An investigation into the characteristics, perceptions, and expectations of high school students involved in a pilot statewide tech prep in agriculture program in Washington state Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/gf06g6278

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  • The purpose of the investigation was to develop a profile of characteristics, perceptions and expectations of high school students involved in the Washington Tech Prep in Agriculture Statewide Articulation Program (TPAG). The investigation involved nine individual interviews, the responses of 165 students to a forced response survey instrument, and a concluding group interview of a group of students who had previously responded to the survey instrument. The criterion for inclusion in the study was involvement with the Tech Prep in Agriculture Articulation program. Thus, participation was purposeful. The subject students, who were involved in a career cluster-specific program, displayed a rich range of career aspirations and educational characteristics. Career aspirations were not limited to the agricultural career cluster and ranged from accountant to x-ray technician. The subject students came from all four quartiles of the high school population and their future educational aspirations included apprenticeship, community/technical college, four year college, and post-graduate programs. Most students aspired to post-secondary education at a community, technical, or four year college. Of those aspiring to a post-secondary education, most aspired to a community/technical college education. Surveyed students rated the importance of 24 skills. Workplace skills such as working with others, communications, and the ability to learn rated highest. Foundation skills such as basic mathematics, creativity, and computer usage rated well. Skills related to specific careers fell lower on the composite ratings. Rated lowest were the appreciation of art, music, literature, plays, movies, and TV. Students rated parents, high school teachers, and young people working in the student's area of career interest the highest as providers of information on education and careers. Individuals such as media journalists and politicians whom society might consider good advisors were not trusted by nearly one of three studied students. The investigation led to almost immediate improvements in the TPAG Program, including modification of a core course to better reflect student career interests, publication of program literature in Spanish, and gender balancing of images used in brochures. Recommendations for further research into student characteristics, the dynamics of student career selection, and high school career cluster educational models were presented.
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