ISCY will compare how well school systems in major cities in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia are preparing young people for further study and work.

The study will compare the following across the participating cities:

  • patterns of school provision for young people of similar socio-economic status and other characteristics
  • the main pathways taken by students through the program options in the final years of school
  • the magnitude of differences in student perceptions and attitudes towards the social system, and in student assessments of school as a vehicle for their aspirations
  • differences in the extent to which young people from comparable backgrounds achieve their educational and career goals
  • the extent to which students’ perceptions and attitudes change over the final years of school, taking into account the economic and social environments within which they complete education or training.

In addition to international comparisons, the study will examine the following within each system:

  • young people’s engagement in school as a means of realizing their goals; their aspirations for education and career; the quality of their instructional experience; their relationship to learning; the quality of their relationships to teachers and other students; their confidence in themselves, their schools and their societies to create a good life; and their integration into economic, social and political life.
  • the pathways through academic, general or vocational education taken by young people who start from different “sites” within a school system, and who are relatively advantaged or disadvantaged in social and academic terms.
  • variance in young people’s perceptions and outlooks according to the pathways they take in the final years of school and according to their relative social and academic status.
  • the range of support structures, programs and activities which schools operate to assist weaker learners to complete school successfully or to undertake alternative courses, and the ways in which stronger learners are challenged and extended in their transition through to the end of school.
  • the destinations of young people over the final years of school, and how these differ according to family background, locality, type of school and level of achievement at the beginning of these years.