Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology

NRO grant for Maaike Engels

Maaike Engels (post-doc RUG) received an NRO grant for her project ‘Bridging the Gap: The Role of Teachers in the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education’

This NRO grant, for promising researchers in education sciences, who have recently received their PhD, means funding for a one to two-year stay at a Dutch research institute.

About the project: The transition from primary to secondary education is an important but often difficult transition in students’ educational careers. Many early adolescents experience this transition as problematic as they have to navigate a new social environment, whereas at the same time school interest and motivation drops. To date, teachers’ role in this transition remains unknown. This project aims to investigate the transition from primary to secondary education and focuses on changes in teacher-student relationships (i.e., quality and quantity) in relation to students’ social and academic functioning.

Specifically, I will examine (a) how teacher-student relationships and students’ social and academic outcomes are associated over time during the transition from primary to secondary education, (b) the relative impact of multiple teacher-student relationships on students’ social and academic functioning, and (c) the relative importance of homeroom teachers compared to other teachers in secondary school for students’ social and academic development. In doing so, this project addresses the need to identify factors fostering successful school transitions and yields insights in how schools can facilitate the transition from primary to secondary education.