According to Mann, Harmoni and Power, individuals characteristically make their preliminary career-related decisions mainly during adolescence. This time in a young adult’s life can be very influential yet detrimental and such decisions regarding a career may have lifelong consequences for the individual’s vocational future, psychological well-being, health, and social acceptance (1989). Juvenile students often make decisions about their choice of high school and their high school elective courses.
Such choices affect the students’ educational and vocational opportunities down the road. Do these children truly know the implications from their decisions? How much do students truly know of the careers and what it takes to get there and even what it takes to be successful in that career? There has been a fair amount of research conducted on adolescents and their attempt to unearth their path in life. I noticed from the research that involved and caring parents and additional significant others obviously or subtly affect their children’s judgments.
Although some of the adolescents who are required to make these early career decisions do so with relative ease, many face troubles before or during the actual process of decision-making. These difficulties may lead them to attempt to transfer the responsibility for making the decision to someone else or to delay or even avoid making a decision. This then may eventually lead to a less than ideal decision, which can adversely affect their adult life. Finally, the stress involved in the decision making process may affect various aspects of the adolescents’ daily life.
For adolescents, who are trying to clarify and consolidate their world, the skill of decision-making is central in with various situations (Scott, Reppucci, & Woolard 1995). Indeed, Taveira, Silva, Rodriguez, and Maia found that adolescents reported that fairly high levels of stress were associated with career exploration and decision-making activities in general (1998). On the other hand, a certain degree of decision-specific affective distress among adolescents can also be adaptive because it increases their motivation to seek help and thus decreases the chances for poor or ill-informed decisions (Larson & Majors, 1998).
To assist students in making career decisions, school counselors and educators alike must uncover the difficulties the adolescents face and provide them with guidance on how to overcome, or at least minimize, these difficulties. The goal of this study is to characterize and categorize the different types of career-related decision-making difficulties faced by students as well as pinpoint the areas students are lacking in education and provide appropriate supplemental reading, materials and counseling to adequately prepare them regardless of the path they choose.
The location of this study will be conducted in an area that is lacking greatly in adults understanding education and its importance. The aim of this study is to identify the areas students need to understand in order to adequately prepare for their futures after high school. It is my expectation to commence to link the gap between these thoughts and results to better meet the needs of students across all grades and schools internationally. Student achievement after secondary education should be the aim of all educators and parents globally, otherwise students cannot further their lives after the confines of school.
Proposal The specific research question to be investigated is, “Do students know and understand the path from high school to their career goals? ” The following hypothesis will be tested using the proposed methodology explained below, “Students in high school are misinformed of the requirements and needs of starting the journey towards their career goals, guidance and supplemental education is needed. ” The institutional review board will approve this study for human subjects at The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.
Proposed Methodology: This study will take place at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi of northeast Mississippi. The participants are of all ages, grades and backgrounds in the local high school; demographic, religious, family, socioeconomic, educational and literacy characteristics will be collected. Parents of these students provided informed consent for their children to participate in the study, and students provided assent. This study will similarly follow the experimental design of Sei Isomine,(2015).
Before the actual interviews were conducted, interview protocols were constructed and developed to ensure that all respondents would be exposed to the identical set of questions. The procedures were then reviewed under the Human Subject Policies of the institution and were approved. The interviews took place in one-one-one, in-person style at the Aberdeen High School, and the questions were verbally read from the protocols by the interviewer. Students utilized were randomly selected from a list of all students of each grade, so as to reduce bias from students who are more willing and interested in furthering their education after high school.
The answers of the respondents were recorded with an audio recorder, with the permission given by each respondent prior to the interview. If students did not understand the question asked, the interviewer could paraphrase or simplify the question asked. The interviewer also hand recorded various notes and pertinent responses on a pad of paper for analysis later. Interview questions:
1. What interests, conditions, or rewards do you think will be most important to you in a career? 2. Which academic subjects interest you most? 3. What are your five greatest personal or social strengths? . What are your two greatest academic strengths? 5. Which general career areas or Career Clusters® most interest you? (utilize pamphlet with the following careers: o Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources o Architecture and Construction o Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications o Business, Management, and Administration o Education and Training o Finance o Government and Public Administration o Health Science o Hospitality and Tourism o Human Services o Information Technology o Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security o Manufacturing Marketing o Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics o Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
6. What kind of training or education does a person need for this job? What are the skills needed for this job? 7. What kinds of grades do different colleges require? 8. Are there any college fairs at this school, or nearby? 9. Can I see my transcript as it stands now, to see if everything is as I think it should be? 10. What forms do I use to apply for financial aid and where I can find them online?
Interview Analyses: Interview questions were divided into four main categories: personal interests, personal qualities, career specifics and college pursuit needs. Consequently, the responses will be summarized and clustered by patterns and trends observed from the various respondents over the duration of the interview days, though they are not statistically analyzed or tested for their validity. Demographic variables will be reported as means plus or minus the standard deviation for continuous variables (i. e. age, grade level, patterns in responses) and percentages for variables such as ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
The analysis of the responses will look to answer the questions regarding the students of Aberdeen High School and their knowledge to adequately prepare them for their career goals regardless of the path they choose. Categories will be based off of student responses but the prediction will be to have responses be part of each of the following: 1. Unaware of the requirements and needs for career choice 2. Partially aware of the requirements and needs for career choice and 3. Fully aware of the requirements and needs for career choice. Key vocabulary words will be noted and tallied to aid in appropriate categorizing of responses.