Everyone has their own qualities tracking and academic self-appraisal in Flemish secondary education

Lore Van Praag*, Jannick Demanet, Peter A.J Stevens, Mieke Van Houtte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Track position has an impact on students perceptions of educational success. These perceptions matter as they relate to educational and professional aspirations and choices. In this ethnographic study, based on ethnographic observations and semi-structured interviews in three secondary schools in Flanders (northern part of Belgium), we want to increase our understanding of the combination of within- and between track comparisons for students perceptions of their educational success. The hierarchical nature of the Flemish educational system is reflected in students comparison groups to evaluate their school success. In academic tracks, most students considered their educational career automatically as successful, regardless of their actual grades. Conversely, students in vocational tracks developed more contradictory feelings with respect to their personal school success and felt the need to distinguish themselves from their classmates. Thus, regardless the existence of different school cultures across tracks, students searched for strategies to define themselves as successful in school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-618
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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