Factors influencing high school students' career aspirations.
This article explores the factors influencing high school students" career aspirations aspirations npl → aspiraciones fpl (= ambition); ambición f
aspirations npl (= hopes, ambition) → aspirations fpl with a study analyzing 141 high school students. The Social Cognitive Career Development Model was utilized to examine the interactive relationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choices. The results of a structural equation modeling Structural equation modeling (SEM) is a statistical technique for testing and estimating causal relationships using a combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions. analysis supported the mediating role of career self-efficacy in the career decision-making process, but the specific paths among the predicting variables to career aspirations were found to be different for female and male high school students. Implications for school counselors A school counselor is a counselor and educator who works in schools, and have historically been referred to as "guidance counselors" or "educational counselors," although "Professional School Counselor" is now the preferred term. to provide more effective career intervention programs are discussed.
One of the tasks of high school students is to explore and plan for their postsecondary career options. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Super's (1990) developmental theory of career development, high school students are at the exploration stage of career development, which involves crystallizing and specifying their occupational preferences, while also making preliminary decisions about their career choice. To assist students' career development, the national standards of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA ASCA American School Counselor Association
ASCA Australian Shepherd Club of America
ASCA Arab Society of Certified Accountants
ASCA American Swimming Coaches Association
ASCA American Society of Consulting Arborists
ASCA Association of State Correctional Administrators , 1997) thus require that students have competence in career decision-making. School counselors play a vital role in facilitating students' career development in K-12 settings, particularly at the high school level, because high school students are more actively engaged in planning and implementing their postsecondary career options. To better accomplish the mission of helping students achieve their educational and career goals in today's social, economic, and cultural context, school counselors need to be adequately informed about what factors influence high school students' career choices and what approaches would best facilitate their career decision-making process.
SOCIAL COGNITIVE CAREER DEVELOPMENT THEORY
One comprehensive and dynamic career theory that incorporates many aspects of career development is the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT SCCT Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (game)
SCCT Suez Canal Container Terminal
SCCT Sioux City Community Theatre ; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). The SCCT was derived from Bandura's (1977, 1986, 1997) Social Cognitive Theory Social Cognitive Theory utilized both in Psychology and Communications posits that portions of an individual's knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. , which stressed the importance of self-efficacy in one's choice of behavior. According to Bandura ban`dur´a
n. 1. A traditional Ukrainian stringed musical instrument shaped like a lute, having many strings. (1986), individuals choose to engage in or avoid a specific task based on their self-judgment of their competency COMPETENCY, evidence. The legal fitness or ability of a witness to be heard on the trial of a cause. This term is also applied to written or other evidence which may be legally given on such trial, as, depositions, letters, account-books, and the like.
2. in accomplishing the task. Therefore, self-efficacy is task- or domain-specific confidence. Bandura also stated that four factors influence one's self-efficacy: verbal persuasion PERSUASION. The act of influencing by expostulation or request. While the persuasion is confined within those limits which leave the mind free, it may be used to induce another to make his will, or even to make it in his own favor; but if such persuasion should so far operate on the mind , vicarious vicarious /vi·car·i·ous/ (vi-kar´e-us)
1. acting in the place of another or of something else.
2. occurring at an abnormal site.
1. learning, task performance, and physiological physiological /phys·i·o·log·i·cal/ (-loj´i-kal) pertaining to physiology; normal; not pathologic.
phys·i·o·log·i·cal or phys·i·o·log·ic
adj. Abbr. phys.
1. arousal arousal /arous·al/ (ah-rou´z'l)
1. a state of responsiveness to sensory stimulation or excitability.
2. the act or state of waking from or as if from sleep.
3. . Among the four, task performance--actual trial of the task--is the most powerful influencing factor.
The SCCT (Lent et al., 1994) proposes that career choice behavior is shaped by outcome expectancies, career interests, and career self-efficacy, and that career self-efficacy plays a mediating role between one's background and interests and one's outcome expectancies. Moreover, career self-efficacy is influenced both by individual variants (i.e., predispositions, gender, race/ethnicity, health status) and by contextual factors such as family background and learning experiences. The theory emphasizes the interactive influence of contextual factors and cognitive person variables on individual career development (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). In this career development model, one's background (or contextual factors) and individual characteristics would influence one's learning experiences and, consequently, self-efficacy. Self-efficacy then would influence one's interests and outcome expectations, which eventually would influence one's career choice.
Lent et al. (2000) further asserted that objective and perceived aspects of the environment may have direct and moderating effects on career decision-making. Examples of objective environmental factors are the quality of educational experiences and the financial support available to individuals, whereas an example of perceived environmental factors is individuals' reaction to and interpretation of their surrounding environment (i.e., whether they view their environment as a source of support or barriers).
The mediating role of self-efficacy among background and interests, outcome expectations, and career choices in relation to career development has been supported by previous research (Betz, 1993, 1999; Lent & Brown, 2002). Lent, Brown, Schmidt, et al. (2003) found that environmental factors influence career choice only through their impact on self-efficacy. Similarly, Lent, Brown, Nota, and Soresi (2003) found that perceived social support and barriers significantly affected self-efficacy and indirectly had an effect on career choice through changes in self-efficacy.
Regarding the impact of objective background factors on self-efficacy and career choice, Nauta and Epperson (2003) found in a longitudinal study longitudinal study
a chronological study in epidemiology which attempts to establish a relationship between an antecedent cause and a subsequent effect. See also cohort study. that years in school and the number of science and math courses taken in high school were positively related to the choice of science and math as Mathematics courses named Math A, Maths A, and similar are found in:
The tenets of the SCCT focusing on the interrelationship in·ter·re·late
tr. & intr.v. in·ter·re·lat·ed, in·ter·re·lat·ing, in·ter·re·lates
To place in or come into mutual relationship.
in of one's personal characteristics, environmental support, and career interests and decisions have been found applicable to various populations by many studies (Bregman & Killen, 1999; Caldera caldera: see crater.
Large, bowl-shaped volcanic depression that forms when the top of a volcanic cone collapses into the space left after magma is ejected during a violent volcanic eruption. The term is Spanish for “caldron. , Robitschek, Frame, & Pannell, 2003; Flores Flores, town, Guatemala
Flores (flōrəs), town (1990 est. pop. 2,200), capital of Petén department, N Guatemala. Flores was built on an island in the southern part of Lake Petén Itzá and on the site of the & O'Brien, 2002; Fouad & Smith, 1996; Gainor & Lent, 1998; Gore & Leuwerke, 2000; Lent, Brown, Nota, et al., 2003; Rivera, 2002; Rottinghaus et al., 2002; Tang tang, in zoology
tang: see butterfly fish. , Fouad, & Smith, 1999; Turner & Lapan, 2002). However, few studies have been conducted to examine possible gender differences in factors related to the SCCT model among the high school population. Nonetheless, Byars and Hackett (1998) suggested that gender influences may affect career self-efficacy and outcome expectations and also impact career choice and adjustment.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN CAREER DEVELOPMENT
By age 13 to 14, adolescents have developed two cognitive competencies related to career development: self-concept and perceptions about occupations (Gottfredson, 2005). During adolescence adolescence, time of life from onset of puberty to full adulthood. The exact period of adolescence, which varies from person to person, falls approximately between the ages 12 and 20 and encompasses both physiological and psychological changes. , students also have achieved an adult-level understanding of the sex type and prestige level of common occupations. Gottfredson argued that adolescents start to eliminate occupational choices based on sex types and prestige levels. For example, female students might avoid choosing occupations that are generally perceived as too masculine MASCULINE. That which belongs to the male sex.
2. The masculine sometimes includes the feminine, vide an example under the article Man, and see also the articles Gender, Worthiest of blood; Poth. Intr. au titre 16, des Testamens et Donations Testamentaires, n. (e.g., a career as a miner) and also might consider eliminating choices that are perceived as low social prestige status (e.g., a career as a housemaid).
In their effort to explain why women were underrepresented un·der·rep·re·sent·ed
Insufficiently or inadequately represented: the underrepresented minority groups, ignored by the government. in science and math fields, Betz and Hackett (1981) argued that women avoid male-dominated occupations due to a lack of self-confidence in such occupations, and that this lack of confidence is rooted in a lack of encouragement, role models, or similar experiences in the field--the resources for self-efficacy proposed by Bandura (1977). Several studies have found that career self-efficacy beliefs are critical in the choices made by and the persistence (1) In a CRT, the time a phosphor dot remains illuminated after being energized. Long-persistence phosphors reduce flicker, but generate ghost-like images that linger on screen for a fraction of a second. of females entering into mathematical, scientific, and technological careers (Church, Teresa, Rosebrook, & Szendre, 1992; Smith-Weber, 1999; Zeldin & Pajares, 2000).
Thus, career self-efficacy is a significant factor for female students' career aspirations, particularly for non-female traditional occupations (Man, 2003; Post-Kammer & Smith, 1985; Rainey & Borders, 1997). Bonetr (1994) found that females had lower self-efficacy than males for male-dominated occupations, while males had lower self-efficacy for traditionally female occupations. Similarly, high school male students demonstrated higher self-efficacy for male-dominated professions than their female counterparts (Wiljanen, 1996). In addition, Japanese female students in two studies (Matsui, 1994; Matsui, Ikeda, & Ohnishi, 1989) also showed higher self-efficacy in female-dominated occupations but lower self-efficacy in male-dominated occupations. Interestingly, Kelly (1993) found that gifted female high school students had higher self-efficacy in male-dominated careers but no difference in efficacy scores for sex-balanced occupations.
In regard to gender differences in other career development aspects, studies have shown that females have different career patterns than males (Krakauer & Chen, 2003), and females have been found to have higher scores on career commitment than men (Chung, 2002). Gender differences also have been found in six of John L. Holland's confidence levels (Betz & Gwilliam, 2002). Pertaining per·tain
intr.v. per·tained, per·tain·ing, per·tains
1. To have reference; relate: evidence that pertains to the accident.
2. to interests, females and males were found to have differences on Holland's six interest types as well (Ryan, Tracey, & Rounds, 1996). Gender differences in interests also were found on another classification system of interests, the "Data/Things" and "People/Ideas" dimensions, underlining un·der·lin·ing
1. The act of drawing a line under; underscoring.
2. Emphasis or stress, as in instruction or argument. Holland's RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising en·ter·pris·ing
Showing initiative and willingness to undertake new projects: The enterprising children opened a lemonade stand. , and Conventional) structure as proposed by Prediger (1982, 1999). Several studies have confirmed that there are gender differences on the Data/Things and People/Ideas dimensions and that females are inclined to fall on the people side of the People/Ideas dimension (Lippa, 1998; Tokar & Jome, 1998).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Thus far, the literature has recognized self-efficacy as a key factor in an individual's career development process, affecting career choice behavior jointly with contextual factors as well as personal attributes (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender). However, few studies examined whether the SCCT model is an appropriate vehicle for understanding high school students' career decision-making process or whether the interrelationships among the hypothesized SCCT factors differ across gender. Information about the SCCT's applicability in explaining high school students' career choice processes would be helpful for school counselors to design effective career intervention programs.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This study aimed to investigate high school students' career development processes by applying the SCCT model to examine the relationship among learning experience, gender, career self-efficacy, outcome expectation, vocational interests, and career aspiration aspiration /as·pi·ra·tion/ (as?pi-ra´shun)
1. the drawing of a foreign substance, such as the gastric contents, into the respiratory tract during inhalation.
2. (see the conceptual model in Figure 1). The specific research questions of the study were as follows: (a) Is the SCCT an appropriate model for explaining high school students' career aspirations? (b) Do learning experiences impact career choices among adolescents through their influence on career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and career interests? (c) Are the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice different across gender?
High school students (N = 141) from a Midwest suburban public school voluntarily participated in the study. The average age of the participants was 15.6 years with a standard deviation In statistics, the average amount a number varies from the average number in a series of numbers.
(statistics) standard deviation - (SD) A measure of the range of values in a set of numbers. of .63. Eighty-one female and 60 male students participated in the study. These students were freshmen and sophomores in a high school located in a middle-income to upper-middle-income neighborhood. The majority of the participants self-identified as Caucasian Americans (91.3%), with African Americans African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. (4.3%), Asian Americans This page is a list of Asian Americans. Politics
Instruments and Measurement
The demographic questionnaire had three sections. The first section inquired about the participants' age, gender, ethnicity ethnicity Vox populi Racial status–ie, African American, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic , and grade, as well as their parents' education and occupation. The other questions pertained to participants' paid work experiences. The second section included questions about family activities related to career awareness and exploration. For instance, the questionnaire items collected information on the kind of household chores the participants had done, the frequency of discussing career plans with their parents, whether the participants had observed their parents at work, and whether their parents had taken them on any work-related trips. The third section included questions related to school experiences, particularly focusing on career guidance. The participants responded to questions such as "Have you ever participated in any career guidance programs?"; "Has your school counselor helped you take any vocational assessments?"; and "How often have you taken any field trips with career exploration themes?"
All the questions related to career exploration activities were factor analyzed Verb 1. factor analyze - to perform a factor analysis of correlational data
analyse, analyze - break down into components or essential features; "analyze today's financial market" , and the factor scores from the results were summed to represent the learning experience variable. The factor score is a standardized standardized
pertaining to data that have been submitted to standardization procedures.
standardized morbidity rate
see morbidity rate.
standardized mortality rate
see mortality rate. score with M = 0 and SD = 1 theoretically. Therefore, the score for the learning experience variable is a summary score indicating the degree to which the participant was engaged in various career exploration activities. Higher scores indicate more extensive learning experiences.
Career interests were measured by the Self-Directed Search (SDS 1. (company) SDS - Scientific Data Systems.
2. (tool) SDS - Schema Definition Set. ; Holland, 1994). This widely used instrument is grounded in Holland's (1985) typology typology /ty·pol·o·gy/ (ti-pol´ah-je) the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type.
the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type. theory. Frequently referred to as the RIASEC model, Holland's theory maintains that there are six basic vocational types that correspond to six occupational environments: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C). The split-half reliability of the SDS is from .85 to .95 and the test-retest reliability test-retest reliability Psychology A measure of the ability of a psychologic testing instrument to yield the same result for a single Pt at 2 different test periods, which are closely spaced so that any variation detected reflects reliability of the instrument at a 4- to 12-week interval is from .76 to .89 (Ciechalski, 2002). Studies also indicated that the SDS possesses good predictive and concurrent validity concurrent validity,
n the degree to which results from one test agree with results from other, different tests. , with an overall 54% hit rate between the SDS and most other interest inventories (Holland, Fritzsche, & Powell, 1997).
Each participant obtained scores indicating their preferences in each of the six RIASEC areas. An exploratory factor analysis was performed to determine if the two dimensions of Data/Things versus People/Ideas (as proposed by Prediger, 1982, 1999) underlie the six career interest types. Two factors were derived. The first factor explained 33.3% of the variance and was composed of four career interest types--Realistic, Investigative, Conventional, and Enterprising (RICE)--with adequate factor loadings (all > .40). The second factor explained an additional 22.6% of the variance and was composed of the remaining two career interest types--Artistic and Social (AS)--with large factor loadings (both > .70). The factor structure was confirmed by a confirmatory factor analysis In statistics, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) is a special form of factor analysis. It is used to assess the the number of factors and the loadings of variables. . These two factor scores then were summarized to represent participants' interest scores. The score from the first factor indicated interests in Data/Things (consisting of RICE), and the score from the second factor indicated interests in People/Ideas (consisting of AS). The higher score in each factor indicated greater interest.
Career self-efficacy was defined operationally in this study as individuals' perception of their competence in career activities. It was measured by the section of the SDS that asked the participants to circle "yes" to the tasks that they believe they perform competently and "no" to the tasks that they do not think they can do well. The tasks were classified by the RIASEC types.
An exploratory factor analysis was performed to determine the number of underlying dimensions of the six career self-efficacy types. Similar to the career interest types, two factors emerged. Realistic, Investigative, Conventional, and Enterprising made up the first factor, explaining 35.6% of the variance, with large factor loadings (all > .60). Artistic and Social made up the second factor, explaining an additional 19.0% of the variance, with adequate factor loadings (both > .30). The factor structure was confirmed by a confirmatory factor analysis. The factor scores then were summarized to represent participants' career self-efficacy scores, with higher scores indicating greater career self-efficacy. To be consistent with the terminology used for the interests, the score from the first factor was named Self-Efficacy Data/Things (consisting of RICE), and the score from the second factor was named Self-Efficacy People/Ideas (consisting of AS).
Outcome expectation is the result that individuals expect their choice of occupation will bring them (Lent et al., 1994). For some individuals this expectation might mean fame or self-worth; for others it might mean financial support for the family. The measure of outcome expectation in this study was developed by the research team. The measure consisted of eight items (such as financial rewards and prestige) reflecting possible expected results for a given occupational choice. The participants needed to rate on a 3-point Likert scale Likert scale A subjective scoring system that allows a person being surveyed to quantify likes and preferences on a 5-point scale, with 1 being the least important, relevant, interesting, most ho-hum, or other, and 5 being most excellent, yeehah important, etc whether they expect little or much of each of the eight outcomes for their current career choice. The eight items concerning outcome expectation were factor analyzed to yield two factors: internal expectation (self-independence, helping others) and external expectation (reputation, social status). The two scores computed from the average of factor scores in each category indicate a participant's outcome expectation levels, with the higher score representing more expectation.
Career choice was measured by asking the participants to answer an open-ended question A closed-ended question is a form of question, which normally can be answered with a simple "yes/no" dichotomous question, a specific simple piece of information, or a selection from multiple choices (multiple-choice question), if one excludes such non-answer responses as dodging a , "What is your current career choice?" Each of the occupations reported by the participants was converted into Holland's (1994) occupational codes. Each career choice had a Holland code of three letters, for example, SAE sae abbr (BRIT) (= stamped addressed envelope) → sobre con las propias señas de uno y con sello for teachers. Then six dummy variables This article is not about "dummy variables" as that term is usually understood in mathematics. See free variables and bound variables.
In regression analysis, a dummy variable representing each of Holland's types (RIASEC) were created. For each participant's converted Holland's code, a number of 3 was assigned to the first letter, 2 to the second letter, and I to the third letter; 0 was assigned to the other letters that were not part of the code. For instance, "Teacher," coded as SAE on Holland's codes, had the following dummy Sham; make-believe; pretended; imitation. Person who serves in place of another, or who serves until the proper person is named or available to take his place (e.g., dummy corporate directors; dummy owners of real estate). coding: R= 0, I=0, A=2, S=3, E= 1, and C = 0. "Accountant," coded as CSI CSI Crime Scene Investigator
CSI CompuServe, Inc.
CSI Commodity Systems, Inc.
CSI Commodity Systems Inc. (Boca Raton, FL)
CSI Crime Scene Investigation (CBS TV show)
CSI Christian Schools International , had the dummy coding of R = 0, I = 1, A = 0, S = 2, E = 0, and C = 3.
To be consistent with the variables of career interests and career self-efficacy, a confirmatory factor analysis was performed on the six dummy variables to determine whether two dimensions (Data/ Things and People/Ideas) existed. The factor analysis revealed a satisfactory result in regard to factor loadings. A Pearson correlation was performed to ensure that the relationships between the newly converted score for Data/Things and People/Ideas were negatively correlated cor·re·late
v. cor·re·lat·ed, cor·re·lat·ing, cor·re·lates
1. To put or bring into causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relation.
2. . The correlation coefficient Correlation Coefficient
A measure that determines the degree to which two variable's movements are associated.
The correlation coefficient is calculated as: was -.42 (p < .001), which provides support that the two types of career choices were distinct from each other. Thus, two scores of career choices represented participants' level of inclination inclination, in astronomy, the angle of intersection between two planes, one of which is an orbital plane. The inclination of the plane of the moon's orbit is 5°9' with respect to the plane of the ecliptic (the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun). for choosing either People/Ideas-oriented occupations or Data/Things-oriented occupations.
All the freshmen and sophomores in a Midwest suburban high school were informed of the study by their school counselor, who had been contacted by the researchers to help recruit participants. The counselor briefed the students on the purpose of the study and the importance of confidentiality. An informed consent form was signed by a parent or legal guardian if the student decided to participate. The students who agreed to participate were given a packet that included a cover letter, a consent form, and instructions for completing the instruments. The completed forms were returned to the school counselor in a sealed envelope. All the sealed envelopes then were mailed in one packet to the researchers.
To answer the first research question, "Is the SCCT an appropriate model for explaining high school students' career aspirations?", the conceptual model in Figure 1 was tested by structural equation modeling (SEM; Kline, 2005) to see if it fit to the observed data. SEM is a multivariate The use of multiple variables in a forecasting model. statistical technique that hypothesizes causal causal /cau·sal/ (kaw´z'l) pertaining to, involving, or indicating a cause.
relating to or emanating from cause. relationships among variables and tests the causal models A causal model is an abstract model that uses cause and effect logic to describe the behaviour of a system. See also
To answer the second research question, "Do learning experiences impact career choices through their influence on career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and career interests?", a SEM analysis was performed again to examine the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and the career choices of the participants. To answer the third research question, "Are the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice different across gender?", a multigroup invariance in·var·i·ant
1. Not varying; constant.
2. Mathematics Unaffected by a designated operation, as a transformation of coordinates.
An invariant quantity, function, configuration, or system. SEM was conducted to test whether the parameter (1) Any value passed to a program by the user or by another program in order to customize the program for a particular purpose. A parameter may be anything; for example, a file name, a coordinate, a range of values, a money amount or a code of some kind. estimates of the SEM model in the second research question vary across gender. The chi-square model fit indexes from the SEM models were compared. If the invariance model fits the data statistically more poorly than does the SEM model in the second research question, the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice are different across gender.
Descriptive Statistics descriptive statistics
Descriptive statistics of the variables and their correlations are presented for females and males separately in Table 1. Compared to male students, female students reported significantly higher internal outcome expectations (p < .05), lower self-efficacy and interest on the Data/Things dimension (p < .01), and higher self-efficacy, interest, and career choice on the People/Ideas dimension (p < .01). Furthermore, females and males responded in opposite directions on self-efficacy, interest, and career choice. Table 1 also demonstrates some medium (.30) to high (.50) correlations of the variables within and between the Data/Things and People/Ideas dimensions, which provide adequate evidence for conducting a SEM analysis.
Structural Equation Modeling
Question 1: Is the SCCT an appropriate model for explaining high school students' career aspirations? Figure 2 shows the final model with standardized estimates by gender after modifying the conceptual model (Figure 1), according to practical and theoretical considerations and model modification indexes provided by LISREL LISREL Linear Structural Relations 8.54 (Joreskog & Sorbom, 2003). The model fit indexes for the final model were [x.sup.2](34) = 41.43 (p = .18), normed fit index (NFI NFI Nasjonal Forskningsinformasjon (Norwegian Research Database)
NFI National Fisheries Institute
NFI National Fatherhood Initiative
NFI National Forest Inventory (Australia)
NFI Nutrition Foundation of India ) = .91, non-normed fit index (NNFI NNFI Non-Normed Fit Index (statistics) ) = .95, incremental Additional or increased growth, bulk, quantity, number, or value; enlarged.
Incremental cost is additional or increased cost of an item or service apart from its actual cost. fit index (IFI IFI International Financial Institutions (IMF, World Bank, etc.)
IFI Institutt For Informatikk (Department of Informatics, University of Oslo)
IFI Industrial Fasteners Institute ) = .98, comparative fit index (CFI CFI
cost, freight, and insurance ) = .98, and root mean square error of approximation approximation /ap·prox·i·ma·tion/ (ah-prok?si-ma´shun)
1. the act or process of bringing into proximity or apposition.
2. a numerical value of limited accuracy. (RMSEA RMSEA Root Mean Square Error of Approximation ) = .06, which demonstrates that the final model fit the data very well. Therefore, the SCCT model does appear to explain the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice, and therefore is useful in understanding high school students' career development processes.
Question 2: Do learning experiences impact career choices through their influence on career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and career interests? For female students, the learning experience factor was significantly correlated to career self-efficacy in both the Data/Things and People/Ideas areas. Self-efficacy in the People/Ideas area had a positive significant path to internal outcome expectations, to career interests in People/Ideas, and to career choice in People/Ideas (see details in Figure 2). Career self-efficacy was negatively related to external outcome expectations, which was significantly correlated to career choice in the People/Ideas area in the positive direction.
Career interests in the People/Ideas area also was found to be negatively related to career choices in the Data/Things area. Career self-efficacy in the Data/Things area points to a significant path to career interests in both the Data/Things and People/Ideas areas, but denotes stronger path coefficients Path coefficients are linear regression weights expressing the causal linkage between statistical variables in the structural equation modeling approach. External links and references
For male high school students, learning experience had a significant path to career self-efficacy only in the Data/Things area. Career self-efficacy in both Data/Things and People/Ideas was significantly correlated to career interests in the same categories. However, only career self-efficacy in the People/ Ideas area had a significant direct path to career choice in People/Ideas. Internal outcome expectation was influenced by career self-efficacy in the People/Ideas area, and external expectation was influenced by career self-efficacy in Data/Things. No significant path was found from outcome expectation to interests and career choices. The only significant path for outcome expectation was from self-efficacy in Data/Things to external expectations. Career interests in the Data/Things and People/ Ideas areas were found to be significantly related to career choice in Data/Things, with the former relationship being positive and latter negative. Career interests in the People/Ideas area were negatively related to career choice in People/Ideas, and there was no relationship between career interests in Data/Things and career choice in People/Ideas.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
For both female and males, there was no significant path found from outcome expectation to career interests. Nor was there a significant direct path from career self-efficacy in Data/Things to career choice in Data/Things. Furthermore, there was no significant path between internal outcome expectation and career choice in the Data/Things area.
Question 3: Are the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice different across gender? To test whether the estimates of the final model parameters varied across gender, a multigroup invariance model was conducted with equality constraints CONSTRAINTS - A language for solving constraints using value inference.
["CONSTRAINTS: A Language for Expressing Almost-Hierarchical Descriptions", G.J. Sussman et al, Artif Intell 14(1):1-39 (Aug 1980)]. on the path coefficients across gender. The model fit indexes for the invariance model with equal path coefficients were [chi square chi square (kī),
n a nonparametric statistic used with discrete data in the form of frequency count (nominal data) or percentages or proportions that can be reduced to frequencies. ](49) = 131.82 (p < .001), NFI = .58, NNFI = .46, IFI = .65, CFI = .63, and RMSEA = .16, which shows that the constrained con·strain
tr.v. con·strained, con·strain·ing, con·strains
1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.
2. model fit the data very poorly when compared to the unconstrained model (see the results for Question 1). Also, in terms of model fit, the two models are statistically different ([DELTA][chi square] = 90.39, p < .001). Thus, the moderating effect of gender on the causal relationships existed. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice were different across gender.
The results of the descriptive analysis show that high school girls High School Girls (女子高生 Joshi Kōsei , compared with their male counterparts, were more interested in and had higher self-efficacy on occupations that involve working with people and ideas (i.e., the Artistic and Social types in Holland's theory). The high school girls also were found to more likely choose occupations that involve helping others and expressing oneself. In contrast, boys were more interested in, had higher self-efficacy for, and were more likely to choose occupations involving data and things (or Realistic, Investigative, Enterprising, and Conventional in Holland's code). Another gender difference was on the outcome expectations, with girls showing more desire for internal rewards (i.e., helping others, independence). This finding is consistent with the previous literature about gender differences in career self-efficacy and choices (Betz & Gwilliam, 2002; Krakauer & Chen, 2003), in which females exhibit a greater attraction to non-science and technical occupations.
The applicability of the SCCT to explain career choice behavior of high school students was verified in this study. The significant paths from self-efficacy to career interests for both high school girls and boys suggest that career self-efficacy is strongly related to career interests across genders. This finding is similar to the previous study by Turner and Lapan (2002), who found that vocational self-efficacy and career exploration efficacy predicted middle school students' interests across Holland themes. The mediating role of self-efficacy is confirmed in this study as well. In other words, learning experiences significantly influence one's self-efficacy, which then influences one's career interests and choices, as posited by the SCCT (Lent et al., 1994). Another interesting finding of this study is the strong direct impact of career self-efficacy on career choices in the area of People/Ideas. It seems that high school students' confidence in occupations involving people interaction and ideas very possibly leads them to choose such occupations.
As found in Lent, Brown, Schmidt, et al. (2003), outcome expectation did not have a significant path to any of the interests. For female high school students, external outcome expectation was significantly and positively related to career choice in the People/Ideas area; for male students, this path, though significant, was negatively related. In other words, male high school students who intended to choose occupations in the People/Ideas area did not believe that these occupations would bring them prestige or financial rewards. Regarding occupational expectations, male high school students appear to place a greater value on prestige and external rewards than do females; while female students tend to be attracted more by the internal rewards.
The significant paths exclusive to females (self-efficacy to outcome expectations, and a strong relationship particularly between career self-efficacy in the Data/Things area and interests and career choices in both the Data/Things and People/Ideas areas) demonstrate the strong impact of self-efficacy. This finding confirms the literature on gender difference in career self-efficacy and its relationship to female-or male-dominated occupations (Bonett, 1994; Kelly, 1993; Mathieu, Sowa, & Niles, 1993; Matsui, 1994; Wiljanen, 1996). Additionally, the findings from this study suggest that learning experiences have a greater influence on the development of career self-efficacy for female students than for male students. Furthermore, female students' career choices are more strongly moderated by outcome expectations than by interests. Career self-efficacy is a strong predictor of and mediator mediator n. a person who conducts mediation. A mediator is usually a lawyer, or retired judge, but can be a non-attorney specialist in the subject matter (like child custody) who tries to bring people and their disputes to early resolution through a conference. between learning experiences and expectation for career choices in the People/Ideas area.
For male high school students, two interesting findings are worthy of further discussion. First, the only significant path to career choice in the Data/Things area was from career interests in the People/Ideas area, and the path coefficient was negative. This may suggest that male students avoid People/Ideas types of occupations even though they have interests in those areas. Second, a significant strong and direct path was found from career self-efficacy in the People/Ideas area to career choice in the same area, in addition to its impact through outcome expectations and interests. This particular finding shows similarity Similarity is some degree of symmetry in either analogy and resemblance between two or more concepts or objects. The notion of similarity rests either on exact or approximate repetitions of patterns in the compared items. with females choosing science- and technology-related occupations. The common theme is the strong role of self-efficacy for males and females when they choose occupations that are nontraditional for their gender. While the literature has focused on the role of socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.
n. in the development of self-efficacy and career choices for females (Betz & Hackett, 1981; Hackett & Betz, 1992), this finding provides an interesting perspective for understanding men in their career decision-making process, particularly those who choose not to pursue typical male-dominated occupations. Like females, male students need strong self-efficacy to pursue nontraditional (for males) occupations.
Another noticeable finding for high school boys is the lack of a significant relationship between learning experiences and career self-efficacy in the People/Ideas area. This may indicate that male students' career-related learning experiences do not facilitate development of confidence in Social and Artistic occupations, though this question needs to be further investigated in the future.
Some limitations of this study require discussion. Because the sample size is relatively small, external generalization gen·er·al·i·za·tion
1. The act or an instance of generalizing.
2. A principle, a statement, or an idea having general application. should be made with caution. Also, the sample consists of predominantly pre·dom·i·nant
1. Having greatest ascendancy, importance, influence, authority, or force. See Synonyms at dominant.
2. White students from a middle-class background; therefore, application of the findings to minority members or those from a different socioeconomic so·ci·o·ec·o·nom·ic
Of or involving both social and economic factors.
of or involving economic and social factors
Adj. 1. background is limited. In this study, the operational definition of learning experience was based on a summary score of individuals' school and family activities. In any future study, the measurement of background variables should include more constructs, such as distant and proximal proximal /prox·i·mal/ (-mil) nearest to a point of reference, as to a center or median line or to the point of attachment or origin.
adj. environmental support, as discussed in Lent et al. (1994, 2000).
IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS
The findings of this study have several implications for school counselors in designing and developing career development programs. The major implication is to consider individual variants such as gender, self-efficacy, interests, and outcome expectations, and contextual factors such as socioeconomic background, when developing career intervention plans. School counselors have to be cognizant cog·ni·zant
Fully informed; conscious. See Synonyms at aware.
Adj. 1. of the role of self-efficacy and learning experiences in shaping high school students' career interests and choices, as findings in this study illustrate that learning experiences and self-efficacy are the two critical factors influencing high school students' career development. We recommend that career development programs provide meaningful learning experiences that facilitate the development of self-efficacy in students' aspired careers. School counselors also should work with community members to identify resources that would help students improve their career self-efficacy and career-related skills. Parents should be incorporated into intervention plans as well.
Specifically, school counselors may implement intervention strategies at various levels as described below. At the school-wide level, a systematic and comprehensive school counseling program with a career development component that aligns with the career domains in ASCA's (1997) national standards should be implemented. An example is a school-wide career fair that allows students to meet professionals in a variety of work fields. A career fair could increase students' awareness and basic understanding of a variety of occupations. Professionals invited to the career fair should be encouraged to come in their professional attire and speak about their duties and responsibilities on a typical workday. Along the same line, school counselors can coordinate field practice projects for students to actually learn specific aspects of a particular occupation. These types of activities provide learning experiences for students to better understand their unique career-related set of interests and skills. School counselors also should work with community agencies to identify resources that may supply speakers or serve as field-trip sites.
At the classroom level, school counselors are well positioned to collaborate with teachers in designing a curriculum that helps students apply subject content areas to career options. School counselors can help teachers create class projects that require students to research a selected occupation and apply the course content to that particular occupation. School counselors also can develop and deliver classroom guidance activities geared toward understanding oneself in relation to work. These activities can include discussion of students' interests, abilities, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations and can engage students in experiential ex·pe·ri·en·tial
Relating to or derived from experience.
ex·peri·en activities to identify their current interests and self-efficacy in a variety of occupations.
When working with students directly, a school counselor's task is to identify the resources and assets in the students' existing systems, in order to help them overcome barriers that prohibit pro·hib·it
tr.v. pro·hib·it·ed, pro·hib·it·ing, pro·hib·its
1. To forbid by authority: Smoking is prohibited in most theaters. See Synonyms at forbid.
2. them from pursuing their desired careers. The identification of resources and barriers can be done through analysis of students' individual perceptions of what constitutes barriers or resources for them. For instance, some students are less confident or not motivated mo·ti·vate
tr.v. mo·ti·vat·ed, mo·ti·vat·ing, mo·ti·vates
To provide with an incentive; move to action; impel.
mo to pursue any type of postsecondary option. The school counselor then needs to help these students discover what factors make it difficult for them to have confidence in this area. Is it because of a lack of role models? Is it because of practical reasons such as financial limitations or parental opposition? Could it be due to their misconception mis·con·cep·tion
A mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding: had many misconceptions about the new tax program. about careers and job opportunities? After identification of the potential barriers, the next step is to help students examine their personal assets, family resources, and any supportive factors from their school, church, or community that can help them overcome the barriers they perceive.
In summary, the findings of this study illustrate the importance of learning experiences, self-efficacy, interests, and outcome expectations in high school students' career development processes. The interrelationship of these factors is dynamic; therefore, successful intervention needs to consider the complexity of the interrelationships among these factors and incorporate a variety of interventions at multi-systematic levels. School counselors could be instrumental in developing and implementing a comprehensive career development program that helps students develop self-efficacy in their desired careers through practical learning activities.
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Existing or occurring within the individual self or mind.
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Table 1. Correlations, Means, and Standard Deviations by Gender 1 2 3 4 5 1. Learning experiences -- .017 .071 .358 .392 Outcome expectations 2. External .142 -- .444 -.118 -.167 3. Internal .140 .556 -- -.030 -.024 Data/Things 4. Self-efficacy .251 .274 .240 -- .756 5. Interest .186 .120 .115 .770 -- 6. Career choice -.138 -.182 .043 .119 .012 People/Ideas 7. Self-efficacy .123 .112 .255 .378 .294 8. Interest .172 -.039 .143 .224 .434 9. Career choice -.172 .019 .014 -.173 -.179 Boys M -.048 2.398 2.377 .306 .324 SD .924 .455 .501 .947 .980 6 7 8 9 1. Learning experiences -.153 .423 .456 .070 Outcome expectations 2. External -.018 -.103 -.201 .029 3. Internal -.110 .194 .052 .127 Data/Things 4. Self-efficacy .146 .311 .393 -.196 5. Interest .150 .235 .411 -.073 6. Career choice -- -.215 -.127 -.637 People/Ideas 7. Self-efficacy -.037 -- .651 .329 8. Interest -.204 .638 -- .235 9. Career choice -.339 .240 .178 -- Boys M .072 -.367 -.417 -.368 SD 1.092 .984 .977 .886 Girls M SD 1. Learning experiences .045 1.071 Outcome expectations 2. External 2.264 .470 3. Internal 2.574 * .458 Data/Things 4. Self-efficacy -.289 ** .946 5. Interest -.306 ** .894 6. Career choice -.068 .907 People/Ideas 7. Self-efficacy .346 ** .867 8. Interest .394 ** .848 9. Career choice .348 ** .982 Boys M SD Note. n = 72 girls (above diagonal); n = 68 boys (below diagonal). * p < .05 for gender difference. ** p < .01 for gender difference