The life chances of children and young people are to a large extent determined by socio-economic characteristics of the family and society and by the knowledge, skills and personal characteristics developed during upbringing and schooling. While a majority successfully develop the competences required to meet the demands of adult life, some fail to do so, for example because of a lack of resources in the family, inadequate schooling, and mental or physical illness. In order to better understand the factors which influence children’s life chances, the proposed project has three main aims, namely to develop knowledge about determinants of outcomes of schooling; consequences of school failure and mental health problems; and how school failure may be prevented and compensated for.
The project is interdisciplinary, with participants specialized in different areas within education, public health, psychology, sociology and social work. The project work is divided into three strands and six sub-projects. The project is funded through a donation by Stenastiftelsen. The research project belongs to the research environment FUR: förutsättningar, utbildning och results/ Pre-requisites, Education and Results.
The empirical research is based on three longitudinal databases available at the Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg:
(1) The Gothenburg Educational Longitudinal Database (GOLD) which is a register-based population database comprising all students born 1972 and later, and which includes information from educational and other registers.
(2) The UGU (“Utvärdering Genom Uppföljning”) database which comprises 10 representative samples, each with around 10 000 participants born between 1948 and 2004, and which in most cases have questionnaire information and test data from grade 6 and also from later follow-up occasions. Since 2018 the UGU database is a national infrastructure with funding for development and maintenance from the Swedish Research Council.
(3) The RIDDLE (Reading Acquisition: Individual Differences, Development, and Enhancement) project which is a longitudinal prevention study comprising 364 children who were four years old at project start, and who currently are in grade 8.