Diverging Pathways follows the careers of a British birth cohort into early adulthood, presenting a detailed picture of the family backgrounds and the school and early labor force achievements of the cohort. The study portrays how the social arrangements of society's institutions deflect people's achievement patterns. Different kinds of schools, ability groups within schools, and industrial and firm differences lead comparable individuals to achieve at very different levels in society, and the book shows that the cumulative effects of being placed in advantaged or disadvantaged locations make their achievements highly divergent in adulthood. The study reports on major career differences between men and women and describes how the interface between post-secondary education and the labor force alters some of the outcomes of elementary and secondary schooling.
"An exemplar of the new genre of status attainment studies which accord socialization and allocation processes coequal standing, Diverging Pathways takes social structure seriously...A brief review couldn't possibly do justice to the book's findings...[T]he overriding message of Diverging Pathways is that school and labor market structures are of great consequence and its evidence on this score seems to me quite compelling." Karl L. Alexander, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare "RDiverging Pathways will become a 'must read' for anyone interested in the issue of ability groupings within schools, and thAimpact of such groupings on academic achievement." Kris Magnusson, The Journal of Educational Thought