Change in Students’ Educational Expectations – A Meta-Analysis

  •  Martin Pinquart    
  •  Martin C. Pietzsch    


Data from the U.S. and Canada indicate that students’ educational expectations are often unrealistically high. Thus, the present meta-analysis tested whether students tend to decrease, on average, their educational expectations from childhood to emerging adulthood. A systematic search in the electronic databases ERIC, PsycInfo, PSYNDEX, and Web of Science identified 91 longitudinal studies the results of which were integrated with multi-level meta-analysis. While expectations about the highest future educational degree showed very small declines per year (of g = -.02 standard deviation units), the mean yearly decline of expectations about future grades was estimated to be g = -.73. Moderator analysis found a decline in expectations about the final degree only in studies from the U.S. and Canada—countries with the highest gap between expectation and future educational attainment. In addition, change in expectations about the final degree varied by age, with the strongest decline being observed around the age of 20 years. We conclude that positive expectations about the final educational attainment often tend to persist over longer intervals probably due to lacking strong counter-evidence and because of indicating a desirable outcome.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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1. Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.11
2. h-index (December 2021): 29
3. i10-index (December 2021): 87
4. h5-index (December 2021): N/A
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