Smyth, John (2003) The making of young lives with/against the school credential. Journal of education and work, 16 (2). pp. 127-146. ISSN 1363-9080

This article provides argument and 'voiced' evidence from an Australian study (Smyth et al., 2000) of 209 young people who had chosen not to complete their secondary schooling. It reports on how they made these complex decisions, particularly around the credentialling process. There is support here for Wyn and Dwyer's (2000) thesis that some young people are not propelled through schooling by the lure of a credential, and quite to the contrary, they have a high level of agency in constructing alternative biographies for themselves that undermine the policy trajectory. Far from being victims who 'drop out', these young people presented in individualistic ways that amounted to accommodation and resistance to the impediments of a policy credential for university entrance which they labelled as irrelevant, despite its declared intention to be inclusive of all.

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