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Young people’ subject choices – influences and impact

By Nuffield Foundation

What influences students’ decisions about subject choice at school? And what impact do these choices have on their access to higher education?

The Nuffield Foundation hosted a seminar which discussed what the research evidence can tell us about how students make decisions about which subjects to study, and the impact those choices have on their outcomes.

Chaired by Professor Anna Vignoles, the seminar took place on Wednesday 29 November 2017 and brought together findings from three Nuffield-funded studies:

  1. Socio-economic status and subject choice at 14: do they interact to affect university access? Jake Anders, Senior Research Fellow in Education, Evaluation and Inequality, UCL Institute of Education  Read more
  2. What can we learn from studies of pairs of twins about subject and other study choices? Kathryn Asbury, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for the MSc Psychology in Education, University of York  Read more
  3. Does providing young people with information about future earnings influence post-16 subject choices? Peter Davies, Professor of Education, University of Birmingham  Read more

Presentations were followed by a panel discussion featuring:

Download full seminar programme (PDF)

The Nuffield Foundation is open to applications for research and development projects that seek to improve the design and operation of social policy across the three broad domains of Education, Welfare and Justice. Our next outline deadline is 16 March 2018. The full application timetable can be found here.

See our how to apply page for full details.

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We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in EducationWelfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.