02 SES 11 A, Motivation and Career Decisions in VET
In many European countries, lifelong learning is getting more attention. Formal education reduces the risk of unemployment and enhances the chance for a job on a high level. Formal education enhances the employability of young adults after the school to work transition. Prior research confirmed motivational determinants of educational attainment: Expectancies and values predict the decision for high school or VET (Becker & Hecken, 2009a), and college enrolment (Eccles, Vida, Barber, 2004). The expectancy-value model is well established to predict educational choices in primary and secondary school (Maaz, Hause, McElvany, Baumert, 2006). But we have less knowledge if this model equally well predicts the choice of continuing education and higher education on tertiary level after professional graduation. Especially, we have little knowledge how choice situations during the school to work transition moderate the effect of attainment expectations and values on intention for formal education and the participation in formal education. Do attainment expectations and values predict the intention and participation of formal education during the transition to upper secondary education and to continuing education?
Eccles et al. (1983) define educational attainment expectations as believes to fulfil the demands of a level of educational attainment. They assume that adolescents from high social-economic status families (SES) have higher educational attainment expectations. Values indicate the subjective evaluation of educational programs (e.g. attainment value, interest value, utility value, cost value). Eccles et al. (1983) propose that educational attainment expectations and attainment values predict the intention for formal education.
Intention for formal education or work is not always turned into action (Heckhausen, 1989). In career decision situations, students may choose an educational program, but they do not participate because of obstacles or insufficient motivation (Cross, 1981). Instead, they take the work pathway. Therefore, it might be useful to distinguish between intention for formal education (or work) and participation in formal education (or work). We hypothesize that intention for formal education predicts participation in formal education.
The available choice options depend on the institutional opportunities. Generally, after lower secondary education and after upper secondary education, students choose between an educational pathway and a work pathway. The educational pathway includes a formal educational program and allows students to receive higher educational attainment that lead them in long term to higher work positions, salary and status. The work pathway consists of an employment in a company that offers practical work experience and an immediate regular salary. We assume that high educational attainment expectations and high attainment values predict the intention for formal education instead of work.
Becker, R. & Hecken, A. E. (2009). Higher education or vocational training? Empirical test of the relational action model of educational choices suggested by Breen and Goldthorpe and Esser. Acta Sociologica, 52(1), 25-45. Cross, K. P. (1981). Adults as learners. Increasing participation and facilitating learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Eccles, J., Adler, T. F., Futterman, R., Goff, S. B., Kaczala, C. M., Meece, J. L. & Midgley, C. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviours. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Achievement and Achievement Motives (pp. 75-146). San Francisco: Freeman. Eccles, J. S., Vida, M. N., & Barber, B. (2004). The Relation of Early Adolescents’ College Plans and Both Academic Ability and Task-Value Beliefs to Subsequent College Enrollment. Journal of Early Adolescence, 24(1), 63-77. doi:10.1177/0272431603260919 Heckhausen, H. (1989). Motivation und Handeln. Berlin: Springer. Maaz, K., Hausen, C., McElvany, N., & Baumert, J. (2006). Stichwort: Übergänge im Bildungssystem - Theoretische Konzepte und ihre Anwendung in der empirischen Forschung beim Übergang in die Sekundarschule. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 9(3), 299-327.
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