Conference Paper on ‘Human Resource Management’: Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference, Publisher ‘Science and Economics,’ Economic University – Varna, 2023.

Work Mastery and Goal-Setting Skills. How Are Bulgarian Students Doing?

Abstract: This paper makes the rationale for including direct measures of soft skills, in addition to students’ academic performance, to the success criteria of an educational system in the context of the hybridization of skills required by the professions of the future. Two soft skills among 15-year-old students in Bulgaria in 2018 that are important for their later success in the labour market are investigated: 1. work mastery and 2. mastery goal orientation (in relation to the learning process). Operational definitions of the skills are presented. Conclusions are drawn on these skills’ performance of Bulgarian students in a global context. Some conclusions are drawn about the necessary course of educational policies in secondary education. Microdata from the 2018 PISA survey, which was conducted in Bulgaria and 78 other countries, are used.

Students’ Mastery Goal Orientation, Academic Achievement and Education-to-Employment Transition Attitudes. Evidence from 30 countries

Abstract: The aim of the study is to seek an answer to the question of whether it is justified to introduce the construct of mastery goal orientation into the discussion of soft skills standards in education in terms of its relevance to students’ success in school and to youths’ education-to-work transitions, thereby becoming a prerequisite for social inequalities mitigation. Methods: The analysis is done in two stages. In the first stage multilevel binary regressions with PISA 2018 microdata in 30 countries are applied to model the relationship between the predictors (mastery goal orientation, social status, academic achievement, self-efficacy and attitudes towards school and learning) and the outcome variables education-to-employment transition attitudes. In the second stage descriptive comparative analysis for 19 countries is done to explore the relation between academic achievement, mastery goal and actual education-to-employment transition regimes. Results: Modelling confirm that, at the individual level, lower social background predicts shorter school-to-work transitions attitudes, as well as transition avoidance attitudes, while higher social status is associated with attitudes towards longer career transitions. Mastery goal orientation in its role as a disposition contributes to attitudes toward extended education-to-employment transitions that go through obtaining a higher degree, thus moderating the impact of social status on attitudes toward transition. Furthermore, mastery goal orientation is found to inhibit the emergence of an attitude toward short transitions and avoidance of transitions. Mastery goal orientation has the strongest associations compared to the other predictors in the models with the transition attitudes. The observations provide reasons at least to introduce the mastery goal orientation into the discussion about standards in education. Further research is needed to validate how attitudes towards transitions translate into actual transition regimes and what is the role of mastery goal orientation along with social status and educational attainment in this process.