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Katherine L. Hughes & Melinda Mechur Karp

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1 Katherine L. Hughes & Melinda Mechur Karp
Highlights from School-Based Career Development: A Synthesis of the Literature Katherine L. Hughes & Melinda Mechur Karp Institute on Education and the Economy Teachers College, Columbia University

2 Research Questions 1998 Perkins Amendments support “career guidance and academic counseling” Current emphasis on evidence-based education What types of career guidance and academic counseling interventions exist, and what does the research say about their value?

3 Background Guidance and counseling professions date from turn of 20th century; had vocational focus Later expansion of counseling role to encompass the social and personal School-based counselors now see their role primarily as helping students with their academic achievement Ideally, guidance now viewed as a school-level program, not an individual-level service Thus during the century that guidance in general, and career guidance in particular, has existed, counselors’ roles have shifted and become more diverse. NCES study: counselors mainly help with choice and scheduling of high school classes, postsecondary admissions, student attendance and discipline – not much time spent directly with career planning Don’t know if that’s because career planning in general has been reduced in high schools, or if this function is now being shared with other departments, programs; WBL, etc.

4 Methodology of the Study
Review of over 50 studies published from 1983 forward Focus on studies that report program outputs or outcomes Most studies included comparison groups, or were pre-/post- design, or a combination Outputs: skills, knowledge or attitudes that students develop through their participation (vocational identify, self-efficacy, etc.) Outcomes: the actual results of an intervention, such as GPA, job performance, or personal adjustment Huge bib in the back of the report, but not all studies in the bib in the body of the report because some studies’ methodologies not rigorous enough; only included reputable, well-done research

5 Findings – Divided literature into five categories:
Meta-Analyses Comprehensive Guidance Programs Career Courses Counseling Interventions Computer-Assisted Career Guidance Report organized around these five areas.

6 Meta-Analyses Two meta-analyses found that career guidance interventions have a positive, though moderate, effect Interventions positively influenced subjects’ career decision-making, understanding of careers and career-related adjustment Guidance activities directed at junior high school students had the largest effects Individual-level counseling most effective More focused interventions were most effective Meta-analyses combine data from multiple quantitative studies on one topic, and calculate an effect size for the intervention being studied “more focused” refers to interventions focusing on a specific career-related skill, rather than “career preparation” generally

7 Comprehensive Guidance Programs
Students in schools with more fully-implemented comprehensive guidance programs reported better grades, being better-prepared for their futures, having more college and career information, feeling safer in school, having better relationships with their teachers, believing their education was more relevant, and being more satisfied with the quality of their education Can’t assume causality Model with the goal of guidance being an integrated program within a school and serving all students through a mix of interventions. Can’t assume causality, other school-level factors likely contribute to the findings; plus all self-report

8 Career Courses Several studies showed positive results for students
Career exploration courses, the Real Game, and career decision-making courses positively affected students’ knowledge of work and occupations, career orientation, career planning, and career decision-making skills A study of a middle-school career course found a positive impact on students’ math and science grades; students were also more likely to enroll in higher-level math and science courses in high school Career courses vary in goals, pedagogy, length, content, etc. For postsecondary students, usually stand-alone for-credit elective courses For younger students usually a unit in another class

9 Counseling Interventions
Five studies found positive effects of academic advising/planning: the amount of time students spent with counselors or teachers in planning their high school program was related to higher math motivation, higher test scores, and advanced math and science course-taking

10 Computer-Assisted Career Guidance
Studies linked the use of CHOICES and DISCOVER to greater career decision-making commitment, gains in career maturity, and increases in levels of career decidedness

11 Limitations Most studies rely on self-report
Many studies rely on pre-/post- psychological inventories Many interventions are low-dosage and effects are possibly short-term Interventions and research focus on changes in students’ knowledge and attitudes; don’t follow up to determine behavioral change Self-report – e.g., GPA Pre-/post- similar to a history or some other subject-matter test – what the student knew about the subject before, and what after

12 Recommendations Invest in career guidance and academic counseling in middle schools Explore relationships between guidance interventions and positive student behaviors

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