University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Centre for Learning and Socialisation
Prof. Dr. Markus Neuenschwander
Duration: 01.06.2020 - 31.05.2024
In Switzerland, around two-thirds of all young people coming out of lower-secondary education enrol in a vocational education and training programme at upper-secondary level. Very little research has been done in Switzerland to ascertain the impact that primary school level followed by the choice of occupation and family support at lower-secondary school level have on success in VET programmes at upper-secondary school level or on subsequent transitions (to employment, to subsequent training, to unemployment, to interim solutions between lower- and upper-secondary school levels). Outside of Switzerland, several longitudinal studies have been conducted on education and training trajectories and on the school-to-work transition. However, these studies do not specifically cover the situation of vocational education and training as it is organised and structured in Switzerland.
The planned study is a continuation of three previous studies: the first two were conducted under a grant awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for the period 2010-2013 (WiSel I, Transition to lower-secondary education) and for the period 2015-2019 (WiSel II, Transition to upper-secondary education); the third was a longitudinal study (‘Impact of Selection’) funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). In WiSel I and II, young people were surveyed in their fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth year of studies as well as in the first year after completion of lower-secondary school/first year of upper-secondary school. For the present study, the same young people will be contacted for the sixth time (Survey Round 6) to ascertain developments following completion of upper-secondary school.
The following research questions will be examined in this study: (1) what impact do the personal traits of a child and the convictions and behaviour of teachers and parents in primary and lower-secondary school have on completion of vocational education and training, on the subjective assessment of the employment situation and career plans after completion of vocational education and training? (2) In what way do the processes leading up to the choice of occupation as well as learner experiences during workplace training illustrate the impact that a child’s personal traits and the convictions and behaviour of teachers and parents in primary and lower-secondary school have on completion of vocational education and training, on the subjective assessment of the employment situation and on career plans after completion of vocational education and training?
The research project is based on the expectancy-value theory developed by Eccles and Wigfield (2002) in connection with the social cognitive career theory (SCCT) of Lent, Brown and Hackett (1994), which constitute an innovative working model for clarification of education and training trajectories. In this follow-up research, a total of 2,376 young people, who had previously been surveyed in their 9th year of schooling, will be re-contacted five years after completion of lower-secondary school. They will be asked to fill out an online survey and take part in computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The results will show whether and to what extent successful completion of upper-secondary level as well as subsequent activity and career planning can be reliably predicted by performance-related convictions, scholastic achievement in mathematics and German in primary school, processes leading up to the choice of occupation at the end of lower-secondary school as well as training quality and learning convictions at the start of vocational education and training.