Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce A. Gutknecht

Second Advisor

Dr. David Fenner

Third Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones


The central focus of the present study was to examine the relationship between student personal factors (i.e., gender, race, academic performance, career awareness, and socio-economic factors) and the perceptions of secondary school students regarding vocational education. In recent years, traditional vocational programs have not done well throughout the nation. Enrollment within vocational education has dropped to approximately 10%, while enrollment in college preparation courses has increased to over 50%.

The subjects of this study were secondary school students enrolled in the Duval County Public School system. The research was conducted using a two-part survey instrument containing 24 demographic questions and 76 questions related to vocational education. The survey instrument was subjected to content validity analysis by a panel of experts from various universities. Additionally, a validation panel, consisting of 12 vocational education teacher interns, critiqued the instrument.

This study was helpful in illuminating the contradictions in commonly held perceptions of vocational educators, guidance counselors, school administrators and political decision makers towards secondary students and their declining interest in vocational education. Five hypotheses were tested relative to the relationship between student personal factors and perceptions of vocational education. The five hypotheses sampled were statistically significant, and R squared values indicate that an appreciable amount of variation in perceptions can be accounted for by student background. Demographic factors are related to students' perceptions of vocational education, with socio-economic status most appreciable among the several predictors.

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