MAKING IT THROUGH: PERSISTENCE AND ATTRITION ALONG MUSIC, EDUCATION, AND MUSIC EDUCATION PATHWAYS
Grisé, Adam Twain
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In this secondary analysis of data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, I examine predictive factors related to uptake, persistence, and attrition on professional and educational pathways leading individuals to careers in music, education, and music education. I investigate seven years of longitudinal data comparing persistence and attrition factors between pathways, utilizing a multiple perspectives approach to conceptualize the equity of each point along the path. Using recently updated restricted use data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, an ongoing study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics drawing on a nationally representative sample of over 25,000 individuals, I isolated people who, during their high school or college years, indicated intentions to pursue either educational or professional pathways leading to a career in music education. Additionally, I identified individuals who either expressed intentions to pursue pathways toward teaching a non-music subject or toward becoming a professional musician. Tracking these individuals across four sampling points over a seven year period from the beginning of high school to the end of college illuminates the entry and exit points for aspirant music educators, non-music teachers, and professional musicians. I provide a tripartite conception of equity to evaluate the pathway outcomes associated with persistence and attrition along each of these respective paths by framing each outcome phase in terms of demographics, societal influences, and individual contributions. Comparing these populations horizontally to each other provides perspective on how the music education pathway relates to and differs from these parallel trajectories. Comparing persistent to attritive populations within each stream uncovers systematically predictive factors at key junctures. Findings show the significant influence environmental factors, demographic profile, and individual navigational contributions have on uptake into, persistence along, and attrition from the music, education, and music education pathways. Further, these results illustrate key similarities and differences between those who persist on each parallel path. By illuminating some of the systemic choke points along the progression from high school student to professionally-intent degree seeker, this study may have recruitment, matriculation, retention, and attrition implications for music teachers, music teacher educators, policy makers, gatekeepers, and advocates.