Education models and young people’s attitudes :
an international comparative exploration
Whereas sociology of the curriculum is an established area of study in English-speaking countries, little empirical research on education content has been done in France. The article presents the results of a study of how curricula are structured in a variety of countries and explores whether connections can be established between curriculum type and observed student attitudes. It brings to light three major ideal-typical curriculum models : « total education » systems as opposed to an academic studies model and another model where the aim is to prepare students for occupational life. These differences in education content are consistent with differences in the way schools organize teaching and social relations. The hypothesis that connections exist between student attitudes on one hand, curriculum model and type of social organization within the school on the other is partially confirmed, though this result is obviously contingent on how attitude variables were constructed in the PISA database used. At a more general level, we call into question whether it is actually possible to assess the « effects » of education, namely in the area of attitudes.