Attending career talks with people in employment may change the attitudes of UK Key Stage 4 (ages 14–16) students regarding their education, according to new research published by the UK charity, Education and Employers.
Year 11 students in five schools took part in the trial and were randomly assigned at class level into an intervention group (n=307) and a control group (n=347). Students in the intervention group received three extra career talks by employee volunteers on top of usual career activities organized by their schools. These talks took place either in a homeroom-type setting or private study time rather than during class.
The results of the study indicated that:
- Students who attended the career talks reported feeling more confident in their own abilities, feeling more positive about school, and having greater faith in their ability to fulfill their career aspirations.
- It also seemed to provide the incentive for increased study time. Students in the intervention group reported, on average, a 9% higher increase in the amount of time spent each week on individual study for GCSE exams than those in the control group.
- The intervention program also had a small positive effect on achievement, with students slightly more likely to exceed predicted GCSE grades relative to the control group. Lower achievers and less engaged learners responded best to the career talks, with 74% reporting that they felt more motivated as a result of the talks. These students also exceeded their predicted GCSE grades compared with the control group (+0.14 of a grade effect size for English, +0.05 for math, and +0.05 for science).
The authors suggested that a bigger impact could be achieved by adding more talks.
Source (Open Access): Kashefpakdel, E., Percy,C. & Rehill, J. (2019). Motivated to achieve: How encounters with the world of work can change attitudes and improve academic attainment. London, England: Education and Employers Research.