Year of Publication

1996

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Drummond

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine Kasten

Third Advisor

Dr. Yiping Wan

Abstract

The study examined the relations of social-environmental characteristics of families and demographic variables on career decision/indecision of 425 secondary Tech Prep students in North Florida. Career decision/indecision was the dependent variable, measured by the Career Decision Scale (Osipow, Carney, Winer, Yanico, & Koschier, 1987). Predictor independent variables included social-environmental characteristics of families as measured by the Family Environment Scale (Moos & Moos, 1981). Other predictor independent variables included academic achievement (reading comprehension and mathematics)' gender, economic disadvantage and race.

No significant mean differences were found by gender and by grade of Tech Prep students on the Certainty Scale or the Indecision Scale of the Career Decision Scale. There was no significant interaction between gender and grade level of Tech Prep students. The means indicated a middle range of certainty and a middle range of indecision. The expectation that the sample group of Tech Prep students would be more career decided by virtue of their selection of Tech Prep programs was not supported. It can not be known if without their Tech Prep participation, these students would have been in a lower range of career certainty. The lack of significant differences by grade of Tech Prep students on the Certainty Scale and Indecision Scale gives rise to the concern that 12th-grade students are no more prepared than 11th-grade students to follow specific plans for their future careers.

The means of the students on the subscales of the Family Environment Scale indicated the highest mean on the subscale of Moral- Religious Emphasis and lowest mean on the subscale Intellectual-Cultural Orientation. The students' scores on the Family Environment Scale were in the middle range.

The profile of demographic variables was as follows. The Reading Comprehension normal curve equivalent scores (NCE) was 51.21 for the 11th-grade and 12th-grade Tech Prep students. The Mathematics mean NCE score was 50.95 for the students. The mean scores of students in this study were in the average range. These scores are not unexpected in that students in Tech Prep are recruited most heavily from the general education track. However, the Tech Prep benefit of higher level academic courses is not clearly indicated in these average GTAT scores.

The total sample was 66.8% female and 33.2% male. The total sample was 76.2% White, 20.0% African American and 3.7% other. More than 70% of the sample either did not qualify or did not apply for free or reduced lunch, and could not, therefore, be classified as economic disadvantaged. Tabulation of gender, racial and economic distribution for Tech Prep students in Florida is needed.

Stepwise multiple regression analyses were used to explore the predictive ability of demographic variables on career decision/indecision and to explore the predictive ability of the ten subscales of the Family Environment Scale on career decision/indecision.

There were similarities in the predictor demographic variables in the prediction formula for career certainty and career indecision. Regarding the predictive ability of the demographic variables on Career Certainty Scores, a multiple R of .26 was computed and accounted for 6.5% of the variance. Race entered on the first step, correlated .20 with Career Certainty and accounted for 4.4% of the variance. White students had a slight tendency to be more certain regarding career decision-making. The relations of culture-specific variables of racial minorities on career decision/indecision was not examined in this study. All tests are, at least to some extent, culture-bound. Therefore, test scores by minorities can be negatively affected by White, middle class cultural contexts. Reading Comprehension was loaded on the second step and contributed 2.1 % additional variance. Reading Comprehension correlated -.16 with Certainty. Students with higher reading scores tended to be slightly less certain of their career decisions. This study did not examine realism of career decisions. This study also did not examine the appropriateness of career choice with aptitude or achievement levels.

Regarding the predictive ability of the demographic variables on Career Indecision Scores, a multiple R of .21 was computed and accounted for 4.6% of the variance. The Mathematics Scores correlated .12 with Indecision Scores and accounted for 1.2% of the variance. Race contributed an additional 1.7% of the variance. Class (grade) contributed 1.6% additional variance. African American students and 11th-grade students had a very slight tendency to be less sure of their career decisions.

There were similarities in the predictor variables in the prediction formula for career certainty and career indecision. Race contributed a significant amount of the variance in predicting career certainty and career indecision. There was a tendency for African American Tech Prep students to have more indecision and less certainty than White Tech Prep students. Cognitive variables contributed a significant amount of the variance. GTAT Reading Comprehension scores predicted career certainty while Mathematics scores were the variables predicting career indecision.

Regarding the predictive ability of the ten subscales of the Family Environment Scale on Career Certainty Scores, a multiple R of .273 was computed and accounted for 7.46% of the variance. Intellectual-Cultural Orientation contributed 5.37% of the variance and correlated .23 with Certainty. Achievement Orientation contributed 2.1 % unique variance. Achievement Orientation correlated .17 with Certainty. Both the Achievement Orientation and Intellectual-Cultural Orientation scales were subscales measuring Personal Growth Dimensions.

Regarding the predictive ability of the ten subscales of the Family Environment Scale on Career Indecision Scores, Intellectual-Cultural Orientation correlated -.212 with Career Indecision and accounted for 4.5% of the variance. Therefore, only one of the ten subscales of the Family Environment Scale accounted for variance regarding career indecision. The mirror image indicated higher scores on the Intellectual-Cultural Orientation subscale predicted career certainty and lower scores on Intellectual-Cultural Orientation predicted indecision.

The results of this study provided limited support for the predictive ability of demographic variables and family subscales on career certainty and career indecision. Clearly, a deeper and boarder understanding of the processes involved in adolescent career decision-making is needed.

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