadian longitudinal Youth in Transition Survey (YITS), this paper analyses the educational pathways of 6,342 Canadian youth who at age 15 scored below the level considered necessary for effective functioning in a knowledge-based society. The concept of resilience is integrated into a broader sociological framework of acceptance of cultural goals and access to the means for achieving these goals. Within this framework, the multiple effects of two components of resilience on educational outcomes are assessed: a) the availability of social and institutional supports and b) youth’s own attitudes, values and behaviours that enabled some of them to overcome the obstacle associated with their limited reading performance. Multinomial logistic regression was used to show that a variety of possible measures of resilience differentiate between dropping out, completing high school, and participating in postsecondary education. Additionally, some aspects of resilience are more effective for avoiding the worst educational outcome (dropping out) while others appear to facilitate achieving the best outcome (participating in postsecondary education). The paper concludes that resilience is better viewed as a sensitizing than a theoretical concept.

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Canadian Journal of Family and Youth / Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse
2008-2014 | ISSN 1718-9748