University of Bern, Institute of Educational Science (IfE)
Lead researcher: Prof. Rolf Becker
Duration: 01.10.2011 - 30.09.2013
The panel study entitled "Factors determining the choice of occupation and the likelihood of completing a chosen VET programme" examines the career and education decisions of young people in the German-speaking region of Switzerland towards the end of compulsory education. The project seeks to analyse the decision-making process and the factors influencing the choice in favour of dual-track VET programmes as opposed to school-based ones.
This theoretical approach forms a structural-individualistic explanatory model that considers both individual limitations (gender, social origin, scholastic performance, etc.) and structural opportunities at regional level within the framework of a multi-level design. It is assumed that different education and training prospects have an impact on socially divergent occupational perceptions, origin-specific performance prerequisites as well as regional opportunities in the transition to post-compulsory education and training.
When selecting samples, 8th grade classes in public lower-secondary schools in the school year 2011/12 were considered. This sample corresponds to a 10% random selection by type of commune (9-level), stratified by type of school and migration population of the schools. Data on the decision-making process were obtained by means of an online questionnaire distributed (in the middle of 8th grade, at the beginning of 9th grade and at the end of 9th grade) to around 3,200 pupils from around 200 different classes. Parents were also asked to take part in the survey in the first round of the survey.
The data enable a description of the decision-making process at transition I, mechanism-based (multiple-layered) analysis of the choice of education and training as well as the stability of idealistic education and training aspirations. The results show that the choice of education and training differs according to gender and type of school. In the decision-making process, the education and training preferences change, particularly between the first two rounds of the survey. Origin-specific disparities in the choice of education and training can be explained to a large extent by the subjective cost-benefit estimates made by young people.