Indicators of successful transitions: Teenage attitudes and experiences related to the world of work

By Anthony Mann, Elnaz T. Kashefpakdel and Jordan Rehill


Read the full report.



This study aims to harness insights from UK longitudinal studies to help careers professionals and other school teaching staff identify and prioritise pupils who require greater levels of careers provision as they approach key decision making points.

Comprised of a questionnaire and scoring system, the toolkit has been designed to be comprehensive – relevant to students at all attainment levels – by making use of robust UK longitudinal data which compares students of similar characteristics (for example, socio-economic background, geographical area, attainment levels) to identify which factors which make a difference to economic outcomes (earnings and and employment) in later life.

Importantly, the study identifies attitudes and experiences (we term them ‘indicators’) which schools can influence in order to better prepare their young people for adult working life. The approach adopted is primarily designed to allow schools to identify students requiring greater levels of support to help them become well prepared.


This study has been kindly supported by the Commercial Education Trust


Watch a short video explaining why we conducted the research, and what we found.

Questionnaire and Scoring System

Based on these ‘indicators’ the research team devised a short questionnaire of 13 questions split between four sections. Each section was designed to be scored and evaluated individually, as each related to a different area that a young person needs to consider when preparing for the working world. It was intended that this would allow schools staff to come to an overall view on the preparedness of a young person and to identify particular areas where a student may need more targeted guidance. For example, where a young person needs to attend more career talks.

The team also developed a scoring system to be used by schools staff. The scoring system reflects the effect sizes (in terms of wage premiums or reduced likelihood of being NEET) found in each individual longitudinal study used. For example, in the research team’s analysis teenagers, who spoke to teachers about their future studies at least once inside of lessons were 24% less likely to be NEET (on the day of the survey) at age 19/20 and outside of lessons were 13% less likely to be NEET. If a student had spoken to teachers about what they plan to next in terms of education the student would be awarded a score of 5, as the effect size is above 11%.


An initial questionnaire and scoring schedule was distributed to six schools which undertook a trial with 788 students in classes between Year 9 and Year 11. In this pilot, experience school staff were asked to explore the effectiveness of the indicators as a tool for identifying students (at all levels of achievement) requiring greater attention and determining the quality of events undertaken by students. In addition, respondents were asked for feedback on the detail of the questionnaire and how it could be most practically used I schools.



Feedback from schools proved to be positive.

  • All schools felt the questionnaire and scoring system enabled staff to identify and prioritise young people requiring greater support.
  • 5 out of the 6 school/college staff that used the indicators tool expressed a desire to use the it in their schools if it became available in the future
  • 4 of the 6 practitioners thought the indicators would also be useful if used as a before and after test, to help assess whether a career intervention has actually worked.
  • The indicators were found to be particularly useful for those in year 11, but had more limited use amongst the year 9 respondents in this sample. Practitioners highlighted that this may be due to the patterned nature of careers guidance provision in UK schools, with many careers programmes begin in earnest as students begin year 11


Read the full report.


Get involved in the next phase of the trial

Step one: Read the guidance

Before you begin using the questionnaire it is important to understand how to interpret the responses. The guidance document provides an overview of each section, as well as a number of useful tips on scoring the questionnaire and providing the correct feedback.

Download the guidance for educators.


Step two: Download the questionnaire and scoring system

Schools should then download the questionnaire which will need to be filled out by students. The questionnaire is made up of 13 questions split between four sections. Each section was designed to be scored and evaluated individually, as each related to a different area that a young person needs to consider when preparing for the working world.

Download the Indicators questionnaire.

Schools should also download the scoring system to mark and interpret the questionnaire.

Download the Indicators scoring system.


Step three: Tell us about your experience of using the toolkit

Your views are incredibly important to us. Please let us know what you think after using the toolkit by submitting your views via our online survey (it should take no longer than 5 minutes). The feedback will allow us to keep improving the questionnaire to make it more beneficial to schools.

Use this link to share your views with us:



Please get in contact with Jordan ( for further advice on using the questionnaire, scoring system or any of the attached documentation