Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2011, 91-109

Preliminary Communication

Vocational Maturity of Primary School Students in Croatia

Toni Babarović - Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb
Iva  Šverko - Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 91-109).pdf

Vocational maturity is the tendency of a person to make realistic career plans and decisions, based on a thorough exploration of personal characteristics and collected information about the world of work. The aim of this study was to determine the level of vocational maturity of students in higher primary school grades and to determine the relation of vocational maturity to some students’ characteristics. The Test of Occupational Knowledge was applied on a Croatian representative samples of pupils in 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade of primary school (total N = 1266). The test was developed for the purpose of this study and measures the cognitive component of vocational maturity. The obtained results lead to the conclusion that the test was of appropriate difficulty for pupils in the 8th grade, while being slightly more difficult for younger pupils. The good internal consistency is confirmed, as well as clear saturation of all items by first principal component. The vocational maturity increases with age of respondents, although it is quite low in all samples. Girls systematically achieve higher scores than boys, regardless of their age. The vocational maturity is moderately related to school achievement, educational aspirations and parents’ occupation and weakly related to involvement in the career choice process. Therefore we consider that the Test of Occupational Knowledge can be used for identification of vocationally immature pupils who lack information about the world of work and who cannot make mature career decisions (electronic version of the test is available at the internet address www.karijera. hr). We also suggest that pupils in the 5th, 6th and 7th grades should systematically be enrolled in developmental school programs for vocational maturity encouragement, while congruence-based vocational counseling should be provided for insufficiently informed pupils in the last grade of primary school.

vocational maturity, Test of Occupational Knowledge (TOK), career, vocational choice

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