Hungarian vocational education teachers’ views on their pedagogical knowledge and the information sources suitable for their professional development
Csíkos et al. Empirical Res Voc Ed Train
Hungarian vocational education teachers' views on their pedagogical knowledge and the information sources suitable for their professional development
Background: Vocational education teachers are key participants in the renewal of the Hungarian vocational educational system. Their professional development (as indicated by their learning activities, learning targets and information sources) contains both the input for improving their teaching and the findings essential for affecting future improvements. The aim of this questionnaire survey was to explore Hungarian vocational education teachers' views and judgements on three interrelated phenomena: their learning activities, their opinion regarding the importance of pedagogical knowledge and the efficiency and usage of information sources relevant to their professional development. Methods: A total of 1131 teachers from 37, randomly selected vocational education schools completed a questionnaire based on five subscales, each containing five-point Likert-scales: (1) teachers' learning activities, (2) judgment of their preparedness in pedagogical knowledge, (3) judgment on the importance of their pedagogical knowledge components, and (4) the efficiency and (5) usage of information sources in furthering their professional development. Results: All subscales display appropriate reliability (Cronbach's alpha ranged from .65 to .94). The study provides the descriptive statistical values for each questionnaire item, the relationships between subscales and the connections between the subscales and background variables, such as gender, career level and school type. Conclusion: This explorative study possesses theoretical relevance in developing a questionnaire that consists of five reliable subscales, all of which can later be used for either detecting changes in teachers' views or measuring the effectiveness of intervention programs and professional development training sessions designed for vocational education teachers. The study's practical relevance lies in its explorative nature: decision makers are provided with ample evidence indicating the potential advantages and obstacles vocational education teachers face in their attempt to work more efficiently.
Vocational education teachers; Teachers' views; Professional development
The importance of researching vocational education teachers’ views
Vocational education teachers are key participants in the overhaul of the Hungarian
vocational education system that is currently underway. Vocational education teachers’
views, their values and judgements are of utmost importance in advancing their
professional development while also assessing how system-level regulations can best assist
them. In the previous decades, the overall importance of investigating teachers’ views
regarding different issues in education has been well-documented. The basic
assumption is that teachers’ views influence their classroom practices and consequently have
an indirect effect on students’ performance or attitudes as a reflection of the teaching
How educators’ views are related to their in-class teaching practices is an issue that
has already been explored by a variety of research methods. The main difficulty involved
in such investigations is not in mapping teachers’ views [a process possessing its own,
well-established theory and practice since at least the seminal article by
but in exploring both teachers’ classroom practice and how this relates to their beliefs
and experiences. The challenge of scientifically describing teachers’ classroom
practices as a function of their views has been accepted by many scholars:
interviewed three science teachers in order to map their opinions, followed by
observing many lessons to determine a definite correlation between the two constructs. While
several studies found the relationship between teacher views and classroom practice to
be a controversial one
, it must be mentioned that these
analyses primarily dealt with pre-service teachers
(e.g., Mellado 1998; Hancock and Gallard
. In a recent empirical model proposed by Palak and Walls (2009), a combination
of large-sample qualitative and quantitative methods revealed how teachers’ views
surrounding the usage of technology changed their instructional practice. Nonetheless, any
relationship between teachers’ views and practice may be twofold: the reverse may also
be true regarding the connection between teachers’ views and their professional practice
because teachers’ ongoing classroom practices may also shape their beliefs in connection
to teaching and learning. In a model proposed by Guskey (2002), teachers’ beliefs are
connected to the outcome of alterations in teaching practices and the resulting changes
experienced in students’ performance. On the contrary, the prerequisite role of teachers’
views in teachers’ actions (or the lack thereof ) is equally feasible in the case of teachers
who are at the beginning of their career
In reference to terminology, we would like to state that—in accordance with what
Hofer and Pintrich implicitly suggest in their volume on personal epistemologies
and Pintrich 2002)
—several synonyms and special terms are used when discussing the
subjective truths people hold and communicate. Such synonyms may include the
following: assumptions, views, opinions, ways of knowing, etc. In the literature in Hungarian
a term equivalent to views is generally preferred, so allowing for some alterations and
synonyms, this is the term primarily used in this study.
Research in Hungary on vocational education teachers’ views and experiences
Among teachers, educators at vocational schools possess a special role within the
Hungarian education system due to the fact that the types of schools being offered in
Hungarian secondary education are changing. This present investigation occurred right
before new types of upper secondary schools were introduced into the education
system. For more than two decades before this change, vocational education took place in
two types of schools. Secondary vocational schools (szakközépiskola) have long enjoyed
the preference of lay people, who considered this kind of institution to be the best
choice1 since 5th-year students could receive a certificate for completing vocational
education in addition to achieving the maturation exam taken at the end of the 4th year in
upper secondary level schooling. In contrast to this form of school, the second
possibility, vocational schools (szakiskola), offered students vocational training and exposure to
some academic subjects for 4 years. In many cases, the same institution could provide
both vocational and secondary vocational training in separate classes, therefore the
vocational education teachers who participated in this survey may have worked either in
one of the two types of vocational training or simultaneously in both types.
Previous research conducted in Hungary on teachers’ views about learning and
teaching involved teachers from gymnasium and secondary vocational schools, while teachers
employed at vocational schools were not included. A large sample study conducted in
the 90s revealed several tendencies in which gymnasium teachers were shown to
differ from vocational secondary teachers. One striking contrast concerned the usage of
instructional strategies: vocational education teachers employed the methods of working
in dyads and classroom discussion while games were initiated less frequently in
comparison to their gymnasium teacher counterparts, who were more likely to employ
project work as well as ICT- and multimedia-based learning methods. Another difference
emerged regarding the preference for summative evaluation over formative assessment.
Several aspects of teachers’ views, however, revealed no difference between gymnasium
and vocational education teachers; these views referred to the recognized importance
of motivation and acknowledging the role of factors related to family background
(Golnhofer and Nahalka 2001)
Vocational education teachers’ views and professional development as analyzed in previous international studies
International surveys and experiments have underscored several important
characteristics pertinent to how vocational education teachers think, thereby forming a source
of findings upon which any decisions concerning their professional development should
be based. In general, vocational education teachers are inclined to support meaningful
changes in vocational education, including their professional development
et al. 1998)
. Teachers’ professional development highly depends on the values they have,
including their beliefs regarding the importance of what knowledge teachers must
possess for working in vocational education. In addition, the possible sources of information
available for their use and the actual learning opportunities and activities they judge as
important will enact an influence on their professional development.
1 According to the results of a nationwide Gallup poll, almost half of the population chose secondary vocational school
when replying to the question: “Which type of school is most worth being selected by students after finishing
(see Imre and Lannert 2000)
A widely used term for quite some time,
) concept of pedagogical
content knowledge (PCK) places PCK at the very center of teachers’ professional
development. According to this concept, no matter the subject taught by a teacher, a common
system of knowledge deemed necessary for teaching does exist in reference to issues
such as how to conduct lessons, awareness of instructional techniques and strategies,
knowledge about students and their characteristics and many other aspects concerning
the creation of a powerful learning environment. The Shulmanian sense of PCK can be
found in the current research examining vocational education teachers’ knowledge, such
as in the study conducted by
Fritsch et al. (2015
), who investigated
business-economics vocational education teachers’ knowledge and how PCK is connected to this field of
The possibly wide range of opportunities available for teachers’ professional
development has also been discussed in the literature
(see Guskey 2002; Birman et al. 2000)
These opportunities contain sites and occasions including formal in-service teacher
trainings, informal and non-formal discussions, observations and the significant role
played by the overall institutional climate. Teachers’ professional development can be
influenced by many variables, among which those of gender, experience and the type
of vocational education all seem to occupy a central position in the empirical research.
Vocational education teachers’ gender, for example, was examined as a relevant
background variable in several previous investigations
(see Gordon 1998; Greenan et al.
1998; Hof and Leiser 2014; Wicklein and Rojewski 1995)
. Although there is a gender bias
in reference to the type of institution, relevant gender differences concerning teachers’
values and learning activities have yet to be found. In Estonia, researchers
(Sirk et al.
have provided data on several aspects of vocational teachers’ work, out of which
we highlight the results regarding how highly experienced vocational education
teachers view the pedagogical knowledge required for their work and how they cope with
changes in the profession. In both areas, the results underscored an emphasis on the
need to have skills in using computers and other technical tools.
The new possibilities and demands stemming from ICT-based innovation, i.e. usage
of video tutorials, networking through social media and the overall awareness of
values shared by new student generations (often labelled as X, Y or Z generations), have
not been targeted in empirical surveys among vocational education teachers. However,
it has been revealed that the best practice offered in how to utilize various ICT tools
such as wiki, social media or serious games may come from vocational and professional
courses held at universities
(Littlejohn et al. 2012)
Cardoso and Coutinho (2011)
additionally reported promising results in secondary school vocational education in
connection to the motivating and inspiring usage of digital tools.
Aims and hypotheses
The strategic aim of this research was to provide data and evidence upon which the
renewal of the Hungarian vocational education system could be based. Vocational
education teachers, the most important human resources in this field, expressed their
opinions about and assessed several phenomena in reference to their professional learning.
We hypothesized that by means of administering a reliable questionnaire, our vocational
education system would receive a rich source of information upon which the design and
implementation of various opportunities for teachers’ professional development could
then be based.
In accordance with the literature review, we aimed to measure vocational education
teachers’ assessment of their learning opportunities, the extent to which they possess
a sense of preparedness in different areas of knowledge, how important they consider
these knowledge components to be and how they judge the efficiency and usage of
different information sources for their professional development.
Since the population of vocational education teachers is far from homogeneous, we
hypothesized that teachers’ gender, their professional career level and the type school
they work in may influence their replies. At the same time, where no such effect is found,
this investigation may reveal the existence of core views held by teachers independently
of their background characteristics.
The population examined in the current study entirely consisted of upper secondary
teachers in Hungary who work in either a vocational school (szakiskola) or secondary
vocational school (szakközépiskola). Both academic and vocational subjects are taught
in these two types of upper secondary-level schools
In the sampling procedure, we decided to use systematic sampling, one type of random
sampling method. First, the frequency interval was set at ten; in other words, every tenth
school was selected. Out of the whole list containing 370 schools, the tenth, twentieth,
thirtieth, etc. were chosen. Since the complete list of schools had been arranged
according to the alphabetical list of geographical locations, this systematic sampling provided
a simple and unbiased selection of 37 schools in total. After receiving information about
the research project, the school principals were asked to send the questionnaire to all the
teachers in the given school. A total of 1131 questionnaires were returned, an acceptable
number for computing reasonably precise estimates in connection to population
characteristics. Based on a system-level average, roughly thirty teachers per state-owned
institution participated in the survey, thereby bringing the response rate fairly close to 100%.
Out of the 1131 participants, 1073 provided data on gender: 444 respondents were male
while 629 were female.
Respondents indicated their teaching career level2 in 91.7% of the cases. The surveys
were filled out by twenty-one teachers at the Probationer level, while the rest included
812 Teacher I, 161 Teacher II, 43 Master Teacher and two Research Teacher cases. In
subsequent analyses the two Research Teacher cases were omitted due to representing
too small of a subsample.
As for the types of schools where the teachers involved in this research3 were
employed, 436 teachers were only working in secondary vocational schools, 123 were
only teaching in vocational schools and 492 taught classes belonging to both types of
2 In Hungary, there are five levels in teachers’ life-time career model. The three mandatory stages are: Probationer,
Teacher I and Teacher II. The upper two stages of Master Teacher and Research Teacher are optional.
3 In line with what we have described in “Research in Hungary on vocational education teachers’ views and experiences”
section there are three types of institutions: vocational schools, vocational secondary schools, and mixed type of schools
with both types of classes.
Bearing the title of Vocational Education Teachers’ Pedagogical Knowledge, the
questionnaire contains eleven numbered questions (item bunches); the current study focuses on
the quantifiable items that follow below.
Teachers’ learning activities
The first part of the questionnaire consisted of eight items related to the area of
teachers’ learning activities. Five items were borrowed from the questionnaire developed by
Oude Groote Beverborg et al. (2015
). Three further items were developed by the authors
to reflect traditions in the Hungarian educational system. As a group of experts, the
authors agreed upon which items from the original questionnaire could be translated
unambiguously into Hungarian while also representing the subscales appropriately.
Items on teachers’ knowledge
These items were selected from Hungarian legal documents
(such as the 8/2013 Decree
of the Ministry of Economics)
describing what knowledge components vocational
education teachers must possess at the end of their training. Fifteen such items were selected.
A twin table format was used for measuring how participants evaluated their level of
preparation regarding each knowledge component as well as how they assessed their
importance. In addition to the items found in legal documents, four other items that
focused on ICT-related competences were developed by us. In all cases a five-level
Likert-scale was utilized.
Sources of professional development
These items were developed by the authors of this paper, either by selecting six items
from the literature review
(Guskey 2002; Birman et al. 2000)
or by referring to certain
challenges teachers currently face. In a twin table format, participants were additionally
asked to assess areas of their professional development according to the extent of
efficiency and usage they experienced regarding these aspects. Both features were weighed
according to the five-point Likert-type scale. The possible, listed sources included
trainings for in-service teachers, conferences, journals, discussions with colleagues,
participation in research projects and the Internet.
In order to make comparisons between different groups possible, several background
variables of a demographic nature were asked at the end of the questionnaire. These
factors referred to teachers’ gender, age, teaching career-level and whether the teacher
worked in vocational, secondary vocational classes, or both.
In this study the paper-and-pencil version of the questionnaire was used. The
questionnaires were collected from the schools and coded by an expert based on the Excel data
file template created by the first author of this study. The data were then transferred to
SPSS and analyzed by means of descriptive statistics, statistical comparisons, correlation
analyses and multivariate analyses.
We conducted both item-level and subscale-level analyses. In doing so, the three
subscales will be referred as Teachers’ learning activities, Teacher knowledge (in training
and the importance of ) and Sources of professional development (efficiency and usage).
In this empirical and quantitative research report, the descriptive statistical results for
three parts of the questionnaire will be presented first. Due to the large sample size, the
mean and standard deviation values provide a precise estimation of the corresponding
population means and SDs. Following this examination, statistical comparisons
(pairedsamples t-tests) enabled by the twin table format will be presented. The internal
consistency and internal structure have been investigated (Cronbach’s alpha and cluster
analysis) for all three parts of the questionnaire. Finally, we computed the correlations
among the three parts while further correlations regarding demographic background
variables were calculated separately.
Teachers’ learning activities
The reliability of this part of the questionnaire was .73 (Cronbach’s alpha), therefore the
summed Likert-scale provided a reliable variable. The mean and SD values of the eight
items belonging to this subscale are presented in Table 1.
The strongest agreement was reached concerning the first item, while the second item
was judged the least positively. In general, teachers relayed positive assessments in
connection to the items regarding their learning activities as professionals. As for the
distribution of the data, the relatively large SD for the last item (institutional support) is due to
the fact that 9% of the teachers viewed this item negatively. The same 9% value emerged
in connection with the second item, also accompanied by the lowest mean value.
This section of the questionnaire contained nineteen items repeated twice. Both the
preparation and the importance subscales proved to be highly reliable. Cronbach’s α
was .94 for the preparation scale, and .92 for the importance scale. Table 2 presents how
teachers judged the appropriateness of their preparation before they started working in
In general, teachers moderately agreed that the preparation had been appropriate. The
only mean value less than 3.00 regarded the category of a proactive lifestyle, while only
For the conduct of our jobs, the members of my team need information from each other 4.51
We agree on what quality represents for our team 3.60
I can remain calm when confronted with difficulties in my work because I know that I can fall back 4.08
on my competences
Teachers can learn from each other by means of attending and observing each other’s lessons 4.17
I compare my performance with how I performed 1 year ago 4.27
It is clear to me how my work fits the aims of my institution 4.31
My colleagues listen to my pedagogical experiences 4.03
My institution supports my participation in in-service teacher training programs 4.15
two items yielded mean values above 4.00. The terms pedagogical goals and the role of
personal role-modeling appear to be sufficiently present in pre-service teacher training.
As for the SD values, some items proved to be divisive: e.g., knowledge of the X, Y and Z
generations, or planning the process of vocational practical training.
Table 3 presents the mean and SD values for the same 19 items concerning their
assessed importance in vocational education teachers’ work.
According to Table 3, all the listed knowledge items were judged positively with
respect to their importance. Knowledge regarding a proactive lifestyle was the only item
resulting in a mean value below 4.00. Some items drew an extremely high level of
agreement among teachers. Awareness concerning the role of personal role modeling
garnered the highest mean value.
The corresponding mean values of preparedness and importance for each item were
compared with paired-samples t-tests. Not surprisingly, in all cases the perceived
importance resulted in a significantly higher mean (p < .001 in all cases). The largest
differences can be observed between the corresponding mean values of the
experiencecentered training and the X, Y, Z generation items. In these two items, teachers felt that
they had not been adequately prepared in these areas during their pre-service education
in comparison to how important they later proved to be.
The twin table arrangement rendered the questionnaire especially suitable for
analyzing the correlation between perceived importance and how teachers felt concerning
their preparedness for the teaching profession. Due to the large sample size, all
correlations proved to be significant (p < .001), prompting us to turn our attention to the
magnitude of the R2 values. In other words, the squared correlation coefficient is the
explained variance indicating the strength of the relationship between the two variables.
The explained variance values ranged between 4 and 18%, indicating a moderate level
of strength in perceived causality. These relatively low R2 values indicate that it was not
mainly the level of preparation that made an issue more or less important in teachers’
opinion; we can therefore conclude that the two scales worked well independently of one
Sources of professional development
The questionnaire listed six possible information sources and requested teachers to
evaluate both the source’s efficiency and their usage of each information source. The results
are summarized in Table 4. The reliability for both scales proved to be marginally
acceptable (Cronbach-α was .68 for efficiency and .65 for usage.).
Table 4 suggests that teachers possessed strikingly marked opinions regarding the
efficiency of different information sources. With the exception of the Internet, the
frequency of usage was usually lower on average than perceived efficiency was. The
largest gap between mean values can be observed in the case of participation in research
projects. Albeit the efficiency of this was not positively judged, the rather low level of
its usage indicates the potential to improve teachers’ participation in this source of
professional development. From our perspective, it was disappointing to see that both the
training programs and the conferences were gauged rather neutrally as information
sources. In our study the proposed activities and sources for vocational education
teachers’ professional development remained well within the boundaries of school and
academic life. A possible extension of this part of our survey may involve participation in the
work-life community. In a Swedish experiment,
Andersson and Köpsén (2015)
the importance of such “boundary crossings” in teachers’ professional development.
A paired-samples t-test showed that (p ≤ .001) the difference was statistically
significant in all cases. The correlations between the corresponding variables (efficiency and
usage in six cases) were all significant as well (p < .001). The explained variance ranged
from 16 to 45%. These determination coefficients are relatively higher than the values in
the Teacher knowledge section of the questionnaire, which can be explained by the very
subjective and individual nature of the information gained here.
Correlations among subscales of the questionnaire
In order to provide a holistic picture of the overall connections among subscales, the five
summed scales have been computed. Their inter-correlations are presented in Table 5.
Not surprisingly, all correlation coefficients among the main variables proved to be
significant. Since even .05 coefficients are significant in such a large sample, the main
question posed in Table 5 is whether the difference among the coefficients is significant.
The many possible pairwise comparisons of overlapping and non-overlapping
coefficients showed that—as a rule of thumb—differences greater than .07 between two
coefficients in the matrix are significant. We can therefore state with assurance that the usage
of information sources and the perceived efficiency of those sources are more strongly
correlated than any other correlations in the matrix.
Connections with background variables
In such large samples, nuances between mean values are statistically significant; at the
same time, this does not mean that they can be meaningfully interpreted. Furthermore,
it must be stressed that variations in values do not establish educational decisions. In
truth, differences as small as .1 on a five-point Likert-scale are numerically significant,
yet do not provide a large enough basis for meaningful interpretation or the reaching of
new conclusions. Male–female differences demonstrate the following pattern.
Teachers’ learning activities were judged rather similarly by the two groups. In total,
only three significant contrasts emerged out of the eight items, resulting in a .13–.21
difference in magnitude. There is no general agreement concerning how large differences
shown on a five-point Likert scale should be considered as meaningful and relevant. A
subjective view from
suggests half of a scale-point as a threshold value.
In the second subscale, several items exhibited significant gender difference; only two
of them, however, approached the .5 magnitude of difference. Both items concerned
the perceived level of having been adequately prepared as pre-service vocational
education teachers, demonstrated by the categories listed as Pedagogical characteristics of
vocational practical training and planning the process of vocational practical training.
In both cases women felt that the extent of preparation received in these two items had
been more appropriate.
No relevant differences could be observed in the third subscale: the maximum
difference between males and females was .24, indicating a higher level of perceived
importance of in-service teacher training as a source of information for their work among male
educators. Females judged the importance of participation in research projects more
favorably, by a difference of .23.
When comparing the mean values of the summed scales, there were no significant
gender differences in the third subscale, which dealt with information sources.
Differences on the scales were significant for the following items, demonstrating p values .005
(learning activities), .004 (knowledge—preparation), and .003 (knowledge—importance).
Teachers’ career level
We examined what influence the teachers’ current career level may play via a series of
ANOVA tests. Teachers possessing a higher career standing generally judged their
learning activities more positively. The between-group differences were significant, however,
the eta-squared values (estimate of effect size) were small at 2.2%. As for the second
part of the questionnaire, the perceived level of preparedness in the listed pedagogical
knowledge items showed no significant differences among various career level groups.
Nevertheless, the judged importance of the knowledge items indicated that career level
exercised a small effect (η2 = 1.5%). In spite of the fact that the judged efficiency of
information sources exhibited no significant differences, teacher’ usage of these sources
naturally revealed a relatively high effect related to career standing (η2 = 3.2%). According to
the results, the Teacher I career stage is least associated with the use of different
information sources for their professional development. The other three groups
(Probationers, Teacher II and Master Teacher groups) did not differ significantly from one another.
Type of classrooms where the teacher works
The type of classrooms where the teachers work defined three other subgroups in the
sample. The results suggest that the type of classroom where the teacher works does
not enact a strong influence on teachers’ assessment of their learning activities (p = .40,
η2 = .2%). The perceived level of preparedness for pedagogical knowledge items is
influenced by the type of classroom (p = .007, η2 = 1%), similarly to the judged importance of
those knowledge items (p = .011, η2 = .9%). In both cases those who teach in vocational
schools only had higher mean values. Although the effect sizes were small, it is
interesting to see which knowledge items were judged differently in the three subgroups.
The level of preparation for teaching was judged with significant variation in the
following knowledge components: pedagogical characteristics of vocational practical
training, familiarity with the pedagogy of a proactive lifestyle, awareness of
experiencecentered vocational practical training, awareness of the importance of personal role
modeling, knowing the characteristics of the X, Y and Z generations, knowing how to
search for information on the internet, knowing the importance of video tutorials
available on the internet, differentiation between visual and verbal learners.
In all eight items, those teachers who work in vocational classrooms only (and not
in secondary vocational classrooms) displayed higher mean values, meaning that they
felt their preparation for the teaching profession had been more appropriate. There
were significant differences between the teachers’ groups in connection with the judged
importance of four knowledge items: knowing the role of self-determination when
working, knowing how to foster self-controlling responsibility, knowing the openness
of self-development in a profession, knowing the importance of video tutorials available
on the internet. Those who work in vocational secondary classrooms only judged the
importance of these four pedagogical knowledge items less favorably than the other two
There were no significant between-group differences in connection to the third part of
the questionnaire, i.e. the efficiency and usage of information sources were judged
similarly (p = .33 and .14).
Discussion and conclusions
Highlights of the results
The results of this study provided direct indications concerning the relative weaknesses
vocational education teachers feel they possess in their professional knowledge. To
summarize, these educators feel they are not sufficiently prepared for using video tutorials
or dealing with problems stemming from the usage of ICT tools by younger generations.
Participating teachers did not know much about leading a proactive style, even though
this knowledge item is explicitly contained in the legal documents prescribing teacher
Other parts of the questionnaire dealt with possible sources for gathering
information in the interest of increasing professional development. As the questionnaire results
revealed, much potential for further improvement remains in how efficient
teachers consider conferences or participation in research projects to be in deepening their
knowledge. Educational policy and research can help in emphasizing the importance
of being involved in research projects; why vocational teachers feel they do not benefit
much from attending conferences is a question for further investigation. The rare use of
different information sources may in part explain the poor rating of efficiency, and vice
versa. Interestingly enough, the Internet is not widely used among vocational education
teachers, yet they still consider this an efficient information source.
The differences among different groups of vocational education teachers according to
gender, career level and school type were significant in several cases, in spite of the fact
that these significant differences are in great part due to the large sample size. The
significant differences revealed by the influence enacted by the career level of teachers are
easily interpreted in terms of growing experience and the level of motivation. In the case of
gender- or school-type-related categories, the differences are relatively small for drawing
any conclusions upon which decision-making could be based.
This study formed the first large-sample investigation within the population of
vocational education teachers in Hungary. The results summarized in this paper may
therefore form a crucial baseline for evaluating the efficacy of future innovations and
experiments. Internationally, the questionnaire used in our research can be adopted to
other languages and educational system with relative ease, thus broadening the
experiences and results gathered in reference to the views held by teachers working in the field
of vocational education.
Not surprisingly, the validity of the questionnaire used in this study raises similar
questions to those experienced in Likert-scale close-question format questionnaires in
general; this aspect therefore requires no further analysis here. It must be mentioned,
however, that a second aspect—one related to the interpretation of the subscales—does
deserve a note of criticism. We naturally do not claim that the labels of the five subscales
fully describe the kinds of psychological constructs we were aiming to measure and
accept that these labels may be open to different interpretations. At the same time, in
light of the fact that reliability can be assumed, we do claim that each subscale measures
something worthy of evaluation and—according to the authors’ opinion—the presently
applied interpretations of these subscales are meaningful.
One crucial factor must be considered to attain the generalizability of our results. The
definition of VET varies from country to country
(Volmari et al. 2009)
; selecting a
population in another country to which the current results may be comparable therefore
require sampling considerations be made in each country.
With this explorative study our research team developed a ready-to-use assessment
tool for conducting further surveys and interventions. As a result, either the results of
future interventions or the gains any educational reform may garner can be monitored,
detected and evidenced via a reliable and valid means of evaluation. It is our belief that
the questionnaire developed as a part of this research as well as the results obtained will
serve both the renewal of Hungary’s national educational system and the international
discourse regarding the field’s mutual endeavor to examine the views held by vocational
education teachers. Further research can make use of the questionnaire as a manifest
variable of either a dependent or an independent factor of educational research. The
results relayed in this paper comprise a source of the base values necessary for drawing
comparisons to the results found in other countries or during later, local outcomes.
The basic research idea was developed by OK. The analysis of the theoretical background and the development of the
questionnaire was done by CC, ZK and OK. Sampling and primary data analysis was done by CC. The interpretation of the
results is a joint effort of CC, ZK and OK. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
1 Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Primary and Pre-School Education, ELTE, Budapest, Hungary. 2 Faculty of
Education and Psychology, Budapest, Hungary.
We wish to express the lack of any interest that might be interpreted as influencing the research.
Availability of data and materials
The data are saved in SPSS.sav format, and the questionnaires in Hungarian are available in Word.doc format. We can
send them to members of the scientific discourse community upon request.
Consent for publication
All the three co-authors gave their consent for publication in written form.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
In Hungary, educational research can be conducted with volunteering consent from participants and without any
further ethical approval from either a state or university committee. We followed the APA ethical standards.
This research was supported by the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning (Project NFA
KA 5/2014). Special thanks are due to Maya J. Lo Bello for her comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
8/2013 Decree of the Ministry of Economics of 6 March 2013 [ 8/2013 (III. 6 .)] [NGM rendelet a nemzetgazdasági miniszter hatáskörébe tartozó szakképesítések mestervizsga követelményeiről]
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