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ESRA 2023 Glance Program

All time references are in CEST

Contexts of VET and HE: Measuring, linking, and analyzing data 1

Session Organisers Dr Katarina Wessling (ROA, Maastricht University)
Dr Dominik Becker (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Bonn)
TimeWednesday 19 July, 09:00 - 10:30
Room Martini U6-4

After completing general secondary school, students can – depending on the educational system – enter different forms of vocational education and training (VET) or Higher Education (HE). These different forms of post-school education take place in contexts, e.g., vocational schools, firms, colleges, universities of applied sciences, or research university. In countries that offer on-the-job VET programs or dual-study programs, students are trained jointly in firms and in vocational schools or colleges.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of channels and mechanism through which theses contexts influence individuals’ skill acquisition and labor market outcomes, data (in particular linked data) on these contexts is necessary.

In this session, we discuss data and substantive research on the measurement and analysis of contextual settings in the above sense, and their consequences for individuals’ educational and employment outcomes.

We are interested in the following research topics:

Data linkage: Linking firm-level and vocational school-level, college-level and/or university-level data with student/apprentice-level data
Measurement of context conditions in VET, firms, or HE:
- Expectations (and effectiveness) of VET school, HE institution teachers or firm instructors
- Instruction quality in VET school, HE institution or on the firm level
- Social, ethnic, gender, skill, or other forms of composition in VET school, HE institution or in firms
- Changes or modifications in training and study programs within or between occupations/fields of study (e.g., implementation of technological change or other forms of innovativeness)
- Implementation and evaluation of blended and online learning in VET school, HE institution or in firms
Analyses of effects of context conditions in VET, firms, or HE:
- Effects on objective labor-market outcomes, e.g., skill acquisition, wages, employment prospects, mismatch, occupational status, or occupational mobility
- Effects on subjective labor market outcomes, e.g., vocational interests, work values, career plans,

Keywords: VET school, HE institutions, firms, data linkage, measurment, context effects


Linking Survey Data with Context Information: Feasibility and First Results for a Survey on German Professors

Mrs Ulrike Schwabe (German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW)) - Presenting Author
Mrs Lisa-Marie Steinkampf (German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW))

In recent times, academic careers in Germany are changing – not least due to several political measures. As official available register data have only limited analytical potential, large-scale survey data is needed to answer policy relevant questions and to evaluate political reforms like the introduction of junior and tenure track professorships. However, survey time is usually restricted and the specific target group of highly qualified professionals is in particular concerned by very limited time resources. Therefore, we link survey data with information on higher education institutions (e.g. status of excellence, size, university profile and share of female professors) and policy data on different levels (e.g. State Higher Education Acts for the level of “German Länder” and measures for reconciling work and family life for the level of higher education institutions).
For our contribution, we use data from a recently conducted survey project among German professors, the "prof*panel”. First, we present challenges and pitfalls on data integration which includes (i) search effort, (ii) data and privacy protection issues and (iii) the linking process itself. To illustrate the potential for researching academic careers, we secondly present first multi-level analyses for determinants of pursuing an academic career. We contrast the traditional career path, the habilitation (‘second book’), with “new” career paths like junior and tenure track professorships.

Tenacious goal pursuit and flexible goal adjustment in transitions to VET: Do regions matter?

Ms Nele Theuer (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training) - Presenting Author
Dr Katarina Weßling (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)

The transition to vocational education and training (VET) is an important developmental goal in adolescents’ life course (Buchmann & Kriesi, 2011). Hence, it is important to understand how this transition might be influenced positively. Researchers have already identified a number of relevant factors for successful transitions to VET, e.g. socioeconomic factors, gender and individual resources (Beicht et al., 2008; Solga & Kohlrausch, 2013). A different perspective focuses on the impact of regional opportunity structures (Hillmert et al., 2017; Weßling, 2015).
This study aims at combining these aspects for a better understanding of how they work together: Specifically, it is argued that regional opportunity structures moderate the relationship between individual resources and transitions to VET. Two stable self-regulation dispositions will be analysed: tenacity and flexibility. Both are known to be relevant in goal striving processes: It is argued that flexibility is an effective resource when contextual opportunities are low, whereas tenacity is helpful in transitioning to VET when opportunities are high (Brandtstädter & Renner, 1990).
We use data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) – SC4 (Blossfeld & Roßbach, 2019) and combine it with regional information on the ratio of VET positions and VET applicants (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, 2011). This data differentiates not only between employment agency districts but also between aspired VET occupations, which allows a fine-grained measurement of opportunity structures. Transition success is operationalised threefold, namely as a) attainment of any VET position, b) attainment of the preferred VET position and c) satisfaction with the obtained position.
Preliminary analyses indicate no significant moderating effects of opportunity structures on the relationship between individual resources and transition success. However, it might be that differences between regional contexts exist that this study failed to detect properly due to methodological constraints. Further analyses aim to shed light on these shortcomings.

Australia’s Student Experience Survey: a major review of items to ensure relevance in a changing world

Dr Rebecca Taylor (Australian Council for Educational Research) - Presenting Author
Ms Ali Radloff (Australian Council for Educational Research)
Dr Daniel Edwards (Australian Council for Educational Research)
Ms Leyna Clarke (Australian Council for Educational Research)
Dr Ling Tan (Australian Council for Educational Research)

The Student Experience Survey (SES) is the national instrument for monitoring the experience and engagement of higher education students in Australia. The SES, and its predecessor, the University Experience Survey (UES), has been used for the past decade to collect information on the experience and satisfaction of current students studying in Australian higher education institutions, including all universities and non-university higher education providers, with over 250,000 undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students participating every year. It provides valuable information to the Australian higher education sector that is used to increase transparency, help inform improvements to students’ educational experience, and provide information to prospective students.

This paper details the work undertaken the first full major review of this instrument which was undertaken to determine whether the SES was still appropriate for measuring students’ experience in higher education and was meeting the needs of data users, after a period of significant change. The review was also tasked with ensuring the survey remains valid over the next decade. The review involved a review of literature, an extensive consultation process with stakeholders across Australia and a comprehensive statistical analyses of SES data, including data from 2019 (pre-COVID) and 2021 (it’s most recent sitting).

This paper outlines the outcome of the review and then focusses on how we implemented the recommendations to improve the survey. We will discuss how we developed and piloted new ways to measure:
• online and blended learning contexts
• student engagement
• experience of support services provided by higher education institutions
• a new code-frame for whether a student had seriously considered leaving.

The findings of this review are relevant and insightful to all providers of higher education and provide clear benchmarks for other student experience surveys across the world.

VET in Germany the last decade: demographic change, skill shortages and growing frictions

Miss Leonie Wicht (IAB)
Miss Anna Heusler (IAB) - Presenting Author
Miss Anna Houstecka (IAB)
Professor Bernd Fitzenberger (IAB)

Firm-based vocational training reflects the demand for skilled labor in Germany and firms increasingly face difficulties to fill their vacancies for apprentices. We describe the developments in the VET market in terms of applicants, vacancies and matches between 2008 and 2021 and study the mechanisms behind these. While the number of posted vacancies have been on the rise, total matches have been decreasing over time, pointing to a change from a supply-driven to a demand-driven market. We show that the main driver of this pattern is demographic change while changes in young adults‘ interests in VET play a smaller role. In particular, over time there is an increasing number of individuals with high-school degrees and university who enter the VET market in a delayed fashion. Thus, the tendency for higher education does not seem to crowd out the VET market. Next, we study the role of regional and occupational mismatches by using disaggregated data for Germany. To this end, we estimate matching functions using both data for the total number of matches and those mediated by the employment agency. We find that matching efficiency does not change in the years between the financial and Covid crises and drops during the crisis years.

The Gender-Specific Role of Mobility in the Realization of Graduates’ Career Expectations

Mr Jonas Detemple (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training) - Presenting Author

Towards the end of higher education, graduates are faced with a far-reaching decision about which career path to follow. Since mobility can be seen as an investment in access to a wider range of jobs (Becker, 1962), we argue that mobility facilitates the match between expectations and actual career paths. Moreover, research points to a gendered role of mobility by showing that men benefit more career-wise from commuting and moving than women (Nisic, 2009; Shauman & Noonan, 2007). So we ask: how do male and female graduates use mobility to realize or exceed their career expectations?

We test our assumptions using data from the German National Education Panel, Starting Cohort 5 (Blossfeld & Roßbach, 2019). Based on the locations of secondary school, higher education, and first job, we measure whether graduates stayed in the region of their study (reference category), moved to a new region, or moved back to their hometown (NUTS-3 level). We capture realization of career expectations by comparing the first job with expectations during studies (KldB, 2010). If expectations were not realized, we consider whether the job has a higher, similar or lower status than the expected one (ISEI, 2008). Multinomial logistic regression models are used to predict realization patterns.

Preliminary results show that for women, moving to a new region for the first job is associated with higher chances to exceed career expectations, whereas men’s and women’s realization chances remain unaffected. Simultaneously, moving back home after graduation is associated with lower exceeding chances for men and higher realization chances for women. Overall, the results suggest that men do not use mobility after graduation more career strategically than women. In the next step, contextual factors of the study region (such as the attractiveness of local labor markets) will be included in the analysis.