Manuela GamsjägerDaniela Wetzelhütter

Co-determination of students under consideration of individual and school context characteristics

A representative survey of Austrian students at upper secondary level


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Democratic school development demands a self-determined influence of students on decision-making processes, while the Austrian educational mandate places more emphasis on participation and the provision of knowledge. Since students at the same time have only marginal rights of co-determination, it is up to the schools to shape this demand. The article therefore uses a representative sample to examine the extent to which students in Austria are able to participate democratically and which school- and class-specific characteristics influence them. In addition, the extent to which co-determination offerings differ between schools and classes is analysed. The results confirm the assumption that students in Austria rarely experience democratic co-determination and that co-determination offers are only partial and unsystematic. The students’ satisfaction with this situation and their willingness to get involved in school is correspondingly low. In addition, varying offers between schools and classes point to school-specific influencing factors, which is why the findings are finally discussed as a task of school development.

School improvement, Students, Student participation, Co-determination within decision-making