Educational aspirations of pupils at transitional periods of Croatian elementary education: nature, determinants and change (COBRAS)

Project beneficiary:

The Institute for Social Research in Zagreb

Financed by:

Croatian Science Foundation

Project duration:

February 2016 – February 2019


The research aims to examine the nature, determinants and change in pupils’ educational aspirations at three transitional periods of Croatian elementary education. Employing a fully integrated mixed model design, combining qualitative and quantitative methods, it represents the first systemic longitudinal examination of this topic in the Croatian context. In this project, educational aspirations are broadly defined as the ambitions and goals pupils hold with regards to both immediate and future educational experiences and outcomes. Within the conceptual framework, educational aspirations are placed at the centre of an ecological system extending from the most proximal levels of the individual pupil, through the level of parents to the more distant levels of class (peers) and school. For each level, a number of psychological concepts are selected in order to investigate the nature and determinants of pupils’ aspirations. The research focuses on the aspirations of pupils from three different cohorts at three transitional periods of elementary education: the introduction to elementary education (1st to 2nd grade), the transition from class to subject teaching (4th to 5th grade) and the completion of elementary education prior to the transition to secondary education (7th to 8th grade). The qualitative research phase centres on an in-depth exploration of educational aspirations through a series of semi-structured interviews with participant triads made up of a pupil, his parent and teacher. The quantitative phase consists of the repeated administration of a pupil questionnaire aimed at examining the determinants of and change in pupils’ educational aspirations. The questionnaire will be administered in 20 randomly selected schools in Zagreb. In each school, all 4th and 7th grade pupils will be invited to participate. The results from both research phases will be integrated through a concurrent examination of individual perspectives over time and the use of statistical modelling from the large samples.

Web site:

Principal investigator:

Boris Jokić


Research team:

Zrinka Ristić Dedić


Iva Košutić


Iris Marušić


Jelena Matić Bojić


Josip Šabić


Gordana Kuterovac Jagodić

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb

Inja Erceg

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb