02 SES 06 C, Transitions: What Contributes to Success in VET?
Research about educational and training levels of Spanish population shows low rates of people with a medium educational level (ISCED 3-4) and an excess of people with a low educational level (ISCED 0-2). Regarding young people, the most commonly indicator used to refer to people with a low educational level is the concept of Early School Leaving (ESL), which describes the population percentage aged 18-24 who have completed at least lower secondary education and does not follow further studies or training programs. Despite the improvement of ESL rate in Spain during last years, actually it is still very high (23.5% in 2013), almost the double if we compare it with EU rate (11.9% in 2013) (National Institute of Educational Evaluation, 2014), and far below the objective of the European Strategy 2020 to bring it below 10%.
In this context, it is strategic to develop a flexible VET system that promotes further education opportunities for young people, to reduce ESL rates and to increase educational medium levels in Spain. Despite the importance of the subject, there are few evidences and research carried out about success and dropout pathways in VET, but there are a relevant number of studies centred in other educational levels (especially compulsory secondary education). For that reason is really important to develop new knowledge to promote successful strategies, policies and practices.
Our research is focused on VET success and dropout pathways in Spain, particularly on young people following secondary VET programs in the education system. The main objectives of the project are: (1) to generate new knowledge about VET success and dropout personal itineraries and (2) to develop positive action proposals to promote success and to prevent and to reduce ESL in VET programs in the Spanish context.
The existing international literature on the subject, in summary, focuses primarily on the study of dropout rates in VET, risk factors, interactions between these factors and processes that lead to the abandonment and factors that generate retention of VET students (Glaesser, 2006; Gronborg, 2013; Jäppinen, 2010; Jordan, Lamamra & Masdonati, 2009; NCVER, 2005; Tanggaard, 2013). Our research focuses, as the central concept of our approach, the student engagement, developed from the 80s in the context of research on secondary school leaving in order to understand this phenomenon in depth, as well as to design interventions for prevention and remediation. The concept encompasses, basically, three types of engagement: behavioural engagement, emotional engagement and cognitive engagement. The student engagement is also characterized by being very susceptible to the effects of the intervention, being heavily influenced by the contexts (family, school, peers, etc.) and be both sides of the coin: outcome and process (Reschly & Christenson, 2012).
Glaesser, J. (2006). Dropping out of further education: a fresh start?. Findings from a German longitudinal study. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 58(1),83-97. Grønborg, L. (2013).Scaring the students away? Institutional selection through assessment practices in the Danish vocational and educational training system. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 65(2),1-18. Instituto Nacional de Evaluación Educativa (2014). Sistema estatal de indicadores de la educación 2014. Madrid: Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. Jäppinen, A. (2010). Preventing early leaving in VET: distributed pedagogical leadership in characterising five types of successful organisations. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 62(3),297-312. Jordan, M., Lamamra, N., & Masdonati, J. (2009). Dropout Rates in Vocational Education and Training: A Failure of the School-to-Work Transition? En Rauner, F. et al. (Eds.) Innovative Apprenticeships. Promoting successful school-to-work transitions. Turin: European Training Foundation. Lamamra, N. & Masdonati, J. (2009). Arrêter une formation professionnelle. Mots et maux d'apprenti.e.s. Suisse: Antipodes. NCVER. (2005). Why do students leave? Leaving vocational education and training with no recorded achievement. Adelaida: Australian National Training Authority. Reschly, A.L. & Christenson, S.L. (2012). Jingle, Jangle, and Conceptual Haziness: Evolution and Future Directions of the Engagement Construct. En Christentson, S.L.; Reschly, A. & Wylie, C. (ed.). Handbook of Research on Student Engagement. NY: Springer. P. 3-20. Tangaard, L. (2013). An exploration fo students’ own explanations about dropout in vocational education in a Danish context. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 65:3, 422-439.
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