Project contribution to the field of graduate tracking in the VET sector

We have recently released a report that summarises the project contribution to the field of graduate tracking in the VET sector. The document describes in detail our tracking protocol that allows tracing a diverse range of school-to-work transitions (employment, self-employment, further studies). it also includes practical tips and guidelines to set up a graduate tracking system using instruments and methods developed and tested in VET schools during the project lifetime. Full report is freely available in the Outputs section of our website.

The document is structured as follows:

Section 1. Background.  TRACKTION Baseline Study (2018) helped us to understand the state of the art tracking and alumni initiatives in nine VET schools in four European countries (Estonia, Italy, Netherlands and Spain). The conclusions derived from this baseline study informed the design of a our tracking protocol with three key requirements in mind:

• It should meet data requirements of protocols already in place.
• It should build on the strengths of protocols already in place.
• It should overcome some of the key obstacles identified.

Section 2. Tracktion graduate tracking protocol. This section describes the instrument in a nutshell:  A web-based survey with quantitative and qualitative questions to collect expectations and destinations’ data from VET graduates.The post-graduation questionnaire includes 57 items but, as shown in the survey flow chart below, the number of questions varies depending on the current status of respondent.

The new graduate tracking protocol captures a variety of employment and education data before and after graduation

This enables a more detailed and nuanced analysis of graduates’ transitions to employment and/or further education or training. A careful interrogation of the data allows us to explore in more detail aspects related to job quality, opportunities for professional progression, as well as graduates’ perception of the relevance of the training they received. Another useful aspect of this survey is that it assesses the quality of the qualifications obtained and their perceived usefulness from the point of view of graduates over time.

Section 3. Tracking step by step.  The contents of this guide cover the 4 main stages in graduate tracking: Data collection, data analysis, data sharing and use of data. Suggestions and ideas are based on the insights collected during pilot implementation in 8 VE Schools located in Spain (5), Estonia (1), Italy (1) and the Netherlands (1).

Section 4. Data collection.  In this section we explore data collection strategies applied in the piloting phase and impacts on response and completion rates. Section 5. Data organization. Checking for errors and sorting tracking data is key to making the dataset accessible for analysis. This section describes how datasets were linked to enable pre-graduation/post-graduation comparisons

Section 6. Data analysis. This section provides guidance on how to proceed with the analysis of data. The survey logic is our navigation chart to explore sections and items and the type of analysis that’s possible. The section is illustrated with real data from Asturias, one of the regions that took part in the pilot.  Data can be interrogated in a myriad of ways. For instance,  What is the quality of jobs offered to VET graduates?
The survey includes a subset of questions that act as proxies for job quality.

Section 7. Data sharing This section looks at different ways and formats to present data: School reports and raw data for schools, Visual summaries for students/graduates and Presentation sessions and meetings with policymakers. The example below is a visual summary of results shared with students/graduates that took part in the pilot in Asturias.

 

Section 8. Use of data. Tracking VET graduates is important because the data resulting from these surveys allows colleges to adapt what they offer. For instance, The TRACKTION pre-graduation survey helps VET schools to improve alumni relations. Firstly by determining the percentage of students who want to keep connected. And secondly by eliciting the type of relationship with two interrelated questions that signal different ways to get involved not only as recipients of information or services but as active contributors to school life after they graduate. Each section ends with insights from piloting schools.

Section 9. Limitations and ways forward.
In this final section of the report we reflect on the limitations and the implications for policy and practice in relation to the eleven recommendations for the improvement of the VET graduate tracking protocols proposed by European Commission.

Section 10. Annexes.

Pre-graduation and post-graduation surveys are included as annexes. Language versions are also available in .pdf format in the following link: https://tracktionerasmus.eu/surveys/

 

 

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