Testing the relationships between self-perceptions of academic competence and career goal-setting with a sample of SEN students: The mediating role of meaning in life

Kuen Fung SIN, Lan YANG, Fengzhan GAO, Han BAO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Starting from the 2014/2015 school year, the Hong Kong Government has provided about HKD500,000 to secondary schools to facilitate school-based implementation of career planning education. It is anticipated that career planning education would produce positive effects on students’ career planning and lifelong learning. However, in a recent survey on career by Hong Kong Clerical and Professional Employees General Union (HKCPEG, 2017) with a sample of 1006 secondary students, the results showed that nearly 40% of students reported they are lack of career goals and feel uncertain about meaning in life. The present study extended existing research to students with special educational needs (SEN) in Hong Kong. The focus was on testing the relationships between SEN students’ perceived academic competence across school subjects and their setting of career goals. Students’ self-reported meaning in life was also assessed and tested as a mediator between academic competence and career goal-setting. Participants were 207 students across ten SEN types from ten secondary schools. The results showed meaning in life is a stronger predictor (β=.47) of SEN students’ career goal-setting controlling for academic competence (β=.28). In addition, based on this data set from SEN students, 38% variance of career goal-setting can be explained by meaning in life and academic competence. A partial mediating role of meaning in life was also found between academic competence and career goal-setting. Taking account of the recent study by HKCPEG (2017), findings of this study call for much more attention to presence of meaning in life among students. Apart from enhancing students’ academic performance and academic competence in schooling, researchers and practitioners need to know more about what makes students’ life meaningful to help effective designs of interventions targeting at helping students set career goals and generate rich meanings of life. Copyright © 2017 The Inclusive Education Summit.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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special educational needs
self-image
career
student
career planning
Hong Kong
secondary school
school
meaning of life
lifelong learning
education

Citation

Sin, K. F., Yang, L., Gao, F., & Bao, H. (2017, October). Testing the relationships between self-perceptions of academic competence and career goal-setting with a sample of SEN students: The mediating role of meaning in life. Paper presented at The Inclusive Education Summit 2017, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.