Career Education Questionnaire: psychometric properties of the Portuguese version

Questionário de Educação para a Carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão Portuguesa

Mara de Souza LEAL Cátia MARQUES Maria do Ceú TAVEIRA Lucy Leal MELO-SILVA About the authors

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Career Education Questionnaire, through the analysis of reliability, dimensionality and possible correlations with the SENNA 1.0 socioemotional measure. The participants were 282 Portuguese high school students of both genders, with a mean age of 15.93 years, from public schools in northern Portugal. The analysis of the internal consistency of the dimensions showed satisfactory Cronbach’s alpha coefficients. The intercorrelations showed a positive and significant pattern for the subscales of the Career Education Questionnaire. The discriminant validity between the Career Education Questionnaire and the SENNA showed a positive and significant relationship of weak magnitude. The confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a model with three factors showed satisfactory goodness of fit to the data and better than the alternative models. The Portuguese version of this instrument presents metric qualities, making it a useful measure for research in this field.

Keywords
High school students; Professional development; Vocational guidance

Resumo

Este estudo objetivou avaliar as propriedades psicométricas do Questionário de Educação para a Carreira, por meio da análise da fiabilidade, dimensionalidade e possíveis relações com a medida socioemocional SENNA 1.0. Participaram deste estudo 282 estudantes portugueses do ensino secundário, de ambos os sexos, com idade média de 15,93 anos, provenientes de escolas públicas do norte de Portugal. A análise da consistência interna das dimensões apresentou coeficientes alfa de cronbach satisfatórios. As intercorrelações evidenciaram um padrão positivo e significativo para as subescalas do Questionário de Educação para a Carreira. A validade discriminante entre o Questionário de Educação para a Carreira e o SENNA apresentou uma relação positiva e significativa de fraca magnitude. A análise fatorial confirmatória indicou que um modelo com três fatores, apresentou valores de bondade de ajustamento aos dados satisfatórios e melhores do que os modelos alternativos. A versão portuguesa desse instrumento apresenta qualidades métricas, tornando-o uma medida útil à investigação nesse domínio.

Palavras-chave
Estudantes de ensino médio; Desenvolvimento profissional; Orientação vocacional

Career Education is a career intervention modality that emerged in the 1960s in the United States, due to the need for reforms in the education system that would bring education and work closer together (Herr, 2001Herr, E. L. (2001). Career development and its practice: a historical perspective. Career Development Quarterly, 49, 196-211.https//doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2001.tb00562.x
https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2001...
). This intervention modality aims to implement strategies in a systematic way at all levels of education, with the goal of promoting students’ career development through activities that favor greater knowledge of self, of educational and work opportunities, of decision-making processes, and of transitions (Munhoz et al., 2016Munhoz, I. M. S., Melo-Silva, L. L., & Audibert, A. (2016). Educação para a carreira: pistas para intervenções na educação básica. In R. S. Levenfus (Org.), Orientação vocacional e de carreira em contextos clínicos e educativos [Vocation and career guidance in clinical and educational contexts] (pp. 41-63). Artmed.). As such, Career Education aims to promote self-career management attitudes and planning and decision-making skills. The acquisition of these attitudes and skills reflects the development of career maturity. This concept, coined by Super (1990)Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Orgs.), Career choice and development: applying contemporary theories to practice (pp. 197-261). Jossey Bass. to define the ability of individuals to fulfill the career tasks with which they are confronted, depending on their biological and social development, is fundamental for decision making and for the development of adaptability within the career framework (Balbinotti & Tétreau, 2006Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67.).

Effectively, the 21st century has brought new challenges to employers and workers. In a world marked by technological advances and changes in social relations, the professional world is characterized by unpredictability and instability (Guan et al., 2019Guan, Y., Arthur, M. B., Khapova, S. N., Hall, R. J., & Lord, R. G. (2019). Career boundarylessness and career success: a review, integration and guide to future research. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 110, 390-402.https//doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2018.05.013
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2018.05.01...
). Transitions from educational to occupational contexts are increasingly complex (Hooley et al., 2015Hooley, T., Watts, A. G., & Andrews, D. (2015). Teachers and careers: the role of school teachers in delivering career and employability learning. International Centre for Guidance Studies.). Although the current generation is more skilled and educated than previous ones, young people continue to demonstrate difficulties in competing for job openings in the labor market (Mann & Huddleston, 2015Mann, A., & Huddleston, P. (2015). What do recruiters think about today’s young people? insights from four focus groups. Education and Employers.). To cope with the rapid transformations in the world of work, workers are expected to be flexible and to seek continuous learning throughout the life cycle (Zacher et al., 2015Zacher, H., Ambiel, R. A. M., & Noronha, A. P. P. (2015). Career adaptability and career entrenchment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 88(1), 164-173.https//doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.03.006
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.03.00...
). In this sense, work institutions have been looking for people who are adaptable to change (Hirschi et al., 2015Hirschi, A., Herrmann, A., & Keller, A. C. (2015). Career adaptivity, adaptability, and adapting: a conceptual and empirical investigation. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 87, 1-10.https//doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2014.11.008
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), with self-knowledge and career self-confidence, engagement skills, and commitment to institutions, under low assurance of stability (Negru-Subtirica et al., 2015Negru-Subtirica, O., Pop, E. I., & Crocetti, E. (2015). Developmental trajectories and reciprocal associations between career adaptability and vocational identity: a three-wave longitudinal study with adolescents, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 88, 131-142.https//doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.03.004
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2015.03.00...
).

In this context, Career Education emerges as a key mechanism to prepare young people for informed decision making and successful transitions in the face of the instability, complexity, and volatility of the occupational world (Moote & Archer, 2018Moote, J., & Archer, L. (2018) Failing to deliver? Exploring the current status of career education provision in England. Research Papers in Education, 33, 187-215.https//doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2016.1271005
https://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2016.12...
). More recent studies have shown that participation in Career Education programs has resulted in benefits related to school development, decreased dropout, engagement with learning (Plasman, 2018Plasman, J. S. (2018). Career/education plans and student engagement in Secondary School. American Journal of Education, 124(2), 217-246.), and expanded career expectations and aspirations (Welde et al., 2016Welde, A. M. J., Bernes, K. B., Gunn, T. M., & Ross. S. A. (2016). Career education at the elementary school level: student and intern teacher perspectives. Journal of Career Development, 43, 1-21.https//doi.org/10.1177/0894845316633524
https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845316633524...
). These behaviors are related to increased career maturity, one of the goals of Career Education programs.

Recently, evaluations of these programs have also, pointed out results related to the development of socioemotional skills, such as increased responsibility, self-confidence, sense of leadership, social justice, and civic awareness, in addition to increased social skills, such as greater collaboration and teamwork, and also greater interest in other cultures (Clerkin, 2018Clerkin, A. (2018). Filling in the gaps: a theoretical grounding for an education programme for adolescent socioemotional and vocational development in Ireland. Review of Education, 6(2), 146-179.https//doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3112
https://doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3112...
). In this study socioemotional competencies are defined as “individual characteristics that originate in the reciprocal interaction between predispositions and environmental factors; are manifested in consistent patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; continue to develop through informal learning experiences, and have important influence on socioeconomic outcomes throughout the individual’s life” (De Fruyt et al., 2015, p. 279). In the publications of these authors, these competencies have been organized according to the big five model (Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D., & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Instituto Ayrton Senna.). This conception was adopted in this study due to the understanding of social and emotional competencies as a basis for the development of career maturity and the possible articulation with the goals of Careers Education programs, such as, to atribute meaning to learning and work in order to construct life projects, and understanding the individual as somenone with needs established with the others, which requires such competencies, in a productive mode.

The literature shows a significant association between career maturity and socioemotional characteristics, although in a scarce explored way. Extroversion, agreeableness, openness to new experiences, and conscientiousness show a positive correlation with career maturity (r = 0.19 to 0.21), and a negative correlation with neuroticism (r = -0.23) (Atli, 2017Atli, A. (2017). Five-factor personality traits as predictor of career maturity. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 17(68), 151-165.https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ejer/issue/42457/511306
https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ejer/iss...
). Therefore, this study pairs socioemotional competencies with career competencies, aiming to measure the psychometric qualities of the Career Education Questionnaire, an instrument that can be used as a pre- and post-test measure, and as a roadmap, based on its scales and subscales, for career interventions.

The benefits highlighted by the literature regarding the implementation of Career Education programs have led several countries to invest in the development of this type of intervention, which can be offered by the school, by external entities, or even be carried out by a partnership between school and external agencies (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2004Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2004). Career guidance and public policy bridging the gap. https://www.oecd.org/education/skills-beyond-school/34050171.pdf
https://www.oecd.org/education/skills-be...
). Career Education programs can be carried out based on different theoretical perspectives. Cinamon et al. (2019)Cinamon, R. G., Flum, H., & Hardin, E. E. (2019). Career education: concluding remarks. Journal of Career Development, 46(6), 665-669.https//doi.org/10.1177/0894845319873730
https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845319873730...
point out that interventions based on the Career Education model have the potential to reduce social and economic gaps, as verified in Kashefpakdel and Percy’s (2017)Kashefpakdel, E. T., & Percy, C. (2017). Career education that works: an economic analysis using the British Cohort Study. Journal of Education and Work, 30(3), 217-234.https//doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2016.1177636
https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2016.11...
longitudinal study, in which British youth who attended more career talks when they were between 14 and 16 years old, showed a salary bonus ten years later. Successfully implemented Career Education practices are found in countries such as Germany, Australia, Denmark, United States, Finland, Norway (Yuen et al., 2019Yuen, M., Yau, F., Shao, S. S. Y., Lee, B. S. F., Tsui, J. Y. C., & Tsang, J. C. T. (2019). Career education and vocational training in Hong Kong: implications for school-based career counselling. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 41(3), 449-467.https//doi.org/10.1007/s10447-018-9361-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-018-9361-...
) and Canada (Gaylor & Nicol, 2016Gaylor, L., & Nicol, J. J. (2016). Experiential High School career education, self-efficacy, and motivation. Canadian Society for the Study of Education, 39(2), 1-24.). In Portugal, however, this intervention modality is still little widespread and applied (Carvalho, 2015Carvalho, R. G. (2015). Desenvolvimento de projectos na adolescência: avaliação e perspectivas sobre a intervenção psicológica. Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnóstico y Evaluación, 39(1), 91-101.). It is worth noting, that Career Education models reflect the local conditions of where they are carried out and that, therefore, the transfer from one culture to another, requires careful adaptation to the context (Andrews & Hooley, 2019Andrews, D., & Hooley, T. (2019). Careers leadership in practice: a study of 27 careers leaders in English secondary schools. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 47(5), 556-568.https//doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2019.1600190 ). Need highlighted by Nassar and Al-Quimlass (2017)Nassar, S., & Al-Qimlass, A. (2017). Career builders: key components for effective global career and workforce development. RTI Press Research Report. https//doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2017.op.0045.1709
https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2017.op...
regarding the key components for implementing comprehensive programs for youth workforce development. These authors identified, among the good practices, the Positive Youth Development with a focus on the development of social skills and the integration of career guidance throughout the student’s academic period, highlighting the importance of self-exploration, careers exploration, and career planning and management. In the Brazilian context, the concept of Career Education is still not widespread, but the proposal of the implementation of na holistic guidance carried out throughout the school cycle, which integrates social and emotional skills development, with classic components of guidance such as self-exploration, careers exploration and career planning and management has been implemented since 2015 with the studies by Leal (2019)Leal, M. S. (2019). Desenvolvimento de competências socioemocionais e de carreira: avaliação do programa Edu-Car [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Universidade de São Paulo. and Leal et al. (2020)Leal, M. S., Melo-Silva, L. L., & Taveira, M. C. (2020). Edu-Car for life and career: evaluation of a program. Estudos de Psicologia (Campinas), 37, e190016.https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-0275202037e190016
https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-0275202037e...
. The implementation of Career Education programs in educational systems constitutes an effective contribution of the field of Career Psychology to Education with the purpose of giving meaning to studies and work, whether paid or unpaid. This value is recognized by educators (Munhoz, 2010Munhoz, I. M. S. (2010). Educação para a carreira e representações sociais de professores: limites e possibilidades na educação básica (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universidade de São Paulo.). However, the implementation of this type of intervention presents challenges and limitations, especially regarding the infusion proposal (Rodrígues-Moreno, 2008Rodrígues-Moreno, M. L. (2008). A educação para a carreira: aplicação à infância e à adolescência. In M. C. Taveira & J. T. Silva (Orgs.), Psicologia Vocacional: perspectivas para a intervenção. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra.), in which the assumptions of Career Education must be disseminated in the curriculum throughout the educational cycle, which for Königstedt (2008)Königstedt, M. (2011). Intervenção vocacional em contexto escolar avaliação de um programa longo em classe com adolescentes [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Universidade do Minho., represents a difficulty in terms of reorganization of the school system and involvement of all its actors. Moreover, it is known that the development of good practices depends on the quality of the diagnosis of intervention needs (Álvarez-González et al., 1998Álvarez González, M., Vendrell, J. R., Muñoz, M. M., & Bisquerra Alzina, R. (1998). El modelo de programas. In R. B. Alzina (Ed.), Modelos de orientación e interventión psicopedagógica (pp. 85-102). Praxis.) and the use of accompanying measures, which is still a lack in the area of careers, especially when considering the importance of the meanings given to learning and work. It is known that the development of good practices depends on the quality of the diagnosis of the intervention needs (Álvarez-González et al., 1998Álvarez González, M., Vendrell, J. R., Muñoz, M. M., & Bisquerra Alzina, R. (1998). El modelo de programas. In R. B. Alzina (Ed.), Modelos de orientación e interventión psicopedagógica (pp. 85-102). Praxis.). The Career Education Questionnaire (CEQ), focus of this study, is a Canadian-made instrument designed for the measurement of Career Education needs and career maturity in secondary school students (Dupont & Gingras, 1990Dupont, P., & Gingras, M. (1990). Questionnaire sur l’éducation à la carriére (pp. 1-8). Centre de Recherché sur L’éducation et la vie au Travail Université de Sherbrooke (Quebéc, Canada).).

The CEQ is considered an accessible instrument that is easy to use and understandable by different professionals such as psychologists, pedagogues, and educators in general (Aguillera, 2013Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo.). The 96 items of the instrument are organized into two scales. The first, unidimensional scale is called Meaning and Importance of Work. The second, designed Career Preparation, includes six subscales: Steps Taken, Factors Considered, Type of Preferred Occupation, Job Search and Maintenance, and the subscales related to career exploration tasks, People and Sources Consulted, and Activities Performed.

The psychometric properties of the original version were verified with two independent samples of secondary school students in the Quebec region of Canada. The first in 1991 with 1022 high school participants (Dupont & Gingras, 1991aDupont, P., & Gingras, M. (1991a). Des besoins d’orientation au secondaire: nécessité de nouvelles stratégies d’éducation à la carrière. Revue Canadienne de Counseling, 25(2), 239-249.), internal consistency coefficients ranged from 0.66 on the People and Sources Consulted subscale to 0.91 on the Meaning and Importance of Work scale. In the second 1995 version with 336 students, the internal consistency coefficients ranged from 0.73 on the People and Sources Consulted subscale to 0.89 on the Job Search and Maintenance subscale (Coallier et al., 1995Coallier, J., Diop, M., & Dupont, P. (1995). Étude interculturelle de besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez des jeunes du secondaire. In Corporation Canadienne de Psychologie (Org.), Actes du 21 colloque national touchant le développement de carrière (pp. 131- 139). Presses Universitaire de Toronto.). The Spanish version (González, 1997González, M. (1997). Career education needs of secondary school graduates from Asturias, Spain. Journal of Career Development, 23, 215-229.https//doi.org/10.1007/BF02359191
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02359191...
) included 2997 students also from high school, as in the original study, with internal consistency coefficients ranging from 0.71 on the Persons and Sources Consulted subscale to 0.90 on the Preferred Occupation subscale.

The Brazilian version has three studies that verified its psychometric properties, Aguillera (2013)Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo., Balbinotti and Tétreau (2006)Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67., and Fracalozzi (2014)Fracalozzi, N. M. N. (2014). Educação para a Carreira e interesses profissionais em estudantes do ensino médio regular e técnico (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universidade de São Paulo.. The first study, from 2006, was developed with 890 high school students in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in which the internal consistency coefficients ranged from 0.73 in the People and Sources Consulted subscale to 0.89 in Job Search and Maintenance. The second study, from 2013, was conducted in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, with 470 adolescents and youth, aged 14 to 20 years old, mostly from elementary and secondary schools in the interior of the state (Aguillera, 2013Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo.). The lowest internal consistency coefficient verified was in the Steps Taken subscale (0.81) and the highest in the Preferred Occupation subscale (0.90). In the third study, by Fracalozzi (2014)Fracalozzi, N. M. N. (2014). Educação para a Carreira e interesses profissionais em estudantes do ensino médio regular e técnico (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universidade de São Paulo., in another medium-sized city in the interior of the state of São Paulo, was developed with 220 third-year high school students, with the coefficients ranging from 0.77 in the People and Sources Consulted subscale to 0.89 in Job Search and Maintenance.

The results of the interscale correlation studies showed a median correlation of .33 in Gingras’ (1990)Gingras, M. (1990). Élaboration d’une stratégie des besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez les finissants du secondaire. Université de Montréal. study, 0.35 in Gonzalez’ (1992)González, M. (1992). La intervención educativa para el desarrollo de la carrera: análisis de las necesidades de desarrollo para la carrera de los estudiantes al finalizar la educación secundaria. Universidad de Olviedo., 0.32 in Balbinotti and Tétreau’s (2006)Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67. Brazilian version, and 0.40 in Aguillera’s (2013)Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo. version. Regarding the exploratory factor analyses, the study of Gingras (1990)Gingras, M. (1990). Élaboration d’une stratégie des besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez les finissants du secondaire. Université de Montréal. and Gonzalez (1992)González, M. (1992). La intervención educativa para el desarrollo de la carrera: análisis de las necesidades de desarrollo para la carrera de los estudiantes al finalizar la educación secundaria. Universidad de Olviedo. showed that the two-factor solution, formed by the unidimensional scale Meaning and Importance of Work and the subscales that make up the scale Preparation for Career, was satisfactory, while the seven-factor solution, despite not being totally stable, was adopted in the Canadian (Gingras, 1991Gingras, M. (1990). Élaboration d’une stratégie des besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez les finissants du secondaire. Université de Montréal.) and the Spanish (Gonzalez, 1992González, M. (1992). La intervención educativa para el desarrollo de la carrera: análisis de las necesidades de desarrollo para la carrera de los estudiantes al finalizar la educación secundaria. Universidad de Olviedo.) versions. The aforementioned authors verified that some subscales such as Factors Considered and Preferred Occupation, as well as People and Sources Consulted and Activities Performed, came together pointing to a five-factor solution. The study of Balbinotti and Tétreau (2006)Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67. by replicating the factor analyses performed from previous studies (Coallier et al., 1995Coallier, J., Diop, M., & Dupont, P. (1995). Étude interculturelle de besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez des jeunes du secondaire. In Corporation Canadienne de Psychologie (Org.), Actes du 21 colloque national touchant le développement de carrière (pp. 131- 139). Presses Universitaire de Toronto.; Dupont & Gingras, 1991aDupont, P., & Gingras, M. (1991a). Des besoins d’orientation au secondaire: nécessité de nouvelles stratégies d’éducation à la carrière. Revue Canadienne de Counseling, 25(2), 239-249., 1991bDupont, P., & Gingras, M. (1991b). Le développement de carrière des jeunes filles à la fin des études secondaires. Revue Canadienne de Counseling, 25(4), 542-554.; Gonzalez, 1992González, M. (1992). La intervención educativa para el desarrollo de la carrera: análisis de las necesidades de desarrollo para la carrera de los estudiantes al finalizar la educación secundaria. Universidad de Olviedo.), found a five-factor solution as the best solution, however, it adopted the seven-factor solution. The research of Aguillera (2013)Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo., also adopted the seven-factor solution, although the results of the factor analysis pointed to a three-factor model, formed by the three main scales, Meaning and Importance of Work, Career Preparation – Planning and Career Preparation – Exploration, as the most satisfactory solution. Among the justifications adopted by those authors regarding the adoption of the seven-factor model are the decision to maintain the original model, given the advantages of interpreting the individual results, theoretical advantages and the fact that the correlations point to relatively independent dimensions.

Considering that Career Education is still a little explored intervention modality in the Portuguese context and that the participation in these programs seems to be associated with the development of career maturity, as well as with socioemotional development, this study analyzed the psychometric properties of the Portuguese version of the CEQ and compared the results with the Canadian (Coallier, 1992Coallier, J. (1992). Étude des déternimants de la maturité vocationelle à l’adolescence dans une perspective multidimentionnelle. Université de Montréal, Canadá.; Coallier et al., 1995Coallier, J., Diop, M., & Dupont, P. (1995). Étude interculturelle de besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez des jeunes du secondaire. In Corporation Canadienne de Psychologie (Org.), Actes du 21 colloque national touchant le développement de carrière (pp. 131- 139). Presses Universitaire de Toronto.; Dupont & Gingras, 1991aDupont, P., & Gingras, M. (1991a). Des besoins d’orientation au secondaire: nécessité de nouvelles stratégies d’éducation à la carrière. Revue Canadienne de Counseling, 25(2), 239-249., 1991b; Gingras, 1990Gingras, M. (1990). Élaboration d’une stratégie des besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez les finissants du secondaire. Université de Montréal.), Brazilian (Aguillera, 2013Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo.; Balbinotti & Tétreau, 2006Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67.), and Spanish (González, 1992González, M. (1992). La intervención educativa para el desarrollo de la carrera: análisis de las necesidades de desarrollo para la carrera de los estudiantes al finalizar la educación secundaria. Universidad de Olviedo., 1997González, M. (1997). Career education needs of secondary school graduates from Asturias, Spain. Journal of Career Development, 23, 215-229.https//doi.org/10.1007/BF02359191
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02359191...
) versions. We also sought to verify possible relationships between career maturity, obtained through the Career Education Questionnaire (CEQ), and socioemotional skills measured through the Social and Emotional or Non-cognitive Nationwide Assessment (SENNA 1.0) or, according to the new denomination, the Instrument for the Assessment of Socioemotional Skills (SENNA 2.0) (Santos & Primi, 2014Santos, D., & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Instituto Ayrton Senna.). And, to verify if there are differences between the students of the schools involved in this study regarding the variables included in this study.

Method

Participants

A total of 282 Portuguese high school students participated in this study: 159 girls and 123 boys, aged 15 to 18 years (M = 15.93; SD = 0.929), from three public schools in the northern region of Portugal. Of these schools, one is dedicated exclusively to vocational education (95 students) and the other two schools to regular education (187 students). All schools involved in this study belong to Educational Territory of Priority Intervention (ETPI) school clusters, so it can be inferred that the socioeconomic level is similar.

This study was developed with a convenience sample. The vocational school has a capacity for about 400 students and is a school of reference regarding mobility and internationalization projects in the European context, having the European Quality Certificate of Vocational Education and Training. The second school, with a capacity for about 1,500 students, offers scientific humanistic courses and is also a reference in education. The last school where data were collected has a capacity for 871 students, offers regular education, participates in a platform that promotes collaboration between schools in Europe, with free professional development opportunities for teachers.

Instruments

Career Education Questionnaire (CEQ) – The version used in this study was the adaptation of Aguillera’s (2013)Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo. version with young apprentices (N = 470), conducted with a sample from the interior of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The instrument showed evidence of satisfactory validity with Cronbach’s Alpha for the total scale equal to 0.95. The instrument has 96 items, distributed in two scales that comprise seven dimensions. The first scale, called Meaning and Importance of Work (items 1 to 22, e.g., Working is an important goal in life) is unidimensional. The second, designed Career Preparation, includes six subscales: (a) Steps Taken, (items: 23 through 35, e.g., Informing myself about the tasks to be done in the job (or profession) that interests me); (b) Aspects Considered (items: 36 through 52, e.g., My likes and interests); (c) Preferred Occupation (items: 53 through 61, e.g., The possibilities for career advancement); and (d) Job Search (items: 62 through 72, e.g: How to prepare for a job interview), which make up the Career Planning tasks; in turn, the Career Exploration tasks are divided into two subscales, (e) People and Sources Consulted (items: 73 to 83, e.g., From my parents) and (f) Activities Performed (items: 84 to 96, e.g., From conversations with workers holding different jobs). The data is measured using a four-point Likert-type scale, ranging from “completely disagree” to “completely agree”; from “never” to “often”; from “know very little” to “know a lot”, and from “very little” to “very much”.

Social and Emotional or Non-cognitive Nationwide Assessment (SENNA 1.0). – In version 2.0 the name was changed to Instrument for the Assessment of Socioemotional Skills. This is a Brazilian tool authored by Santos and Primi (2014)Santos, D., & Primi, R. (2014). Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. Instituto Ayrton Senna., developed to measure socioemotional skills on a large scale in the school context, with the purpose of supporting the development of public policies in the area of education. The SENNA 1.0, used in this study, has a set of anchor vignettes and 92 items organized into six dimensions (domains of socioemotional competencies), five of which are based on the Big Five model and used in this study, namely: (a) Conscientiousness, (17 items, e.g., I am a student(s) who tries hard); (b) Openness to New Experiences (17 items, e.g., I have new and original ideas); (c) Agreeableness (15 items, e.g., I am kind and nice to almost everyone); (d) Emotional Stability (14 items, e.g: I am calm and control my stress well); (e) Extroversion (14 items, e.g. I am full of energy) and the Locus of Control (15 items, e.g. I believe I can change what will happen to me tomorrow by what I do today). The instrument is evaluated by means of a five-point Likert-type scale and in this study it was evaluated in the sense of its positive poles, according to the aforementioned denominations in the dimensions.

Procedures

Young people were invited to participate in the study voluntarily and informed about the purpose of the study. The confidentiality of the answers was assured, and they were treated collectively and statistically. The answers were treated confidentially, without identifying the respondents, and were evaluated by specialists in the field of psychology. All ethical precautions recommended for this type of study (e.g., informed consent, privacy and confidentiality) were guaranteed (Regulation nº 258/2011, Code of Ethics of the Portuguese Psychologists’ Association). Data collection took place in a single moment. The instruments were administered collectively in the classroom by two psychologists, being emphasized that the answers should be given individually. On average, it took about 30 minutes to complete the questionnaires.

Data Analyses

Descriptive statistical analyses were performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) computer program and Analysis of Moment Structures (AMOS) to conduct Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). A single-factor ANOVA was conducted to analyze the effect of school type on the dimensions assessed. Before conducting this test, the assumption of normality was checked using Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk tests. Evidence of non-normality was obtained, so equivalent non-parametric tests (Kruskal-Wallis) were performed and compared. Since the results of nonparametric (Kruskal-Wallis) and parametric (one-factor ANOVA) tests go in the same direction, results of parametric tests are reported in this study (Martins, 2011Martins, C. (2011). Manual de análise de dados quantitativos com recurso ao IBM SPSS. Saber decidir, fazer, interpretar e redigir. Psiquilibrios Edições.). The quality of model fit was evaluated based on the following statistics: ratio of ?2 over degrees of freedom (?2/gl), comparative fit index (CFI), Root Mean-Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA), and Tucker Lewis Index (TLI). As model 1 the original structure of the instrument was used, with Meaning and Importance of Work, Planning, and Exploration as latent variables. Model 2 presents the variables Steps Taken, Factors or Aspects Considered, Preferred Occupation, Job Search, People and Sources Consulted, and Activities Performed as latent variables. In model 3, the six previous variables are presented as latent variables and the Sense of Importance of Work was also added as a latent variable.

Results

As for checking for differences between students across schools, Unifactorial ANOVA results indicate that there are differences between schools in the variables: preferred occupation F (2, 278) = 2.58, p = 0.05, activities performed F (2, 278) = 4.88, p = 0.003, career readiness F (2, 262) = 2.48, p = 0.06, conscientiousness F (2, 243) = 5.23, p = .006, extroversion F (2, 243) = 7.06, p = 0.001, agreeableness F (2, 243) = 12.30, p < 0.001, and openness F (2, 243) = 7.97, p < 0.001. Gabriel’s Post-Hoc tests indicate that vocational school students show higher values in preferred occupation, activities performed, and career readiness than students from the other schools. On the other hand, vocational school students show lower values in conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and openness than students from the other schools.

Next, Table 1 shows the result of the descriptive analysis and the indices of the internal consistency of the CEQ. It can be observed that the highest means were found in the Meaning and Importance of Work dimension. The internal consistency indices ranged from 0.85 in the Steps Taken dimension to 0.91 in the Job Search and Activities Performed for Choice dimensions.

Table 1
Descriptive analysis and internal consistency of the CEQ

Table 2 presents the results of the analysis of intercorrelations between the CEQ and SENNA scales. The analysis of intercorrelations showed a generally positive and significant relationship between the different subscales of the CEQ, except between the activities performed and the meaning and importance of work, r = 0.093, p = 0.12. Specifically, correlation analyses indicate moderate correlations between the aspects considered and steps taken r = 0.508, p < 0.001, and between preferred occupation r = 0.611, p < 0.001, and job search r = 0.560, p < 0.001, with the aspects considered; between activities performed with people/sources consulted r = 0.624, p < 0.001, and activities performed r = 0.451, p < 0.001 with job search; and between job search r = 0.464, p < 0.001 with preferred occupation; and weak between people and sources consulted r = 0.276, p < 0.001, and activities performed r = 0.307, p < 0.001 with preferred occupation; people/sources consulted r = 0.427, p < 0.001.

Table 2
Analysis of intercorrelations between the CEQ and SENNA scales

Analysis of intercorrelations further evidenced a positive and significant weak to moderate magnitude relationship between the different SENNA subscales. Specifically, agreeableness r = 0.490, p < 0.001 correlated moderately with conscientiousness; and openness with agreeableness r = 0.508, p < 0.001. Weak magnitude correlations between emotional stability r = 0.310, p < 0.001, and openness r = 0.425, p < 0.001 with conscientiousness; and between emotional stability r = 0.257, p < .001, agreeableness r = 0.432, p < 0.001, and openness r = 0.438, p < 0.001 with extroversion.

Regarding intercorrelations between the CEQ and the SENNA, overall a positive and significant relationship of weak magnitude is evident. Correlation analyses indicate correlations between conscientiousness r = 0.364, p < 0.001, and agreeableness r = 0.269, p < 0.001 with the sense of importance of work. Between conscientiousness r = 0.402, p < 0.001, kindness r = 0.314, p < 0.001, and openness r = 0.307, p < 0.001 with the steps taken; and also between openness r = 0.250, p < 0.001 and the aspects considered.

Table 3 shows the fit indicators of the tested models. The results of a confirmatory factor analysis indicate that the measurement model with the factors – Meaning and Importance of Work, Career Planning and Career Exploration, showed satisfactory and better goodness of fit values to the data than those of two alternative models with the two scales and the seven dimensions, respectively. According to Hu and Bentler (1999)Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999) Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1-55.https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118
https://doi.org/10.1080/1070551990954011...
a CFI > 0.95 and an RMSEA < 0.06 reflect values that reflect a good fit of the model. In this case, model 1, Meaning and Importance of Work, Career Planning, and Career Exploration, has the highest CFI and the highest RMSEA. The chi-square of this model is also the lowest when compared to the two alternative models.

Table 3
Adjustment indicators of the tested models (n = 289)

Discussion

This study aimed to analyze the dimensionality and reliability of the Career Education Questionnaire in a sample of Portuguese secondary school students and, to verify possible relationships between career maturity, obtained through the assessment of Career Education needs measured by the CEQ, and socioemotional competencies, measured through the SENNA. The comparison of the internal consistency of the Portuguese version of the Career Education Questionnaire with the Canadian, Spanish, and Brazilian versions show better indices for the Portuguese version, presenting more similarity with the Brazilian version by Aguillera (2013)Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo.. As with the Canadian, Spanish, and Brazilian versions, the lowest internal consistency index in the Portuguese version was found in the People and Sources Consulted scale. These results reinforce the accuracy of the instrument found in other studies (Aguillera, 2013Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo.; Coallier et al., 1995Coallier, J., Diop, M., & Dupont, P. (1995). Étude interculturelle de besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez des jeunes du secondaire. In Corporation Canadienne de Psychologie (Org.), Actes du 21 colloque national touchant le développement de carrière (pp. 131- 139). Presses Universitaire de Toronto.; Dupont & Gingras, 1991aDupont, P., & Gingras, M. (1991a). Des besoins d’orientation au secondaire: nécessité de nouvelles stratégies d’éducation à la carrière. Revue Canadienne de Counseling, 25(2), 239-249.; González, 1997González, M. (1997). Career education needs of secondary school graduates from Asturias, Spain. Journal of Career Development, 23, 215-229.https//doi.org/10.1007/BF02359191
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02359191...
). From the analysis described it can be seen that, as Balbinotti and Tétreau (2006)Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67. mentioned, the adolescents in the different countries seem to elect only a few Sources of Exploration, which may be a restrictive factor for Career Exploration, the main task of this period of human development (Super, 1990Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Orgs.), Career choice and development: applying contemporary theories to practice (pp. 197-261). Jossey Bass.). These results indicate the importance of career interventions to open the range of exploration options for this population. It is worth noting however, that just like in Aguillera’s (2013) study, the value found in the Portuguese sample in the dimension People and Sources Consulted (0.81) seems to show a certain balance in the exploration of the sources presented in the CEQ. These results suggest in a way that Portuguese adolescents, participants of this study, show more exploratory behaviors than the participants of the Canadian, Spanish and Brazilian studies.

With regard to the correlations between the subscales of the CEQ, it was found that the correlation coefficients ranged from 0.09 (Activities Performed and Meaning and Importance of Work) to 0.62 (People and Sources Consulted and Activities Performed). According to Dancey and Reidy (2006)Dancey, C., & Reidy, J. (2006). Estatística sem Matemática para Psicologia: usando SPSS para Windows. Artmed. these correlations can be considered from weak (0.10 to 0.30) to moderate (0.40 to 0.60). Moderate correlations predominated among the subscales that make up the Planning and Exploration dimensions. The lack of correlations between the scales, Meaning and Importance of Work and Activities Performed, as well as, the weak correlations between Meaning and Importance of Work with the other CEQ scales suggests the independence of the Meaning and Importance of Work scale. In addition, it showed a higher median correlation (0.36) than those found in Balbinotti and Tétreau, (2006)Balbinotti, M., & Tétreau, B. (2006). Questionário de educação à carreira: propriedades psicométricas da versão brasileira e comparação transcultural. Revista Brasileira de Orientação Profissional, 7(2), 49-67. (0.32) and Gingras (1990)Gingras, M. (1990). Élaboration d’une stratégie des besoins d’éducation à la carrière chez les finissants du secondaire. Université de Montréal. studies (0.33) and close to that found in Gonzalez (1992) study (0.35), but lower than that found in Aguillera’s (2013)Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo. study (0.40). These results are comparable and indicate moderate independence between the scales, which reinforces the multidimensionality of the Career Education construct.

As expected, the analysis of intercorrelations between the subdimensions of the CEQ and SENNA, for the most part, proved significant and positive, in line with the results of Atli (2017)Atli, A. (2017). Five-factor personality traits as predictor of career maturity. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 17(68), 151-165.https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ejer/issue/42457/511306
https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ejer/iss...
. However, the absence of significant correlation between some subdimensions of the SENNA and the CEQ is not common. Awareness was not associated with the subdimension Job Search and Maintenance. It was expected that the organizational and planning characteristic of the Awareness dimension would favor a search for more knowledge needed to find, obtain and retain employment. This result may be related to the fact that the students in the sample investigated are still in the beginning of secondary school, where issues related to finding and keeping a job are not yet pressing.

It was also found that Emotional Stability, characterized by calm and tolerant behavior, was not associated with career exploration behaviors, such as getting help from different people, sources, and activities performed, as well as, with job search and job retention behaviors. Which may suggest that Emotional Stability may be more related to more passive behaviors, which may impact the proactive behaviors needed for career exploration. Finally, agreeableness characterized by docility and passivity did not correlate with Aspects Considered, Job Search, and Activities Performed, dimensions that require more exploratory and proactive behaviors.

Regarding factor analysis, model 1, which comprises the original structure of the instrument, was the one that presented the best adjustment. This model with seven factors, formed by the unidimensional scale Meaning and Importance of Work and the six subscales that make up the Career Readiness scale was also considered in previous studies in Canada, Spain, and Brazil. It is noteworthy that the adoption of this structure allows for cross-cultural comparison of the results in these different cultures.

The studies on the psychometric properties of the CEQ show that it presents itself as a valid instrument for measuring Career Education needs, in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, in the Portuguese context. In addition, this instrument is a measure of career maturity, useful to help young people reflect on the meaning they attach to work and how they prepare for career choice and achievement, and can also be used as an initial diagnostic measure (Aguillera, 2013Aguillera, F. (2013). Projeto de vida e preparação para a carreira de jovens aprendizes: da realidade à intervenção (Dissertação de doutorado não-publicada). Universidade de São Paulo.) and as a roadmap for the structuring of career interventions aimed at meeting individual or group demands in the Portuguese context with adolescent secondary school population. The CEQ assesses the subdimensions Exploration and Career Planning, which as highlighted by Nassar and Al-Quimlass (2017)Nassar, S., & Al-Qimlass, A. (2017). Career builders: key components for effective global career and workforce development. RTI Press Research Report. https//doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2017.op.0045.1709
https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2017.op...
are key components in effective career and workforce development programs with young populations, which reinforces the usefulness of the instrument in these intervention contexts. Furthermore, because it focuses on core elements in career education interventions, the use of the CEQ is independent of the theoretical approach used in conducting the program.

The CEQ can also be used to evaluate the outcomes of intervention actions, as proposed in the literature, this instrument can provide a baseline for outcome evaluation, and can be used before the intervention, and at specific points in the intervention (Nassar & Al-Quimlass, 2017Nassar, S., & Al-Qimlass, A. (2017). Career builders: key components for effective global career and workforce development. RTI Press Research Report. https//doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2017.op.0045.1709
https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2017.op...
), evaluating outcomes and processes. The evaluation of the data can provide information for the monitoring of the policies carried out, assisting in making decisions about the continuity of the programs or the need to carry out new initiatives. It should be noted, however, that the instrument has limitations in terms of its extension and validation. Regarding the extension, the 96 items may be a limiting factor when it comes to its use in samples with difficulties in reading and interpreting texts; a possible solution could be the use of separate scales or the construction of a reduced version. As for validation, we suggest a temporal validity study and the establishment of norms for the Portuguese population. Therefore, we suggest the expansion of studies on the psychometric properties of the CEQ with different Portuguese populations, as well as its use in the diagnosis and assessment of results in interventional practices in educational settings.

How to cite this article

  • Leal, M. S., Marques, C., Taveira, M. C., & Melo-Silva, L. L. (2022). Career Education Questionnaire: psychometric properties of the Portuguese version. Estudos de Psicologia (Campinas), 39, e200018. https://doi.org/10.1590/1982-0275202239e200018
  • Support: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (Financing code: 2017/04021-3).
  • Article based on the master’s thesis of M.S. LEAL, entitled “Socioemotional and career competencies in high school students in Brazilian and Portuguese contexts”. University of Minho, 2018

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    03 June 2022
  • Date of issue
    2022

History

  • Received
    06 Feb 2020
  • Reviewed
    19 Feb 2021
  • Accepted
    16 Apr 2021
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