How is the quality of upper-secondary-level VET understood by its players, and how does it influence learner commitment? An analysis of the various learning locations and the development of a scientifically-based assessment tool
This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 100019_175880).
This study sets out to investigate the quality of upper-secondary-level VET from the perspective of the different players involved: learners, vocational school teachers and workplace trainers. A further aim of the project is to identify those factors of quality that either promote or inhibit the commitment and skills development of learners at the two main learning locations (i.e. the host company and the vocational school). Finally, with a view to implementation, a formative assessment tool will be developed in cooperation with vocational school teachers and workplace trainers, thus allowing them to take learners’ perceptions of their VET programmes into consideration and potentially modify their practices.
The project will focus on four occupational fields, specifically those that tend to have the highest apprenticeship contract termination rates: (a) hair and beauty, (b) commercial employee, (c) construction and (d) retail. This choice of occupational field should allow us to form an intricate and critical picture of the quality of upper-secondary-level VET. While some aspects of quality should be common to all four occupational fields, specific features are also likely to emerge.
Once complete, this study will improve our understanding of the quality of upper-secondary-level VET and provide vocational school teachers and workplace trainers with a practical assessment tool.
The project consists of several studies and combines different data collection and analysis methods – both qualitative and quantitative. There will be three phases involving the various players in the four occupational fields mentioned above:
In the first phase, focus groups shall be convened to identify the features that learners, vocational school teachers and workplace trainers associate with high-quality education and training programmes.
Based on the feedback from the first phase, a scientifically verified questionnaire will be developed that prompts learners to give their views on the quality of their education and training, both at the vocational school and at the host company. The correlation between learners’ perceptions of quality, their commitment and their skills development will then be analysed by means of a questionnaire-based survey distributed to approximately 100 classes.
Working together with the eventual users, the initially developed questionnaire will then be further adapted to enable vocational school teachers and workplace trainers to undertake a formative quality assessment of the vocational education and training provided.
Prof. Barbara Stalder, PH Bern