The presented work is the result of a survey conducted over the last 4 years (from the academic year 2013-14 to 2016-17) at the University of Catania (Italy), through the submission of a semi-structured questionnaire to students who have completed the mandatory internship required by the Degree Course in Pedagogical Sciences. Actually, the internship appears fundamental to facilitate the knowledge of the related public, private and non-profit employers and so to support the passage from university to graduate labor market, particularly for non-traditional students, who have got lower economic, cultural and/or social capital than others.
The 110 items of the survey (of which 5 in open response) are divided into 5 areas of exploration: motivation and experience; relationships in the context of work; type of training received and learning level attributed to the activities carried out; past competences; achievements in terms of skills, knowledge and personal satisfaction. This questionnaire represents one of the main tools for monitoring the internship activities provided by the aforesaid degree course to orient itself in the search for a continuous improvement of the learning offer and it is focused on an approach that aims to recognize the subjectivity of the evaluation processes, their situated nature and the role of the evaluated subjects, in a perspective that watches evaluation as recognition of value rather than as simple reporting or, worse, as barren accountability.
Data analysis, conducted using qualitative and quantitative techniques can be summarized in three points that represent the principal emerging issues:
1. the disciplinary content offered by university, which should not be too detached from empirical aspects of professionalism;
2. the methodology of university teaching, which is reported to be too theoretical;
3. the climate of the working environment, the professionalism of the host staff and the quality of their relationships with the trainees, with particular reference to the internship tutors, whose contribution seems to play a key role in students' evaluation on their outcomes.
Carrying out this contribution, the survey data will be further analyzed by isolating non-traditional students, to be understood, in this case, as those students taking longer than expected to graduate, so as to reflect, in line with the aims of the congress, about the similarities and differences between their views and that ones of the students with regular times of completion. Specifically, we will try to highlight the key components for a satisfying experience and the difficulties and limitations detected by the 30 non-traditional students involved in the research, verifying or refuting the aforementioned general results of the 110 trainees participating in the research.