Couverture Formation Emploi 158
Formation Emploi, n° 158, July 2022, 255 p.

A new age of school selection ?

Published on
18 July 2022

For certain economic approaches, training would be an opportunity to increase human capital; for others, to sort people. This Formation Emploi's issue illustrates this tension by questioning what seems to be a new age of school selection confronted with different forms and logics in a massive education system. This issue is from the 26th longitudinal days (congress) which took place in Toulouse in 2020.

Edito : Se former, s'orienter, être sélectionné (Article in french)
Jean-Frédéric Vergnies


Introduction : Un nouvel âge de la sélection scolaire ? Formes et logiques de sélection dans un système éducatif massifié (Article in french)
Marianne Blanchard, Philippe Lemistre


“What do they mean when they say the programme is “non-selective” ? Anyone can join it ?” French high-school students’ selection socialisation process (Article in french)
Marion Valarcher

Abstract: Since the introduction of Parcoursup, the high school students from Île-de-France are particularly aware of the existence of a systematic selection process to access higher education. Thus, the distinction between so-called “selective” and “non-selective” programmes no longer makes sense to them : they do not use it either in their discourse or in their orientation practices. However, students continue to consider some programmes as more selective than others. The criteria used to determine the degree of selectivity of programmes depends on their school and class socialisation.


The invisible selection of students with disabilities in higher education : projects, transition and pathways (Article in french)
Anaelle Milon

Abstract: Using data from a longitudinal qualitative survey conducted from 2015 to 2019, this article questions the invisible selection of students with disabilities at the university. Indeed, often marked by ruptures, bifurcations and reorientations, the singular paths of these students highlight an invisible, tacit and informal selection, characterized by the experience of limitations and barriers in their access to knowledge and academic activities. These obstacles reduce the range of academic and professional possibilities, and produce self-selection or self-censorship’s processes during student’s transition and studies in higher education.


Higher education graduation failure: a possible influence of the department of origin? (Article in french)
Arnaud Dupray

Abstract: This article examines the possible impact of the departement of origin on the chances of continuing in higher education after the Baccalaureat and the risk of leaving before obtaining a diploma. Based on the pooling of two cohorts of the Céreq Generation survey, it emerges that the disparities in the number of students continuing their studies between départements are partly linked to differences in family wealth. The variations in the number of people leaving without a diploma between departements lessen as soon as individual characteristics are taken into account. The remaining disparities can be explained by contextual factors: unemployment rate, rate of further study in higher education and the importance of private secondary education.


From disaffection to drop-out : The discreet dropout of rural youth in New Aquitaine (Article in french)
Clément Reversé

Abstract: This article explores the territorial dimension of school dropout by focusing on the experiences of early school leaving among rural youth of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It is based on a qualitative survey of 100 rural youth without a diploma and 24 people responsible for the professional integration and education of these youths in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (France) between 2017 and 2020, While the specificities of education in rural areas may seem more favourable, these young people are above all marked by a phenomenon of disaffection with school and attraction to the local job market at the beginning of middle school, which leads to a dropout that is as abrupt as it is discreet.


A merit-based selection ? Targeting the beneficiaries of the ‘Parcours d’excellence’ programme in priority education (Article in french)
Noémie Olympio, Alice Pavie, Anne Richard-Bossez, Renaud Cornand, Caroline Hache et Nathalie Richit

Abstract: This article analyzes the selective dynamics and conceptions of merit that arise from the national Parcours d’excellence (PAREX) program (2016-2020), in the context of priority education. It is structured in three parts. The first looks back at the institutional framing of selection in the excellence programs and details the specificity of PAREX. The second part, based on quantitative and qualitative data, looks at the school effects that structure the selection of students in PAREX. Finally, the last section examines the effects of selection methods and criteria on the profile of beneficiary students and underlines the importance of the school-based dimension.


The renewal of elites : equal opportunity and judgment devices in selective higher education (Article in french)
Charlotte Glinel, Agnès van Zanten

Abstract: This article focuses on the admissions committees of an equal opportunity programme created by a selective French higher education institution. It analyses its effects on the renewal of modes of access to the elites via education. We highlight the hybrid nature of this selection process by identifying two frames and judgment modes : professorial and managerial. We show how the apparent opposition of the valuation criteria mobilised by jury members do not prevent the emergence of a consensus regarding a new model of ascendant mobility. This model is built on their shared representations of both meritocracy and the lower classes.


Impact of post-baccalaureate orientation and the university effect : the case of île-de-France law students’ trajectories (Article in french)
Mélanie Sargeac

Abstract: This article focuses on three processes that differentiate the trajectories of law students enrolled at universities in Île-de-France. First, we present a quantitative analysis of the post-secondary orientation of students towards different courses in order to determine how the distribution of students at the entrance to higher education produces a social- scholastic polarisation of the student population. We then cross-reference these results with observations of the first day of the new academic year in three Ile-de-France courses. We demonstrate that this socio-scholastic polarisation of students is anticipated by the teaching teams of the various courses, and that this results in an adaptation of the practices and discourse of these teachers according to their public. Finally, by comparing the speeches made at the beginning of the academic year with the student trajectories represented by an analysis of sequences, we highlight an "establishment effect" that appears in the variations in student trajectories between three universities in Ile-de-France.


Is selection at university entrance a guarantee of further study ? Comparison between selective and non-selective degrees in the Humanities (Article in french)
Mathieu Rossignol-Brunet

Abstract: While ‘failure rates’ in bachelor’s degree are high, increasing selection at university could appear as a good instrument to lower it. Through the example of selective bachelor’s degrees in the humanities, we show that despite a significant disparity between training, selection leads to a socially and academically more advantaged recruitment. More than a ‘selection’ effect, it is above all this difference in academic recruitment that explains why students admitted to selective bachelor’s degrees persevere more in their admission discipline and are more likely to succeed early.


School transitions and access to university in Quebec. The differentiated impact of social, cultural and educational factors (Article in french)
Pierre Doray, Benoît Laplante, Natacha Prats

Abstract: The structure of higher education varies across societies, and this affects educational pathways. For example, in some societies, such as Quebec, it is necessary to make two transitions, the first between secondary and the next level, cégep, and the second between cégep and university. This structure prompts the question of how different social, cultural and educational factors affect access to the different levels of education. Do they have a similar impact on the entry to the two levels ? Our results show that the various factors have different influences depending on the type of programme.


Postface : Pourquoi sélectionner les individus dans les systèmes scolaires massifiés ? (Article in french)
Séverine Chauvel


Note de lecture : Présentation de l'ouvrage de Corrine Baujard, Validation des acquis buissonniers, vers une meilleure reconnaissance par l'institution éducative de l'expérience des professionnels, des étudiants et des élèves (Article in french)
par Emmanuelle Auras


Retrouvez les numéros de Formation Emploi sur Open Edition


Retrouvez les numéros de Formation Emploi sur Open Edition








Les numéros récents de Formation Emploi sont disponibles au format électronique en accès payant sur CAIRN


Les numéros de FE avant 20016 sont sur Persée
Les numéros de FE d'avant 2006 sont sur Persée



























Mention the publication

A new age of school selection ?, Formation Emploi, n° 158, 2022, 255 p.