Student Perspectives on Leaving School, Pathways, and Careers

Publication Details

Competent Children, Competent Learners is a longitudinal study which began in 1993 and follows the progress of a sample of around 500 New Zealand young people from early childhood education through schooling and beyond. This report focuses on what students at age 16 thought about leaving school, what their biggest concerns and most anticipated opportunities were, what they saw as the most likely barriers to having the kind of life they wanted, how they envisaged spending their first year out of school, what their occupational aspirations, connections, influences, and motivations were and what the idea of “career” meant to them.

Author(s): Karen Vaughan, New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Date Published: May 2008

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view the individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Competent Learners @ 16 is the seventh phase of the Competent Children, Competent Learners longitudinal study.


We are very grateful for the continued involvement of the study's participants, their parents, and teachers, which has enabled us to continue learning about young people's educational development.

The Ministry of Education's continued funding and support has also been vital to the continuation of this project.

We thank the fieldworker co-ordinators, Cathy Lythe and Tineke Fijn, working with a great team of fieldworkers: Marion Bayne, Clare Falkner, Betty Irons, Lorraine McKay, Averill Manning, Patricia Meagher-Lundberg, Chloe Parton, Marilyn Weir, Anna Wildey, Brigid Wilkinson, and Kath Wood.

Thanks also to Denise Falloon for data entry, Shelley Carlyle for proof-reading, Magdalene Lin for editing updates, and Christine Williams and Joanne Edgecombe for formatting this report.

The project advisory group has been very helpful in our instrument design. We are particularly grateful to Sharon Cox, Heleen Visser, and Lynne Whitney from the Research Division of the Ministry of Education. We also thank Robyn Baker and Rose Hipkins for their reviews of drafts of this report.

The NZCER research team working on the age-16 phase comprises Cathy Wylie, Edith Hodgen, Rose Hipkins, Karen Vaughan, and Sally Boyd.

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