Individual characteristics of students in vocational education moderating the relationship between school engagement and vocational identity

    Publication of Urban Talent

    R. Keijzer, E.J. Schooten,van, R. Rijst,van der, W. Admiraal | Article | Publication date: 17 May 2022
    In any country, there is a group of students who are at risk of dropping out of school without any qualifications. This is detrimental for many of those students, because failure to graduate increases risks of unemployment and societal exclusion. To reduce this risk, specialized curricula aim to prepare these students for their working life by fostering the development of a vocational identity, that is, how they define themselves as workers. As a prerequisite to achieving this goal, students need to attend school and feel engaged with school. The curricula seek ways to stimulate emotional school engagement, taking into account the heterogeneous target group of students they serve. To address potential consequences of individual differences, this questionnaire study (N=996) conducted in the Netherlands explored how various individual characteristics of students in these specialized curricula moderated the relationship between emotional school engagement and vocational identity. Results show that stronger school engagement always coincided with a stronger vocational identity; however, the strength of the relationship varied. Stimulating emotional school engagement was specifically important for the subgroups of students who are young, less agreeable, less motivated, and less resilient. In order to foster the vocational identity of their students, the specialized curricula are recommended to draw nuanced conclusions and formulate refined strategies to effectively respond to the heterogeneous group of students who are at risk of dropping out.

    Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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