Qualifications and credentialism
: personal fulfilment or a paper chase?

  • Erik Hendrik Van'T Hag

    Student thesis: Other thesis - CDU


    The maJor aims of this study were to investigate why students pursue credentials and to establish the importance they attached to the attainment of such credentials.

    Seventy nme students from three different year levels in the adult and vocational teacher education programs at a small regional university participated in the study. Structured questionnaires were administered to three different year levels to determine why students undertake a course of study.

    The research findings showed that students undertook courses of study for many reasons to which they attached varying degrees of importance. Two broad motivational categories emerged. The predominant category was that of instrumental motivational orientation, with members being career oriented and doing what was required to obtain the credential. The other category comprised members with an expressive motivational orientation which was related to personal development and learning for its own sake.

    Upon highlighting the two distinct motivational categories the researcher further hypothesised that students from these two groups would place different values on the credentials gained. This was followed up by conducting interviews with a small group of students from each motivational category. While there was some agreement between the two groups for several statements provided, distinct differences of opm10ns were also found. Differences such as skills required to perform at a satisfactory level in a job equating with qualifications required and whether employers gauge employees' qualifications as attributes worth paymg for were two areas where the opinions from the two motivational groups differed greatly.

    The study concludes with recommendations related to the conduct of higher education programs for adult and vocational teacher education students.

    Date of Award1994
    Original languageEnglish

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