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School-based and extracurricular measures for the development of career choice skills

Careers guidance evaluation

Client

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the State of Brandenburg

Year

2021


Where do pupils in Brandenburg stand with their career choices? And how can they best be supported in this process?

On behalf of the State of Brandenburg’s Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, the Prognos education team together with partners from the University of Erfurt evaluated careers guidance (CG activities) activities for the period from 2017 to 2021.

Approx. 10,000 pupils shared their experiences choosing a career

The empirical core element of the evaluation was a survey of secondary school pupils across 46 selected Brandenburg schools. Over the course of three school years, pupils were asked if they already knew what they wanted to do after grade 10 and how they assessed their skills (e. g., their knowledge on careers and their own strengths). For this purpose, scientifically tested scales were used.

For the school years 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, between 9,000 and 10,000 pupils took part in the survey. Despite the Covid pandemic, a good 5,000 pupils were still reached in the last school year covered by the evaluation. This comprehensive longitudinal data set formed the basis for investigating where pupils stand in their choice of career and which activities are particularly conducive to this process.

Practical relevance, continuity, and the close interlinking of CG activities with teaching are particularly helpful for career choices

At the beginning of tenth grade, just under 70 percent of all pupils surveyed had made a career choice decision. The results of the evaluation show that practical relevance, continuity, and the close integration of careers guidance activities with teaching are important success factors for vocational orientation. Continuous ongoing activities, such as conversations with parents or the treatment of careers topics in class, made students feel more capable of making a career choice. Among the specific CG activities, the practical learning approach was also assessed as being particularly successful. During practical learning, students regularly gain practical work experience in a company over a longer period of time. To this end, they develop tasks in different subjects, which they solve in practice and follow-up in class.

Overall, however, it was not the individual measures themselves that were decisive, but the interaction of different elements, explains Julian Lenz from the evaluation team. The evaluation found that through the mixture of standardised and flexible elements, the State of Brandenburg is already well positioned in terms of professional orientation. The ESF-funded initiative Secondary Level I (INISEK I) is also an example of how flexibility is promoted. This initiative offers schools the opportunity to implement projects according to their school and regional specificities.

Integrating careers guidance even further into school life

Further results: the importance of careers guidance in everyday school life still varies greatly between the types of school and the teachers of different subjects. Also, the activities supported by INISEK I, for example excursions, talent-based courses, or application training, were in some cases still rather selective and were not consistently prepared and followed up. Underlining the importance of continuity and the interlinking with teaching, the authors recommend that careers guidance be integrated even more strongly into teaching and school life and that more emphasis be placed on projects conducted over a larger timeframe. Among other things, the evaluation team proposes linking career guidance projects more closely with teaching and raising teachers’ awareness of the topic, for example, through more points of contact as well as a set of methods to support teachers.

MBJS press release (MBJS website, in German)

Final evaluation report (PDF, in German, MBJS website)

Project team: Julian Lenz, Johanna Okroi, Kristina Stegner, Dierk Bogena, Lisa-Marie Bröker, Alina Ostkamp

Closing INISEK I event

On August 31, 2022, project manager Kristina Stegner once again presented the results of the “Evaluation of the implementation of school-based and extracurricular measures for the development of career choice competence in the SEC I,” as part of the INISEK I closing event. Education Minister Britta Ernst attended the event in Potsdam and addressed the audience before the presentation of the results.

Event announcement

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Julian Lenz

Project Manager

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Kristina Stegner

Principal

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