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High School Counselors and Career Specialists' Perceptions of School Practices that Involve Parents in Students' Career ...

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024338/00001

Material Information

Title: High School Counselors and Career Specialists' Perceptions of School Practices that Involve Parents in Students' Career Planning
Physical Description: 1 online resource (159 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Alford, Trevelyn
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: career, counseling, counselors, development, high, involvement, parent, planning, school
Counselor Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: School Counseling and Guidance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND CAREER SPECIALISTS PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL PRACTICES THAT INVOLVE PARENTS IN STUDENTS CAREER PLANNING Research has demonstrated the importance of parental involvement in adolescents career planning. Yet limited research has been conducted on the practices used by high schools to enhance the involvement of parents in their adolescent s career planning and decision-making. The purpose of this study was fourfold: (1) to examine the perceptions of high school counselors and career specialists regarding the value of involving parents in their child s career planning process, (2) to identify the activities that schools currently use to foster such involvement, (3) to identify the barriers that high school counselors and career specialists believe may prevent successful parental involvement in student career planning and decision-making, and 4) to determine if the valuing and implementation of parental involvement activities differed by rural, urban, or suburban geographic context. The study sample was composed of 184 high school counselors and career specialists employed in schools in Florida and South Carolina who completed an online survey. The survey assessed the participants perceptions of the importance and implementation of eight types of school activities involving parents and their perceptions of the most significant school-based and parent-based barriers to parental involvement. The results revealed that all eight types of parental involvement activities were considered by participants to be important for their school s career planning programs and that each of the eight types of activities were provided at the participants schools. In addition, the valuing and implementation of these eight types of parental involvement activities did not differ significantly by the nature of the school s geographic context. Moreover, there were statistically significant associations between the importance ratings and the provision of each type of involvement activity revealing that not only did the respondents perceive that the activity was valued by their school, but the activity was implemented as well. Finally, participants reported that the most significant barriers for educators to the effective involvement of parents were lack of time and limited parent interest, while for the parents the most significant barrier was lack of time.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Trevelyn Alford.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Amatea, Ellen S.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024338:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024338/00001

Material Information

Title: High School Counselors and Career Specialists' Perceptions of School Practices that Involve Parents in Students' Career Planning
Physical Description: 1 online resource (159 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Alford, Trevelyn
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: career, counseling, counselors, development, high, involvement, parent, planning, school
Counselor Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: School Counseling and Guidance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND CAREER SPECIALISTS PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL PRACTICES THAT INVOLVE PARENTS IN STUDENTS CAREER PLANNING Research has demonstrated the importance of parental involvement in adolescents career planning. Yet limited research has been conducted on the practices used by high schools to enhance the involvement of parents in their adolescent s career planning and decision-making. The purpose of this study was fourfold: (1) to examine the perceptions of high school counselors and career specialists regarding the value of involving parents in their child s career planning process, (2) to identify the activities that schools currently use to foster such involvement, (3) to identify the barriers that high school counselors and career specialists believe may prevent successful parental involvement in student career planning and decision-making, and 4) to determine if the valuing and implementation of parental involvement activities differed by rural, urban, or suburban geographic context. The study sample was composed of 184 high school counselors and career specialists employed in schools in Florida and South Carolina who completed an online survey. The survey assessed the participants perceptions of the importance and implementation of eight types of school activities involving parents and their perceptions of the most significant school-based and parent-based barriers to parental involvement. The results revealed that all eight types of parental involvement activities were considered by participants to be important for their school s career planning programs and that each of the eight types of activities were provided at the participants schools. In addition, the valuing and implementation of these eight types of parental involvement activities did not differ significantly by the nature of the school s geographic context. Moreover, there were statistically significant associations between the importance ratings and the provision of each type of involvement activity revealing that not only did the respondents perceive that the activity was valued by their school, but the activity was implemented as well. Finally, participants reported that the most significant barriers for educators to the effective involvement of parents were lack of time and limited parent interest, while for the parents the most significant barrier was lack of time.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Trevelyn Alford.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Amatea, Ellen S.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024338:00001


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HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND CAREER SPECIALISTS PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL PRACTICES THAT INVOLVE PARENTS IN STUDENTS CAREER PLANNING By TREVELYN ALFORD-DAVIDSON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009 1

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2009 Trevelyn Alford-Davidson 2

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To my mother and father, June and Ma rvin Alford; my husband, Joe Davidson; and my daughter, Haylee Austin Smith 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my parents without whose support this task would have never begun. After my late husbands death, they welcomed me and my daughter back into their home and provided us both with great understandin g and support which helped us immensely on our road to healing. I also thank my mother for being an ever-present model of strength throughout my lifetime. She is probably the toughest woman I know, yet she has a h eart of gold. I thank my father for his quiet example of patience and acceptance of others which has helped me to achieve a balance in my life. I am also the luckiest lady in the world to have found my husband, Joe, who has supported me beyond measure in this huge endeavor. He had constant faith in me and continually reminded me that we dont give up. I also thank my da ughter, who has endured many changes in the past five years, for her willingness to grow up quickly when I could not always be there for her. Hopefully she will someday understand why he r mom has gone to school all her life. In addition, I thank my doctoral committee ch airperson, Dr. Amatea, for her constant guidance and encouragement especially during the times I felt that my personal life was going to overwhelm me. She stood by my side as advi sor and friend as I slowly plodded along. I also thank the rest of my committee, Dr. Beha r-Horenstein, Dr. Mary Ann Clark, and Dr. Peter Sherrard for not giving up on me. Most importantly I give thanks to the Lord above, for He is truly my main support and guiding light in this and all my worldly endeavors. Without him, I would be totally lost on this road called LIFE. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7 ABSTRACT .....................................................................................................................................8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. .10 Scope of the Problem ..............................................................................................................11 Theoretical Framework ...........................................................................................................18 Need for the Study ..................................................................................................................24 Purpose of the Study ...............................................................................................................25 Definition of Terms ................................................................................................................26 Overview of the Remainder of the Study ...............................................................................27 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE........................................................................................28 Comprehensive Career Guidance ...........................................................................................28 Demographic Changes in the United States ...........................................................................30 Nature of Parental Involvement ..............................................................................................31 Parental Involvement in Career Development ........................................................................43 Summary .................................................................................................................................48 3 METHODOLOGY.................................................................................................................5 1 Design of the Study ................................................................................................................51 Nature of the Study Variables .................................................................................................52 Population and Sampling Procedures .....................................................................................54 Description of the Study Sample ............................................................................................55 Instrumentation .......................................................................................................................58 Instrument Development ........................................................................................................60 Data Collection Procedures ....................................................................................................67 Hypotheses ..............................................................................................................................68 Data Analytic Procedures .......................................................................................................69 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................... .........71 Hypotheses Testing .................................................................................................................71 Hypotheses One ...............................................................................................................72 Hypothesis Two ...............................................................................................................73 Hypothesis Three .............................................................................................................77 Hypothesis Four ...............................................................................................................79 5

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Hypothesis Five ...............................................................................................................82 Hypothesis Six .................................................................................................................85 Hypothesis Seven ............................................................................................................86 Summary of Results ................................................................................................................87 5 DISCUSSION................................................................................................................... ......90 Discussion of Results ..............................................................................................................90 Question One ...................................................................................................................90 Question Two ..................................................................................................................96 Question Three ..............................................................................................................104 Question Four ................................................................................................................106 Question Five.................................................................................................................112 Question Six..................................................................................................................113 Question Seven..............................................................................................................114 Limitations of the Study .......................................................................................................115 Implications ..........................................................................................................................117 Recommendations for Future Research................................................................................118 Summary ...............................................................................................................................122 APPENDIX A LETTER TO THE FLORIDA STUDENT SERVICES DIRECTORS................................124 B LETTER TO THE FLORIDA COUNSELORS...................................................................126 C LETTER TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA COUNSELORS.................................................128 D ITEM MEANS FOR IMPORTANCE RATI NG OF ACTIVITY GROUPED BY SUBSCALE....................................................................................................................... ...130 E ITEM PERCENTAGES FOR ACTIVITIES PROVIDED GROUPED BY SUBSCALE..133 F ONLINE SURVEY..............................................................................................................13 6 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................150 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................159 6

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Demographic data on the sample population .....................................................................56 3-2 Size of school by geographic area .....................................................................................57 3-3 School student socioeconomic status by geographic area .................................................57 3-4 School minority enro llment by geographic area ................................................................58 3-5 Cronbachs Alpha Coeffici ent with deleted variable .........................................................69 4-1 Subscale means and standard deviations of the importance of parent involvement activities .............................................................................................................................72 4-2 Parent involvement subscales im portance ratings by geographic setting ..........................77 4-3 Subscale means, standard deviations and percentages for parent involvement activities provided ..............................................................................................................78 4-4 Provision of parent involvement act ivities by subscale (using 1=yes, 0=no) ....................82 4-5 Spearman Correlations of importance a nd implementation for the eight parent involvement subscales .......................................................................................................84 4-6 Frequencies and percentages of the importance of the academic communication subscale activities ...............................................................................................................85 4-7 Frequencies and percentages of th e activities provided in the academic communication subscale ....................................................................................................85 4-8 School barriers to parent involvement in career planning .................................................86 4-9 Parental barriers to involvement in their ad olescents career planning .............................87 D-1 Items means for importance rati ng of activity grouped by subscale ...............................130 E-1 Item percentages for activiti es provided grouped by subscale ........................................133 7

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Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND CAREER SPECIALISTS PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL PRACTICES THAT INVOLVE PARENTS IN STUDENTS CAREER PLANNING By Trevelyn Alford-Davidson August 2009 Chairperson: Ellen S. Amatea Major: School Counseling and Guidance Research has demonstrated the importance of pa rental involvement in adolescents career planning. Yet limited research has been conduc ted on the practices used by high schools to enhance the involvement of parents in their a dolescents career planni ng and decision-making. The purpose of this study was fourfold: (1) to examine the perceptions of high school counselors and career specialists regarding the value of involving parents in their childs career planning process, (2) to identify the activities that schools currently use to foster such involvement, (3) to identify the barriers that high school counselor s and career spec ialists believe may prevent successful parental involvement in student ca reer planning and decision-making, and 4) to determine if the valuing and implementation of pa rental involvement activities differed by rural, urban, or suburban geographic context. The study sample was composed of 184 high school counselors a nd career specialists employed in schools in Florida and South Carolina who completed an online survey. The survey assessed the participants perceptions of the im portance and implementatio n of eight types of school activities involving parent s and their perceptions of the most significant school-based and parent-based barriers to parental involvement. The results revealed that all eight t ypes of parental 8

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involvement activities were considered by particip ants to be important for their schools career planning programs and that each of the eight types of activities were provided at the participants schools. In addition, the valuing and implementation of these eight types of parental involvement activities did not differ significantly by the nature of the schools geographic context. Moreover, there were statistically significant associations between the importance ratings and the provision of each type of involvement activity revealing that not only did the respondents perceive that the activity was valued by their school, but the activity was implemented as well. Finally, participants reported that the mo st significant barriers for educat ors to the effective involvement of parents were lack of time and limited parent interest, while for the pare nts the most significant barrier was lack of time. 9

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Most educators would agree that their schools mission is to prepare students to become successful and productive members of society. For ch ildren to achieve this goal, they must be provided with knowledge, support and opportunities to make sound educational and occupational choices. A developmental and comprehensive career guidance program is an important resource for students to acquire the know ledge, skills and attitudes nece ssary to make such choices (Gysbers, 2001; Hatch and Bowers, 2004; Ripley Erford, Dahir & Eschbach, 2003; Wakefield, 2004). Yet the increasing diversity of todays sc hool population presents unique challenges for educators committed to providing an effective car eer guidance program that meets the needs of all students. The involvement of parents can be a possible resource for educator s to utilize as they assist students in making educational and occupational choices and m oving into the world of work. Parents are not only their childs first teacher, but in all likeli hood have the best understanding of their childs background, abilities and interests. Moreover, rese arch has shown that involving parents in their childrens career education can affect students career decision-making and career self-efficacy (Ferry, F ouad & Smith, 2000; Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994, 2000; Turner & Lapan, 2003, Young, et al., 2008). Unfortunately, pare nts involvement in their childrens education generally decreases during their ch ildrens middle school and high school years (Harvard Family Research Project, 2007). This decrease may be attributed to several factors including students desires for autonomy, changes in school structure, reduc tion in parent-teacher trust, and a lack of parent conf idence about how to become involve d in the complexities of their childs high school education (Adams & Christ enson, 2000; Harvard Research Project, 2007; Simon, 2004). 10

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High school educators typically have not reached out to pare nts or encouraged them to become involved in their childs career planning (Harvard Family Research Project, 2007; Sage, 2004; Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001; Trotman, 2001). As a result, there is limited information available to guide high school e ducators attempting to involve pa rents in student career planning. The goal of this study was to ascertain the le vel of importance school counselors and career specialists in rural, urban, and suburban settings attributed to the involvement of parents in high school students career planning activities and to describe the parental involvement strategies that schools use to involve parents. Scope of the Problem Career guidance programs can assist students in acquiring kn owledge of themselves such as their strengths, interests and work values Through these programs students can also learn about possible career options and develop or enhance their employability skills (Wakefield, 2004). Providers of career guidance programs recognize that while student success is individually defined, the school program can play a key role in preparing students to transition from high school to either post-secondary training or employment (Feller, 2004). The American School Counselor Association pr omotes the message of career guidance for all students through their ASCA Na tional Model and charges school counselors with the central responsibility of preparing all ad olescents to transition to a satisfying, productive, and personally valued post high school setting (Hatch & Bowers, 2004, Wakefield, 2004). Yet the diversity of todays school populations can make this task increasingly difficult. Students can no longer be approached as though they all have similar b ackgrounds and life experiences (Portman, 2009). Societal and economic changes, increasing cultural diversity, and changes in the nuclear family have made a dramatic impact on todays sc hool population. The Annie E. Casey Foundation reported in the 2005 Kids Count Data Report th at 42% of the United States population under 18 11

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years of age are culturally diverse compared to 31 % in 1990 (OHare, 2001). The National Center for Education Statistics (2007) re ported that the 2006-2007 public school population consisted of 56.7% white, non-Hispanic; 20.5% Hispanic; 17.1% black, non-Hispanic; 4.7% Asian/Pacific Islander and 1.2% American Indian/Alaskan Native According to the 2000 census 18.4 % of the nations children from five to seve nteen years of age spoke a language other than English at home as compared to 13.9% in 1990. In addition, 5.1% of those children were considered linguistically isolated as compar ed to 3.9% in the 1990 census (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007). Moreover the percentage of children living in poverty in creased from 17% in 2000 to 19% in 2005 (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007). The per centage of children living in families where no parent had a full time, year round job increased from 32% in 2000 to 34 % in 2005 (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007). Figures from 2005 show that 9.4% of students ages 16 to 24 had dropped out of high school (Nati onal Center for Education Statistics, 2007) and that 8% of students ages 16 to 19 were not working or attending school (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007). In addition 16% of children under 18 were living in a home where the head of the household did not complete high school (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007). Changes in the family composition of our sc hool population are also clearly evident. The proportion of families headed by male breadwinn ers and stay-at-home mothers has decreased. There is no longer a typical household. Reports fro m 2005 indicate that 32% of our children live in single parent households, which is an increase from 31% in 2000. In addition 5% of our children live with grandparents and 6% live with neither pa rent (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2007). 12

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Finally, dramatic changes have occurred in stude nts communities in the last forty years. For example, although some rural areas have incr eased in population due to the migration of retirees to small towns, many rural areas have deteriorated due to major changes in economic opportunities in farming communities (Purdy, 1999). In addition there has been an increase in the migration of many city residents to smaller s uburbs. These social and economic shifts have significantly impacted school enro llments and the resources availa ble to schools (Amatea, 2008). These changes have important implicatio ns for high school e ducators and school counselors as they assist stude nts in preparing for their futu re. Not only have student needs become more varied, but school resources fo r program development differ depending on their geographic context. Hence, it is a much greater challenge for educators to effectively help students plan for their career success. According to Jackson and Nutini (2002), th e goal of career counseling is to expand adolescents understanding of career and educational in terests, abilities, options, and beliefs. They state that for students from diverse economic and cultural groups who are vulnerable to discrimination, career planning should include a study of social, cultural, economic and discrimination factors. Resear ch studies of the career development of economically and culturally diverse youth indicate a need for educators to b ecome more knowledgeable about cultural backgrounds, social att itudes, and socioeconomic status differences (Constantine, Kindaichi & Miville, 2007; Flores & OBrie n, 2002; Jackson & Nutin i, 2002; Smith-Weber, 1999; Tang, Fouad & Smith, 1999). Factors such as language, parent al support, and cultural values can greatly affect students career choices (Chin & Kameoka, 2002; Flores & OBrien, 2002; Jackson & Nutini, 2002; Smith-Weber, 1999). In their study of Mexican Amer ican adolescent girls, Flores and OBrien 13

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(2002) found that the presence of parental suppo rt and few perceived barriers had a positive effect on the girls career goals. The girls who anticipated fe wer barriers and who perceived support from their parents chose prestigious careers. In addition, the girls who perceived their parents to be supportive of their career goals had higher le vels of career aspiration. Tang, Fouad, and Smith (1999) investigated factors that might influence Asian American students career choices. In th eir study of Asian American co llege students, they found the students were influenced by acculturation, family background and self-efficacy in their choice of occupations. Family influence on career choice was strongly supported by the data. The Asian American parents wanted their children to c hoose careers that were secure, practical, and marketable. In this study the most frequent occu pations selected by the students were engineer, physician, and computer scientist, which are traditional occupational choices for Asian Americans. In addition, students with lower acculturation levels chose more traditional occupations, whereas students with higher accultu ration levels tended to choose less traditional jobs. To provide meaningful career guidance to a ll students, school personnel must acquire a greater understanding of student diversity and be willing to develop indi vidualized and realistic career guidance programs for this diverse populat ion (Constantine, Kadaicha & Moville, 2007; Evans & Latrobe, 2002; Smith-Weber, 1999; Yeh, Okubo, Ma, Shea, Ou & Pituc, 2008). Counselors are involved in indi vidual work with students and ar e keenly aware of students cultural, cognitive, and socioeconomic differences. Counselors have begun to recognize that generic career guidance programs may not adequately meet the needs of st udents in all settings. Therefore, in the development of a schools un ique career guidance program, it is necessary to 14

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consider the communitys cultural and socio economic composition in addition to the areas economic opportunities and resources. Since parents are knowledgeable of their adolesce nts unique needs, in terests, abilities, and talents, they can be a very important link in th is career planning proce ss (Muscott, 2002; Sage, 2004; Wakefield & Sage, 2004). There has been a substantial amount of research documenting how parents influence childrens career deve lopment (Ferry, Found & Smith, 2000; Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994, 2000; Lipan, Heckerman, Adams, & Turner, 1999; Paa & McWhirter, 2000; Way & Rossman, 1996; Whiston & Keller, 2004). In their review, Whiston and Keller (2004) summarized the findings of 77 studies using 29 di fferent professional journals across diverse disciplines. They concluded from their review that empirical trends suggest that families do influence a youths career developmen t in specific and predictable ways. Family support, attachment, and other fam ily variables are important avenues through which parents have influenced career self -efficacy, decisiveness, commitment and career exploration of adolescents and young adults (Whiston & Keller, 2004) For example, using social cognitive career theory, Ferry, Found, and Smith (2000) examined the effects of family context and personal input variables on learning expe riences, self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, interests, and goals of high sc hool students. These researchers reported a significant relationship between perceived parental encouragement in math science and student grades in those subjects. The researchers stated that their results showed the influential role that parents verbal suggestions, support, and domain-specific encour agement played in student academic and career development. In another study using a social cognitive framework, Lipan and her associates (Lipan, Heckerman, Adams, & Turner, 1999) ex amined 126 rural adolescents, aged 15-18, to determine some of the reasons rural adolescent s might limit their career interests along self15

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efficacy and gender lines. The study results indi cated that perceived parental support was a significant predictor of differences in career e fficacy expectations and vocational interests Since parental influence can pos itively affect student career development, it can be an additional resource for educators to use in meeting the needs of todays diverse youth (Bregman & Killen, 1999; Hall, 2003; Larson, 1995; Paa & McWhirter, 2000; Young, 1994; Young, et al., 2001). However, educators have typically not reach ed out to parents or encouraged them to become involved in their childs career planning (Giles, 2005; Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001; Trotman, 2005). In recent years legislative efforts have rec ognized the need to i nvolve parents in the educational process and have made it clear that schools should increase parental involvement. The Goals 2000 mandate emphasized increased pa rental involvement in schools (Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001). The No Child Left Behind legislation also requ ires more parental involvement as schools work to reform their progra ms to meet the needs of all children (U. S. Department of Education, 2003). Involving parents in providing career guidance during the hi gh school years can assist educators in addressing individua l student needs and provide st udents with support (Hall, 2003; Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001; Wakefield, 2004). In their study on perceived influences on high school students career expecta tions, Paa and McWhirter (2000) found that both boys and girls identified their parents as important positive infl uences. The researchers suggest that counselors might more effectively support adolescent care er development through collaboration with students families. Parents, however, have not been a resource that many schools utilize (Giles, 2005; Hall, 2003; Sage, 2004). Reasons for the lack of parental involveme nt by school staff may include a territorial atti tude held by educators, a belief that parents are not capable of helping, a 16

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lack of understanding as to how parents can contribute, or a con cern as to how to get parents involved (Giles, 2005; Swap, 1993; Trotman, 2001). Parents ofte n cite their own lack of knowledge as the reason they do not become more involved in their childs career development (Wakefield, 2004). When parents have been asked to become i nvolved at school, it has generally been in a limited capacity such as being responsible for student attendance, homework or behavior, or attending school meetings (Giles, 2005; Swap, 1993) Some school staff view parental efforts as interference and have not welcomed them (Swa p, 1993), while others have given conflicting messages that have distanced parents from the school (Sage, 2004). Although most parents want to be involved in their childrens education, they often are not sure what to do (Hidalgo, Suit, Bright, Swap, & Epstein, 1995; Sage, 2004; Swap, 1993). In 2008 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conducted a series of focus groups and a survey of 1,006 parents of current and recent high school students in rural, urban and suburban communities across the nation. The purpose of the study was to give parents a voice and to determine how schools and parents can work more effectively together to strengthen the education of children. The study showed that parent s of high school students definitely want to help their children succeed, but they need better information and tools from schools to do so. The findings indicated that regardless of the parents socioeconomic st atus or education they believed that their involvement was important to th eir childs academic success (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Streeter, & Mason, 2008). To develop effective high school career guidance programs in th is age of diversity, reform and accountability, it is important for schools to use all available resources by learning how to take advantage of parental expertise (Wak efield, 2004; Wakefield & Sage, 2004). Parents 17

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perceptions of their roles appear to be a function of the way a school treats them (Giles, 2005; Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001); therefore, to de velop a successful work ing relationship with parents, schools must begin to view them as a resource and support (Sage, 2004; Swap, 1993). Parents must be placed in the center of the discussion on how to improve student performance and schools need to educate parents on the bene fits of their involvement and the types of involvement that are available to them (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Stre eter, & Mason, 2008) Theoretical Framework The theoretical framework chosen for this st udy is a combination of two theories that emphasize different aspects of the relational context of student career development. Both social cognitive career theory (SCCT) a nd Epsteins theory of family/sc hool interactions emphasize the influence of contextual factors on the developm ent of the individual (Epstein, 1987, 1995b; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Contextu al factors can include environm ental influences such as the quality of home and educational experiences, real and perceived pare ntal support, economic conditions, parental behaviors, and peer influences (Len t, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) is based primarily on Banduras (1986) social cognitive theory. SCCT descri bes the processes through which people form interests, make choices, and achieve varying levels of success in educational and occupa tional endeavors (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). While other career de velopment theories address the influence of parents on student career choices, SCCT is much more explicit in describing how a students environment, which primarily includes home and school, can influence student career development. Epsteins model of overlapping spheres of influe nce integrates the educational insights of families, the emphasis of shared responsibilitie s, and years of research on school and family environments and their effects on children (H idalgo, Suit, Bright, Swap, & Epstein, 1995). The 18

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model recognizes that family and school are the two major contexts in wh ich students learn and grow. These two influences can be drawn togeth er or pushed apart depending on the type of interactions of the participants. Since individuals and their environments are always changing, Vondracek, Lerner and Schulenberg (1986) state that ca reer development can be view ed through either a dynamic, interactive perspective or a developmental, contex tual approach. From a c ontextual perspective, the context is influenced by the individuals charac teristics. It is an in teractive process through which the individual influences and is influenced by the social, cultural an d physical features of the environment (Whiston & Keller, 2004). From their extensive career research review, Whiston & Keller (2004) have determined that all major theories of career development address in some manner the influence of cont extual factors on career development. One assumption of social cognitive career theo ry (SCCT) is that pe rson, environmental and behavioral variables affect one another through complex reciprocal linkages. Contextual barriers and supports from a persons environment interact w ith personal variables to predict career selfefficacy, outcome expectations, and career intere sts. Contextual factors include factors in a persons background or environment such as perc eived parent support or geographic access to career opportunities. For example, a persons perc eived parental support system will interact with person-based variables such as race, gender or ability to influence the career decisionmaking process (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). According to SCCT, career development is influenced by both objective and subjective or perceived contextual factors. Obj ective contextual factors involve such influences as the quality of the educational experience or financial support. Subjectiv e factors include opportunities, resources and barriers presented by a particular environment. Subjective factors are subject to 19

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individual interpretation. SCCT holds that the effects that the contextual factors have on a person are partly determined by the way that pers on responds to these influences (perceived environmental influences). People are not just pa ssive victims of their environment. The manner in which a person views themselves and their en vironment accounts for their personal agency in their career development (Lent, Brown & Hacke tt, 2000). According to Lent, Brown and Hackett (2000), in addition to background contextual f actors, personal inputs such as gender, race/ethnicity, and intellectual ability, affect the individual s learning experiences. These learning experiences, in turn, affect self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Self-efficacy and outcome expectations determine interests, which influence goals and encour age the individual to take action related to those goals. A persons primary interests prompt correspond ing goals. For example, a person interested in living things might have th e goal of a career in the medical field and enroll in a training program to pursue that goal. SCCT hypothesize s that when confronted by environmental pressures, an individuals choi ce behavior is guided less by interests and more by environmental and personal factors (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). In other word s, people are less likely to translate their own career interests into goals and their goals into actions if they perceive their efforts to be impeded by adverse environmental factors such as a lack of family support. Although personal factors such as ethnicity, ge nder and intellectual abilities cannot be changed, contextual factors such as family support and educational experiences can be influenced. Since researchers have documented the strong influence that parents can have on adolescents career development (Whiston & Ke ller, 2004), it would a ppear that educators should seek avenues to utilize parental influence to enhance students career development journey. Schools are in optimal positions to influence contextual factor s (i.e., parent support, 20

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school environment, vocational exposure) to prov ide positive learning experiences for students. Based on SCCT, positive, supportive learning experi ences that address personal variables could enable students to develop the career self-efficacy and outcome expectations needed to pursue their primary interests, formulate goals, and ma ke progress toward thei r goals (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). Since parents are generally keenly aware of their adolescents personal variables and are in a position to provide support to the adolescent, their involvement in student career development appears to be an obvious answer to the dilemma of addressing the diverse needs of todays adolescent. Schulenberg, Vondracek, & Crouter (1984) propos ed a dynamic, interactional approach to research in career development; one that c onsiders individual deve lopment, contextual influences, and the interaction between the indi vidual and context. This type of approach embodies elements of both social cognitive career theory and Epsteins overlapping spheres of influences. Both address environmental and devel opmental changes that a ffect the individual and address interactions between th e person, family, and education. Epsteins theory of overlapping spheres of in fluence revises past so ciological theories based on the belief that social or ganizations are most effective if they have separate goals and responsibilities. Her research in dicated that an integrative theo ry was needed to show that families and schools are most effective if th ey have overlapping or shared goals and responsibilities (Epstein, 1995b). Epstein stated, changing times require changing theories (Epstein, 1987, p.123). She cited four trends that dramatica lly affected family-school connections in the United States during the mid-twentieth century: a) more mothers with college educations, b) increased parent experience with and awareness of children as y oung learners, c) federal regulations and funding 21

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for parental involvement, and d) changing family structures. Th ese trends resulted in more parents being involved in their childrens educat ion, more recognition of parents as teachers, and increased awareness of the need for improved home/school communication. To accommodate these societal changes, Epstein recognized the need for the development of a model of family-school relations that a ccounted for the changing elements that would continue to influence them. She believed that a theory that adequately addressed family-school relations must attend to the history, developmental patterns, and changing e xperiences of parents, teachers, and students (Epstein, 1987). Therefore, Epsteins model contains both external and internal structures. The external structures show how the school and family spheres can be pushed together or pulled apart to overlap in various degrees depending on conditions and intentions of the stakeholders. These two cont exts for student learning and development can work separately or together to facilitate stude nt success. The forces of time and the nature of family and school experiences control the amount of overlap in the model. The greatest overlap occurs when parents and school s collaborate and develop a tr ue partnership (Epstein, 1987, 1995b). The internal structure specifies the lines of connec tion and interaction that occur within and across the boundaries of these two spheres to influence student learning and development. The child is placed at the center of the model because it is assumed that the child is the reason for the partnership (Hidalgo, Siu, Bright, Swap & Epstein, 1995). Families and schools share the responsibilities for student succes s and interact to help students to achieve academically and prepare for their future. Family-school interactions may produce posi tive or negative results depending on how their relationships are designed, implemente d, and coordinated. The question of which 22

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interactions result in the great est degree of overlap led Epstein to formulate six major types of family-school involvement. These types are: a) parenting, b) co mmunicating, c) volunteering, d) learning at home, e) decision-making, and f) co llaborating with the community (Epstein, 1995b). According to Epstein (1995b), if activities characterizing these t ypes of involvement are well designed and implemented, they can produce benefits for students, families, and schools. Epsteins theoretical model of overlapping sphe res assumes that there are mutual interests and influences of families and schools that can be more or less successfully promoted by the policies and programs of the orga nizations and the actions and at titudes of the individuals in those organizations (Epstein, 1987, p. 130). Parent s are interested in the success of their children and have a great deal of influence on their childrens career de cisions (Sage, 2004; Wakefield & Sage, 2004; Winston & Keller, 2004) The ultimate goal of comprehensive career guidance programs is to help students acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to become productive citizens (Hatch & Bowers, 2004; Ripley, Erford, Dahir, & Eschbach, 2003; Wakefield, 2004). Therefore, it appears that sch ool policies and programs that involve parents and promote positive interactions with them could benefit the career development of students (Sage, 2004). This study was based on the SCCT assumption that contextual variables can enhance or constrain career development (i.e., parental invo lvement is an important component of student career development). The study also utilized Ep steins assumption that positive interactions between school and parent are e ssential to help students succeed in school and prepare for the future (Epstein, 1995b). Taken together these tw o theories suggest the particular types of activities that characterize op timal family-school relationships to enhance student career 23

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development. Hence, they served as the conceptu al framework for examining the current parental involvement activities in which high school c ounselors report that their schools engage. Need for the Study According to Turner and Lapan (2002), the roles of parents and school counselors can go hand in hand. As advocates for student succe ss and with training in understanding culturally diverse students and their families, school counsel ors are in a unique positi on to foster parental involvement (Bemak & Cornely, 2002; Brya n & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004; Davis & Lambie, 2005). However, even with decades of research showing the influence of parents over their childrens career choices, parent al involvement has generally b een a minor part of high school guidance programs (Sage, 2004). There is also lim ited information available to guide high school counselors about how to effectively involve pa rents as a resource in their childs career development (Hall, 2003). In addi tion, there is a dearth of info rmation available for high school counselors on effective strategies for parental involvement in diverse geographical areas. To develop appropriate goals for all students, c ounselors need information concerning effective parental involvement strategies and supports that are most beneficial for their high schools unique population. Research findings support th e idea that parental involve ment in education makes a difference, but studies connecting parental support of school learni ng and the roles of parents in school-to-work transition have been narrow in focus and few in number (Way & Rossman, 1996). It is hoped that this study contributes to the research on pa rental involvement in education by providing data as to counsel ors and career specia lists perceptions of the importance of parental involvement and school parental involvement practices in career planning. Counselors and career specialists perceptions of the importance of particular parental involvement activities and of th e existing barriers to such invo lvement can provide valuable 24

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information that may be used to guide high school educators in developing more effective interactions with parents a nd students. Productive involveme nt of parents can provide adolescents with additional support as they begin the process of id entifying their unique interests, establishing goals and developing action plans for their future (Ha ll, 2003; Larson, 1995). In addition the information gathered from this study may be helpful in preparing counselors in diverse geographic contexts to evaluate their cu rrent career guidance program and assist them in planning future services. The in formation gained from the study can also assist educators in their efforts to increase parental invo lvement as they attempt to meet school reform requirements such as the Goals 2000: Educate Amer ica Act and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. Finally, this study expands the knowledge base of counselors, career specialists and educators so they might more effectively use pare nts as a resource to meet the needs of students. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was fourfold: (1) to examine the perceptions of high school counselors and career specia lists regarding the value of involving parents in their childs career planning process, (2) to identify the strategies that schools currently use to foster such involvement, (3) to identify the barriers that high school counselors and ca reer specialists believe may prevent successful parental involvement in student career planning and decision-making, and 4) to determine if the valuing and implemen tation of parental involve ment activities varied by school geographic context. The following qu estions were addressed in this study: Question One: What degree of importance do high school counselors and career specialists attribute to the eight types of parental involvement activitie s for student career planning and decision-making? Question Two: Is there a difference among high school counselors and career specialists in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settings in the degree of importance they attribute to the eight types of parental involvement activ ities for student career planning and decisionmaking? 25

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Question Three: According to high school counselors and career specialists, to what extent do high schools implement the eight types of parental involvement activities in student career planning and decision-making? Question Four: Is there a difference in the extent to which high schools in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settings implement the ei ght types of parental involvement activities in student career planni ng and decision-making? Question Five: Is there a relationship between the de gree of importance and the number of activities counselors and career specialists re port implementing for each of the eight types of parent involvement activities? Question Six: What are the perceptions of high school counselors and career specialists in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settings re garding the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for schools in prev enting the involv ement of parents in student career planning and decision-making? Question Seven: What are the perceptions of high sc hool counselors and career specialists in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settings regarding the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for pare nts in preventing their involvement in their adolescents career plan ning and decision-making? Definition of Terms CAREER DEVELOPMENT. A process of focusing on the relationship between the academic program and the world of work with the goal of preparing each indi vidual for living and working in our society (Balcombe, 1995; Wakefield, 2004). CAREER GUIDANCE. A process of enabling students to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to acquire and maintain appropriate employment. CAREER PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING. A process of career exploration and selfdiscovery leading to a students development of career goals. DIVERSE YOUTH. Youth who may be vulnerable to discrimination due to socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or family composition. EPSTEINS SIX TYPES OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. 1) Parenting, 2) communicating, 3) volunteering, 4) learning at home, 5) d ecision making, and 6) collaborating with communities (Epstein, 1995b). THE NATIONAL CAREER DE VELOPMENT GUIDELINES. The guidelines originally developed in 1989 to assist schools from elementary to postsecondary levels in establishing career counseling and guidance programs. The guide lines revised in 2004, identify content, provide activities and recommend program stra tegies to support the career development process throughout lif e (Wakefield, 2004). 26

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OVERLAPPING SPHERES OF INFLUENCE. Epsteins (1987) model of family and school interactions. The model consists of external and internal structures and explains their ability to influence interactions between members (family, school, parent, teacher, and child). PARENT. A childs caregiver who may be so meone other than natural parents. PARENTAL INFLUENCE. The influence that parents ha ve on their children through role modeling, communication of ideas, beliefs, a nd opinions including the support the children perceive they have from their parents. PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. Ongoing, active participat ion in a childs life. RURAL SETTINGS. Schools located outside of large towns or cities in areas that are primarily considered small towns, countryside or agricultural. SOCIAL COGNITIVE CAREER THEORY. A theory based primarily on Banduras (1986) social cognitive theory and developed by Lent, Br own, and Hackett (1994) in an effort to understand the processes through which people form interests, make choices, and achieve varying levels of success in educa tional and occupational endeavors. SUBURBAN SETTINGS. Schools located in residential areas on the outskirts of cities or large towns. URBAN SETTINGS. Schools located in areas with a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile and with a mini mum residential population of at least 50,000 people (U. S. Census, 2000). Overview of the Remainder of the Study The remainder of the study is organized into four chapters. In Chapter Two relevant literature is reviewed. Chapter Three provides a description of the res earch methodology and the results of the data analysis are discussed in Chapter Four. The study concludes with a discussion of major findings, implications for practice, and s uggestions for further research in Chapter Five. 27

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CHAPER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This chapter provides a review of the literat ure relevant to the st udy. The review begins with a discussion of career guida nce and moves into a discussion of the economic and societal changes that have made the transition from sc hool to the world of work more complex for our countrys youth. Next the literature on parent al influence and parental involvement in the education of children will be reviewed. Finally, literature describing the influence that parents have on career development will be discussed. Comprehensive Career Guidance To guide students career development invol ves much more than simply learning about occupations and being prepared academically. Career development focuses on the relationships between the academic program and the world of work with its major pur pose being to prepare each individual for living and working in our society. A developmental and comprehensive career guidance program can be the avenue through which st udents develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to attain mean ingful careers (Balcombe, 1995; Wakefield, 2004). The American School Counselor Associati on, a division of the American Counseling Association, promotes the message of career counseling for all students through their ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Couns eling Programs (Dahir, 2004). This model contains student content standards that can be used to design competencies addressing academic, career and personal-social domains. The model can be used as a foundation for schools to develop their own comprehensive, sequential, developmental, and outcome-oriented programs (Dahir, 2004; Hatch & Bowers, 2004). In 1989 the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee developed a set of career guidelines that were re vised in 2004 by the National Car eer Development Association, 28

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also a division of The American Counseling Association. The new guidelines identify and recommend program strategies to support th e career development process throughout life and can assist school counselors and ad ministrators in esta blishing their schools individual career development program. (National Career Development A ssociation, 2005). A comprehensive career guidance program invol ves a total school effort (Harvard Family Research Project, 2007; Erford, Dahir, & Eschba ch, 2003); however, school counselors play an integral part in each students total developm ent (Gordon & Elovitz, 2002). Even though a major focus for school counselors today is on student academic success, they are also involved in personal/social and career developm ent. Counselors strive to help students identify their career interests, select appropriate courses, and choos e the right path to achieve their goals (Gordon & Elovitz, 2002; Niles & Akos, 2003). Planning for the future has become complex fo r students in our incr easingly diverse world. Social structures and personal values change as cultural diversity increases and our economy changes. People are moving to different geograph ical areas in search of economic, social, and emotional security. These changes have a substantial impact on students personal/social, career and academic development (Gysbers, 2001; Lee, 2005). The goal of this study was to gather information from counselors and career specialists in diverse settings to facilitate schools collabo rating with parents to improve the adolescent transition to the world of work. The information gained from the study ca n assist educators in their efforts to increase parental involvement as they meet school reform requirements such as the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the No Child Left Behind Act. This study can provide direction for counselors, career sp ecialists and educator s as they evaluate their current programs 29

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and make plans for future students. The informa tion is also helpful in deciding how to train school counselors in coun selor education programs. Demographic Changes in the United States Societal changes are creating new challenges for American youth and educators (Muscott, 2002; OHare, 2001; Portman, 2009; Sue, Arredo ndo, & McDavis, 1992). The face of our nation is dramatically changing as our population becomes more diverse. The U. S. population increased 13% from 1990 to 2000 and most of this expansion was due to the rapid increase in racial/ethnic minority groups (Sue & Sue, 2003). By the year 2000, the number of children in our country reached a record high of 72.3 million a nd minority children (e.g., any group other than non-Hispanic white) accounted for 98% of the minority growth (OHare, 2001). The percentage of minority children grew from 31% in 1990 to 39% in 2000. It is estimated that by the year 2010, the Caucasian population in the United Stat es will be approximately 48% and ethnic minorities will become the majority (OHare, 2001). OHare (2001) states that ba sed on the effects of the baby boom in the 1950s, the increase in the nations under 18 populati on will place new demands on public education, child care, and family support systems. In addition, a large per centage of these children come from homes in which cultural traditions are unfamiliar to ma ny educators and English is not the primary language. This diversification of America has greatly influenced the needs of our school populations and has posed a real challenge for educators to adequately address those needs (Garcia, 2004; Lapan, Tucker, Ki m, & Kosciulek, 2003; Lee, 2005). Another challenge for education is that the ma jority of teachers today will find that they are responsible for educating stude nts from a much different soci ocultural background than their own (Amatea, 2008). According to the National Center for Edu cation Statistics (2005), white teachers currently account for some 86% of the t eaching force and teachers of color account for 30

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only 14%. Schools must find ways to adapt and change with the times if they are to provide appropriate programs. Educators must acquire new understandings of their students, be capable of addressing diversity and be willing to deve lop individualized and realistic career development programs for todays student population (Evans & Larrabee, 2002: Muscott, 2002: Portman, 2009; Zunker, 2006). Educational reform efforts are driven by th e fact that our school populations are becoming increasingly diverse with higher numbers of students from low-income and minority families in urban and rural communities (Erford, House, & Martin, 2003). The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that schools adopt the philosophy that all children can learn. It has encouraged school reform and highlighted the differences in stud ent needs (Dahir, 2004). The No Child Left Behind Act stresses that schools must provide access to programs, activities and materials to all parents and emphasizes the involvement of parents in planning and decision-making (U. S. Department of Education, 2003). This empowerment of parents can be a valuable tool for educators as they seek help in meeting indi vidual needs of students. Nature of Parental Involvement Decades of research have documented that parents have a powerful influence on their childrens achievement in school (Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Swap, 1993; Trusty, 1998; U.S. Department of Education, 1997; Weiss & Edwa rds, 1992). When families are involved in childrens education, students adapt well to scho ol, do better academically, attend school more regularly, develop positive social skills, graduate from high school at higher rates, and are more likely to enroll in post-seconda ry education (Henderson & Mapp, 2002; U. S. Department of Education, 1997). One way for schools to develop effective program s for diverse youth is to learn how to use parents as resources. In her artic le on a family-school collaborativ e consultation project, Amatea 31

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(2004) points out that although educ ators have long been aware of the influence of family on student achievement, only since th e late 1980s has emphasis been pl aced on ways that educators might work with families to strengthen this conn ection. Prior to this emphasis on collaboration, the relationship between parents and schools was tr aditionally one of the educator being the sole expert who assessed and dictated the course of action or solution to the problem with little to no parental involvement (Amatea, 2004). In a more collaborative model, parents and educators work together as partners to identify needs, resources, and courses of action (Amatea, 2004; Martin & Hagan-Burke, 2002). Since parents are a continuous, generally stable resource, they can be a strong influence in their childrens academic development (Trusty, 1998) In her review of literature on the benefits of parental involvement, Swap ( 1993) states that the data on th e connections between parental involvement and achievement point unambiguously to the strength of the relationship. She also points out that studies in dicate that parents are willing to beco me involved when the activities are meaningful and congruent with family priorities. In their review of parent al involvement research, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement, Henderson and Mapp (2002) found that teacher outreach programs for pare nts resulted in consistent gains in student performance in reading and math. In addition wo rkshops for parents on helping their children at home are linked to higher reading and math scores. Schools with quality parent/school partnerships also make greater gains on state-wide tests. In addition Henderson and Mapp (2002) found schools that effectively engage families from diverse backgrounds share three key practices: Focus on building trusting, collaborative rela tionships among teachers, families and community members 32

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Recognize, respect and address families needs, as well as class and cultural differences Embrace a philosophy of partnership where power and responsibility are shared Using her model of overlapping spheres of in fluence on family-school connections Epstein (1987) has conducted a substant ial amount of research on school, family and community partnerships. When the family, school and co mmunity work as partners, then a caring community forms around the student. She uses the term family-like school for these types of partnerships. According to Epstein (1995b) fam ily-like schools design act ivities that engage, guide, energize, and motivate students to produc e their own successes. Through her research Epstein (1995b) determined six types of parental involvement: Type 1: Parenting: Help all families estab lish home environments to support children as students. Type 2: Communicating: Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school progr ams and childrens progress. Type 3: Volunteering: Recruit and organize parent help and support. Type 4: Learning at Home: Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other cu rriculum-related activities, decision-making, and planning. Type 5: Decision Making: Include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives. Type 6: Collaborating with Community: Identif y and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning and development. Research reveals that as students mature a nd move through school, pare ntal involvement in school decreases. According to the Harvard Family Research Project (2007), this is partially due to the adolescent need to deve lop autonomy and also due to changes in school structure and organization at the secondary level. Even so, fam ily involvement at the secondary level has been found to play a critical role in students academ ic success, school attendance, and transition into 33

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post-secondary programs (Bridge land, Dilulio, Streeter, & Mason, 2008; Harvard Family Research Project, 2007; Dornbusch and Ritter, 1988). A large body of research supports the importance of parental involvement in middle a nd high school and shows that with interventions parental involvement can be strengthened (Harvard Family Research Project, 2007). Since little attention had been given to family involve ment in high school, the Center on Families, Communities, Schools and Childrens Lear ning at Johns Hopkins University began the High School and Family Partners hip Project. The purpose of th is project, which began in 1991, was to learn whether the basic th eories, frameworks, and practices of family involvement at the elementary level were also appropriate fo r secondary schools. The Center developed a partnership with six Maryland hi gh schools: two rural, two urba n, and two suburban. The project researched how schools can develop and implem ent family involvement practices and how partnerships affect the students, families, schools and communities i nvolved (Epstein and Connors, 1994). The project identified the starting point as a trust fund to recognize that past involvement practices can be built upon to create future partnershi ps. The use of the term trust fund also recognized that trus t among participants is an important condition for developing successful practices. Epstein and Co nnors (1994) studied the results of school reports and parent, teacher and student surveys to develop a framew ork for high schools to use to improve familyschool collaboration. In their repo rt they categorized the high school activities using Epsteins six major types of parental involvement for the purpose of assisting other high schools to plan and monitor the development of more comprehensive partnership programs. Sanders, Epstein, and Connors-Tadros (1999) co nducted research on family partnerships with six high schools in Maryland two rural, two urban and two suburban. They surveyed 423 parents at the high schools. Usi ng Epsteins framework of fam ily involvement, the schools had 34

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begun developing partnership programs that included practices for each of the six types of involvement. A preliminary descriptive analysis of the survey data revealed some important findings on parental attitudes: Ninety percent (90 %) of the parents agreed they need to be involve d in their teens high school. Eighty percent (80%) of the parents said they wanted to be more involved and needed information to effectively help their teens at home. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the parents stated that the school had never approached them about volunteer activities and they felt th at these activities were important to their teens school success. Seventy-two percent (72%) be lieved high schools should begi n or improve programs of partnership to help families better understand adolescent development and topics related to teens growth and learning. The results of the research indicated that the parents attitudes toward school were positively influenced by the partnership programs. A key factor in their research was that the results remained constant when controlling for ch aracteristics such as race, gender, academic performance, and parental employment and educational background. The study suggested that differe nt school practices result ed in different parental involvement such as parental involvement at home was positively influenced by school programs that assisted parents and facilita ted interactions with teens. Pa rental involvement at school was positively influenced by school practices that encouraged volunteering and participation in school decision-making. The findings also suggested that the different types of involvement practices resulted in corresponding parental involvement behaviors and that including practices for th e six types of involvement will provide families with the guidan ce and information needed to be effectively involved in their teens education. Results show ed parental involvement at home was positively and significantly influenced by t ype one (parenting) and type four (learning at home). Reports of 35

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involvement were also positively and significantl y influenced by type three (volunteering) and type five (school decision-making). The resear ch also shows that type two (communication) practices are essential for improvement in all of the types of involvement. Although studies have explored the impact of parental invol vement on the relationships among school, home and community (Swap, 1993; Trusty, 1998; Weiss & Edwards, 1992) only recently have studies begun to examine the factor s influencing parent participation (Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001). Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995) proposed a model of the parent involvement process in an effort to explain why parents get involved. The model suggests that parental involvement is motivated by two beliefs : role construction for involvement and sense of efficacy for helping their children succeed academi cally. Parent role construction is defined as parents beliefs about what they are supposed to do in relation to their childrens education and the patterns of parental be havior that follow those belie fs (Hoover-Dempsey, et al., 2005, p.107). Role construction for parental involvement develops over time and is shaped by the personal experiences and expectations of individu als and social groups important to the parent. Since it is socially construc ted, it is subject to change and may be affected by specific interventions (Hoover-Dem psey & Sandler, 1995). Parent self-efficacy for helping th eir child in school is defined as a parents belief in their ability to produce the desired outcomes in their childs education. The mode l asserts that parents develop goals for their involvement based on thei r appraisal of their ab ilities in the situation (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995). Hoover-Dempsey and her associates (2005) revi ewed recent empirical work related to the constructs included in Hoover-Dempsey and Sandle rs work. They concluded from the literature that parents decisions about involvement in th eir childrens education are influenced by role 36

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construction for becoming involved, a sense of self -efficacy in their abilities, their perception of invitations to involvement, and life-context vari ables such as skills, knowledge, time and energy. The most important finding for educators is th at parents decisions about involvement are influenced by schools. Intentional or unintentiona l actions of schools influence parents. Positive action may enhance motivation, but inaction or negative action may dimi nish motivation for many parents. Using Hoover-Dempsey and Sandlers (1997) m odel of the parent involvement process, Deslandes and Bertrand (2005) examined four f actors of parental invol vement in secondary schools in Canada. The factors studied were: a) th e relative strength of pare nts role construction, b) the parents self-efficacy for helping adolesce nts succeed in school, c) the parents perceptions of teacher invitations to become involved, and d) parents perceptions of students invitations to become involved. The study participants were pare nts of adolescents in five Quebec secondary schools in grades seven, eight, and nine. Surveys were received from 770 parents. The results show that researchers must differentiate between involvement at home and involvement at school when examining the predictive power of the f our factors. Parental perceptions of teacher invitations were associated with parental involvement at school acr oss all grade levels. In either home or school involvement, parents became more involved when they perceived that teachers and/or students expected or wanted their involvement. Research has shown the positive effects on edu cation when educators take advantage of parents as a resource and view them as a support rather than as a barrier, yet many schools do not invite parental involvement (Trotman, 2001). Reasons for this lack of involvement may include a territorial attitude from educat ors, a negative perception of the capacity of parents to assist, a lack of time and understanding as to how parents can contribute or a concern as to how to get 37

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parents involved (Giles, 2005; Sw ap, 1993; Trotman, 2001). Parents of ten cite their own lack of knowledge as the reason they do not b ecome more involved (Wakefield, 2004). In a qualitative research st udy with low-income, minority parents, Smrekar and CohenVogel (2001) explored parental ideas and attitudes about educa tion in an effort to understand parents interactions with school staff. The st udy involved parents from a single school located in a minority community in California. The commu nity was composed of Black, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander families with the majority of the Hispanic and Pacific Islander families being first generation immigrants to the United States. The researchers interviewed a random sample of parents from 30 families across grade levels via telephone. From this sample, ten families were chosen for in-home interviews. Questions for the study were clustered around: (a) educational background and experiences, (b) ideas about the meaning and va lue of schooling, (c) idea s about the role of parents in their child rens schooling, and (d) relationships between parents and schools. Researchers had been warned by school officials that it might be unsafe to venture into these homes and school staff had stated that very few families would actually participate. The researchers felt that these comme nts were typical of the histor ically unchallenged views that minority parents with low educational attainment attach little value to the education of their children. These beliefs were not su pported, as only one family out of those initially contacted was unwilling to participate. It is also worth noti ng that nine out of the ten families interviewed stated that if they were asked, they would find ways to increase their involvement at home and school. Many of the parents who were interviewed vi ewed education as a route to financial success. They also recognized that the change s in technology would requi re that their children 38

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obtain at least a high school educa tion. Overall, most parents also wanted their children to pursue post secondary training. Smrekar and Cohen-Vogel (2001) suggest that ov er time parents learn the roles they are expected to assume. Often parent s view their roles as supporters, helpers, and fundraisers rather than as decision makers, partners and collabora tors. These particular parents were generally consistent in their view that attendance at m eetings and assistance with homework were their primary functions. High school outreach and family involvement wa s researched by Simon (2001) in an effort to address the question: When high schools reach out to invol ve parents, are they more likely to become involved? Data was analyzed from over 11,000 parents of high school seniors participating in the National Educational L ongitudinal Study of 1988. He r findings show that outreach positively and significantly predicted parents involvement and that high schools do have the ability to conduct ac tivities that support family invol vement in adolescents learning and development. Through their research on small communities, Harmon and Dickens (2004) found that even though the federal No Child Left Behind Act requir es states and school districts to increase the involvement of parents in schools, rural sc hools are becoming less open to parent and community involvement. These schools face a real challenge in getting meaningful parental involvement. Classrooms no longer have time to accommodate outside visits by community members and school expectations of parents are little more th an helping with homework. A 2002 study of school board members by the National School Board Associat ion found that small school districts (which are mostly rural) provide the fewest o pportunities for community input on school issues (Harmon & Dickens, 2004). 39

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Harmon and Dickens (2004) participated in a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve math and science achievement in Appalachian counties in six states. Their responsibility was to research ways of engaging parents and the community to help raise math and science scores. They found that ru ral educators had little time or expertise in involving parents just as rura l parents and community members knew little about meaningful engagement. One major contribution was the devel opment of engagement teams that consisted of a teacher, a parent, local business owners, religio us leaders, and students. The teams helped communities to collaborate in their efforts to im prove math and science scores. In addition the research demonstrated that change needs to be embraced by not only the pr incipal, but also the superintendent and school board. In an effort to gather more information on how the effects of parental involvement vary for students from diverse racial/ethnic and economic backgrounds, Desimone (2001) examined the relationship between 12 types of parental involvement and eighthgrade mathematics and reading scores. Using data from the National Edu cation Longitudinal Study of 1988, she found that statistically significant differences existed in the relationship be tween parental involvement and student achievement according to the students race/ ethnicity and family income as well as type of achievement measure, type of parental involvement and whet her it was reported by the student or parent. She concluded the findings of the study sugge st that the effectiveness of parental involvement practices differ according to race/ethnicity and family income. More research is needed on effective parental i nvolvement to promote success in diverse family and community contexts for students who may be at risk of educational failure. Such information will assist 40

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educators in responding to the individual needs of children and improve the life success of all students (Desimone, 2001). In 2008 Bridgeland, Dilulio, Str eeter and Mason reported the results of a study sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The pur pose of the study was to give parents a voice and to determine how high schools and parents can wo rk more effectively together to strengthen the education of children. The study consisted of a series of focus groups and a survey of 1,006 parents of current and recent hi gh school students in rural, urban and suburban communities across the nation. The study focused on comparing parents responses fr om high, medium and low performing schools. The results showed that regardless of the familys income, race, ethnicity, or school; parents shar ed common beliefs about the importance of education for their children. Parents with less education, lower incomes and children in low-performing schools were more likely to view rigorous academics and parent involvement as critical for their childrens success. However, only 47% of parent s from the low performing schools believed that their schools encouraged parental involvement as compared to 85% from the higher performing schools. The findings also showed that parents want to be involved, but they expressed a need for better information and tools from schools to beco me effectively involved (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Streeter, & Mason 2008). Citing evidence from research literature a nd her observations a nd interviews as a counselor, consultant and research er in urban schools, Giles (2005) outlines three basic patterns underlying the roles and relationships between parents and educators in urban schools. She suggests that often in the economically poor and working-class urban communities social cues bear down upon parents. At times their identiti es are reframed when they enter the school environment. They receive the message that they are to help their children, but only in a limited 41

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capacity which is defined by educators. Although thes e cues may be subtle at times, they convey a powerful message to parents about who they ar e and their ability to contribute to their childrens schools. In addition the difference in race and social class between educators and urban parents can contribute significant barr iers to developing productive relationships. Giles (2005) identifies one of these relationshi p patterns as the defic it narrative. In this type of relationship pattern, educators consider working-class and low income parents to be deprived, deviant, or at-risk. These parents are viewed as ha ving low expectations for their involvement in their childs educ ation. When school professionals ha ve this view of parents, it translates into low expectations for the student s academic achievement and personal growth and development. A second narrative Giles identified was the in loco parentis or in place of parent narrative. Educators with this view assume that it is their responsibility to provide an academic and at times social and emotional education for students with limited or no participation by parents. Like the deficit narrativ e this view assumes that working-class and poor parents are not capable of contributing to thei r childrens education. The th ird narrative, the relationship narrative, is a more positive view of parents. Parents are expect ed to contribute their knowledge and strengths to improve the school and educators and pare nts hold each other mutually responsible for educating students. The key to this view is that educators work with parents, not for them. Giles (2005) offers her three narratives as a lens through which school counselors can examine the relationships of parents and educators in schools as they work to incorporate the framework of the Transforming School Counseling Initiative. She encourages counselors to determine the extent to which educators in their schools are participating in narratives that limit parents contributions to the e ducation of children and warns that the language of the initiative 42

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itself appears to be that of an in loco parentis narrative. Although the goal is to raise expectations for the potential of parents to work to narrow the achievem ent gap, the language does not articulate a significant role for parents to accomp lish this objective. Her example is that in the counselors scope of work description, parents ar e not mentioned in the leadership, advocacy, or teaming and collaboration areas bu t are identified as re cipients of resources under the counseling and coordination area. Parental Involvement in Career Development The emphasis on increasing parental involvement in childrens schooling is reflected in policies aimed at improving our nations schools. The Goals 2000 legislative mandate to improve public education emphasizes the improvement of learners capacity for productive employment. It does not, however, make a connection between parents and career pla nning (Way & Rossman, 1996). The No Child Left Behind Acts emphasis on parental involvement to ensure student success can be a catalyst to promote parental involvement in career planning. Schools are encouraged to reach out to all pa rents as equal partners. They are to provide parents with training and effective means of communication. Parents are to be encouraged to participate in educational planning and decision-making (U. S. Department of Education, 2007). Therefore, it appears that parental involvement in career planning is a logical part of school reform. Parental influence on childrens career de velopment has been we ll documented (Brown, 2004; Hall, 2003; Trusty, 1998; Way & Rossman, 1996; Whiston & Keller, 2004). In the 1950s Anne Roes research focused on family relati ons and their effects on career development (Zunker, 2002). She theorized that parental styles had major impacts on career decisions (Whiston & Keller, 2004). According to Brown ( 2004) the family is the single most powerful influence on vocational behavior. He also points out that the ma jority of career theories make reference to the familys role in influencing career development. 43

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Whiston and Kellers (2004) comprehensive re view of career literature examined the influence of family of origin on career development. In this review of literature from 1980, they found that to some extent all of the major career development theories address the influence of contextual factors on career developm ent. Contextual factors refer to the influences that exist or are perceived to exist in the environment surrounding a person (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). Contextual factors would, theref ore, include family members. According to Social Cognitive Career Theor y, contextual barriers and supports from a persons environment interact with personal vari ables to predict career self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and career interest s. For example, a persons per ceived parental support system will interact with personal variables such as race, gender or ability to influence the career decision-making process (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). Research indicates that perceive d parental support is a signif icant predictor of career selfefficacy, differences in efficacy expectations and vocational interests (Turner & Lapan, 2003). In an effort to examine some of the reasons rural adolescents may limit their career interests along self-efficacy and gender lines, Lapan, Hinkelman Adams, and Turner (1999) conducted a one group post-test design study utilizing a social cognitive framework. These authors used the instrument, Mapping Vocational Challenges (MVC ), to identify background factors that influence the establishment of vo cational interest patte rns. The study consisted of a sample of 126 adolescents aged 15-18. All were lower mi ddle class and 98% were Caucasian. The study results indicated that perceived parental support was a significan t predictor of differences in career efficacy expectations a nd vocational interests. Students who expected greater parental support generally expressed greater career self-efficacy for an intere st in the area s of Realistic, Investigative, Artistic and Conventional. 44

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The information on the sample is very limited, but the researchers did st ate that replication of their findings is needed with diverse rural gr oups before results can be generalized. The study provides some valuable implications for counsel ors regarding actively en gaging rural parents in the career development process. In their review, Whiston and Keller (2004) su mmarized the findings of 77 studies using 29 different journals across diverse disciplines. They concluded from their review that empirical trends suggest that families do influence youths career development in sp ecific and predictable ways. Family support, attachment, and other fa mily variables are important avenues through which parents have influenced career self -efficacy, decisiveness, commitment and career exploration of adolescents and young adults (Whiston & Keller, 2004). The research on the parental impact on the development of a pers ons self-concept and self-efficacy demonstrates that parents are a vi tal resource to students in any educational endeavor (Chin & Kameoka, 2002; Gallavan, 2003; Hall, 2003; Ha y & Ashman, 2003; Turner & Lapan, 2003). A persons self concept is develo ped gradually through life experiences and interaction with parents, signi ficant others, and peers. In addition vocational self-concept develops over time and is influenced by the e nvironment, life experien ces, physical and mental growth and observation of working adults (Zunker 1990). Self-efficacy is the belief that after one has mastered the skills invo lved in performing a task, one can do the task and transfer that learning to similar tasks (Bandura, 1986). Thes e two key components of career development are dependent on family and environmental factors since a persons assumptions, values and beliefs are modeled and reinforced by the people with whom they interact (Bandura, 1986; Whiston & Keller, 2004). 45

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Hall (2003) and Larson (1995) have suggested the use of a family systems approach to adolescent career development. This approach suggests that adolescen ts be provided with additional family support as they begin to explore interests, establish goals and to actively plan their career development. In addition, parents ma y develop more accurate appraisals of their childrens interests and abilities. If parents are be tter educated in this area, then their career expectations of their children will be more realistic and hopefully more supportive. In a more recent study Young (2006) and his colleagues examined parent-adolescent joint actions that address the adolescent s future. They studied these act ions for their connection to the parent-adolescent relationship a nd communication goals, and the steps taken to reach those goals. The study involved 19 parent-adolescent dy ads with and without challenges such as illness, divorce, and unemployment. The families each identified a family career development project from the joint conversat ions between the two members and the researchers. The pairs were monitored for six months usin g a qualitative action-project method. The results supported the view that vocationa l exploration and decision-making is nested in a complex matrix of human interactions. The study highlights the import ance of relationships and communication between parents and adolescents because life projects are often connected to them in relevant ways. Career support and dire ction that parents provid e and children seek are constructed within their communica tions. The study also points out th at what is often viewed as individual behaviors can be better understood as joint family projects. It also shows a paradigm shift in thinking from a more traditional understanding of pa rent-adolescent relationship variables as influencing career development to one in which goals and personal agency are constructed through relati onships (Young, et al., 2006). 46

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Studies of the career development of dive rse youth have also supported parental involvement (Jackson & Nutini, 2002; Lapan, Hi nkelman, Adams, & Turner 1999; Chin and Kameoka, 2002). Parents or caregivers can be a re source to help provide a missing link to meet the challenges of diversity. Afte r all, parents are experts on thei r children and generally want to be involved in the educational pr ocess, but often are not sure how (Kyle, McIntyre, Miller, & Moore, 2002; McCaleb, 1994). Career information is not very helpful to students if they do not have access to caring adults who can provide guid ance in the transition to the world of work. Since parenting styles, parental attitudes and pa rent-child interactions all play a part in students career decisions (Sharf, 2002), it make s sense that counselors take advantage of parental influence and involve them more dire ctly in student career development. Family involvement can be a valuable avenue for de veloping more effective programs and providing students with needed support (Hall, 2003), but traditionally parents have not been encouraged to become involved in the process (Sage, 2004). Parents need to be encouraged to work as partners with schools to enhance the transition from school to work (Sage, 2004). Palmer and Co chran (1988) tested the effectiveness of a program in Canada designed to assist parents in helping their adolesce nt children in career planning. They used a pre-test/post-test cont rol group design with 40 families. Their results concluded that parents can effec tively foster the development of their children when provided with a program they can follow. According to John Heldrich Center for Work force Development at Rutgers University, while more than six out of ten high school grad uates enter college, onethird of those students who enroll will leave college without obtaining a de gree. The Center states that only 30% of Americans today have a bachelors degree and th e remaining 70% urgently need better career 47

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education and support. In an effort to provide insight that will strengthen the education of young people about careers, work and economic change, Th e Center reviewed the research and data on educational attainment, educational reform, la bor market requirements and career education models. Their research also included five focu s groups with guidance and employment counselors to discuss the shortcomings of guidance counseling in high schools and develop innovative solutions to improvi ng opportunities for young people. A to tal of 38 individuals from across the nation were involved. Their report, The 70 Percent Solution, provides five principles for helping young people make better choices during and after high school. Principle Three from the report explains the impor tance of schools improving the pool of knowledge of parents, guardians, and other stakeholders about the ed ucational and career options and opportunities available to every student. The findings suggest that schools accomplish this goal by utilizing the leadership of school administrators and sc hool counselors, resear ching good practices nationwide, promoting the use of career educa tion tools and websites by students and parents, developing student career and academic plans with full parental involvement, and increasing parent knowledge about car eers (Van Horn, Pierson-Balik, & Schaffner, 2004). Research has shown that parent s do affect their childrens care er efficacy and choices and the importance of involving pare nts in career planning and deci sion-making, yet there is very little information as to how educators might u tilize parents as a resource for effective career development (Hall, 2002; Sage, 2004). This research study can provide counselors with information that may be a key component of succ essful involvement of parents in childrens career education. Summary Research has demonstrated the importance of parental involvement in career development and planning. Families play important roles in the career orientation and career choice of 48

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adolescents. They also influence the transmissi on of values such as independence and ambition. Since family members play such an important role in career planning, it is surprising that research in this area is so sparse. Perhaps this is because there are still barriers that educators and parents must learn to overcome (Giles, 2005) or pe rhaps it is because there is little research available on the actual roles that families play in preparing their ch ildren for work (Way & Rossman, 1996). There is also a dearth of information as to how educators and counselors might best involve parents as a caree r development resource. Althou gh policies and mandates require parental involvement, it is generally left up to the schools to determine the most effective means to work with parents. Whatever the reason for the lack of parental involvement, one thing is certain; school counselors need more information and training on how to involve parent s. Bryan (2004) states that although there is increasing literature a bout school/family/community partnerships, little research can be found addressing the roles or involvement of the school counselor in these partnerships. In her work, Giles (2005) addresses counselor repertoires for building relationships between educators and parents, bu t also points out that even in the description of counselor scopes of work in the Transfor ming School Counseling Initiative, parents are not mentioned in the areas of leadership, advocacy, or teaming a nd collaboration. In thei r research, Hall (2002) and Sage (2004) have stated that there is very little to guide counselors in involving parents in career development. To meet the needs of todays diverse societ y and the changing demands of this century, Sage (2004) states that compre hensive guidance programs must educate parents by providing the knowledge, facilitative skills and at titudes needed to enhance thei r childs career self-assessment, exploration and decision making skills. Pe rhaps schools need more than mandates and 49

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requirements to empower parents. The need for discussion and additional research to develop guidelines or standards to guide parental involvement in career development is clear (Otto, 2000; Turner, 2002; Van Horn, Pierson-Balik & Scha ffner, 2004). The researcher hopes this study provides the first step in articu lating guidelines that assist co unselors and parents in working together. 50

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study was fourfold: 1) to assess the perceptions of high school counselors and career specia lists regarding the value of involving parents in their childs career planning process, 2) to identify th e strategies schools currently use to foster such involvement, 3) to identify barriers that counselors and career specialists believe may prevent successful involvement of parents at the high school level, and 4) to determine if parental involvement activities varied by geogra phic context. In this ch apter the design of the study, the nature of the study variables, the population and sampling procedures, the resultant sample, the instrumentation and instrument development, th e research hypotheses, and the data collection and data analysis procedures are discussed. Design of the Study In this study a cross-sectiona l survey research design was us ed. Survey research has been defined by McGraw and Watson (1976) as a met hod of collecting standardized information by interviewing a sample representative of some population (p.343). Cross-sectional survey designs are used to collect data from groups of individuals at one point in time (Creswell, 2005). A cross-sectional design was chosen for the study for a variety of reasons. First, a cross-sectional survey can be used to examine current attitudes, opinions and practices of individuals (Creswell, 2005), and is the method of choice when these indi viduals are the only ones who can answer the questions (Nelson, 1996). Second, cross-sectional survey methods are useful in measuring a groups involvement in activities or their need for services (Creswe ll, 2005). In this study the use of a survey research method enab led the researcher to examine the opinions and perceptions of high school counselors and career sp ecialists regarding the value of parental involvement in 51

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student career planning, the curren t types of parental involvement and the barriers that may prevent parental involvement. Nature of the Study Variables The variables of interest in the study were eight types of sc hool activities involving parents and two types of barriers to parental involveme nt. The eight school activ ity variables are based on the six types of parental i nvolvement proposed by Joyce Epstein (1995). Variable one is assisting parents with student personal/social development and consists of activities (i.e., workshops or printed information) schools could o ffer to parents to assist them in supporting and guiding their adolescent ch ildren in their personal and social development. Variable two is assisting parents with st udent career exploration and consists of activitie s and resources to assist parents in helping their adolescents to identify their own unique career interests and skills. It also addresses opportunities that can provide parents with support in assisting their adolescent in exploring careers. Variable three is assisting parents with student career planning and decisionmaking and consists of activities and resources that schools could offe r to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents career planning and decision-making. Variable four is assisting parents with student post-secondary planning and consists of various modes of providing information to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents planning for post-secondary education such as online serv ices, printed information, pres entations from post-secondary schools, and workshops. Variable five is facilitating parent voluntee ring/decision-making at the school level and contains activities to actively involve parents in the career guidance program at school through volunteering and opp ortunities for input on career curriculum decisions. These activities may involve surveys, committee membership, and volunteer activities such as classroom and career fair presentations in their area of expertise. Variable six is facilitating general parent/school communication and contains activities and resources schools can provide 52

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to parents to maintain eff ective communication from school to home. These activities and resources address providing tran slators and translated material providing current information about school programs, and providi ng opportunities for informal discussions with school staff. Variable seven is facilitating par ent/school communication about academic matters and consists of activities and resources school s can provide to parents to ma intain effective communication from school to home and from home to school These activities involve communication about student progress, registration, co urse selection, and educationa l planning. Variable eight is collaborating with co mmunity and parents and contains activities to promote the involvement of school, parents, and community as a team to pos itively affect the physical, mental, and social development of adolescents. The two additional study variables focused on po ssible barriers to parental involvement in student career planning and decisi on-making. Variable nine assesse d the barrier that counselors reported experiencing as most significant in thei r efforts to involve pa rents in student career planning and decision-making. It included: a) lack of admi nistrative support (Harmon & Dickens, 2004), b) lack of c ounselor time (Cicero & Barton, 2003) c) limited parent interest (Cicero & Barton, 2003), d) limited financial reso urces (Garcia, 2004; e) limited technological resources, and f) lack of c ounselor training in parental i nvolvement skills (Cicero & Barton, 2003; Garcia, 2004). Variable ten co ncerned the counselors percepti ons of the most significant barrier for parents to overcome in their effort to become involved in their adolescents career planning and decision-making. It in cluded: a) not feeling compet ent to help their adolescent (Cicero & Barton, 2003; Ingram, Wolfe & Lieber man, 2007) b) feeling unwelcomed by the school, (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Streeter, & Mas on, 2008; Cicero & Barton, 2003), c) feeling not 53

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wanted by the student (Ingram, Wolfe & Lieber man, 2007), and d) lack of time to become involved (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Streeter & Mason, 2008; Cicero & Barton, 2003). Population and Sampling Procedures The researcher used an expert sampling method, which is a form of nonprobability sampling. Nonprobability sampling is often used wh en the information itself is more important than gaining a representative sample of the entire population (Nelson, 1996). Approximately 600 high school counselors and career coaches/career development facilitators from two southern states were invited to particip ate. A sample of 184 useable responses was obtained from those who chose to participate. The criterion for select ion of counselors to participate in the study were the following: a) a minimum of two years counseli ng at the high school leve l, b) a minimum of a masters degree in school guidance, c) state certification as a guidance counselor or career coach/career development facilitator (CDF), and d) current employment as a high school guidance counselor or career coach/CDF. Ema il addresses for potential participants were obtained from a search of the state department of education websites. The researcher accessed the state website and acquired the lists of school district websites in Florida and South Carolina. To access school counselors in South Carolina, a list of high schools was generated for each district and counselor email addresses we re obtained from the school website. In some cases the school website did not contain email addr esses and letters were se nt to counselors via U. S. mail. Since the addresses of the Florida high school counselors were more difficult to obtain through the Inte rnet, an introductory lett er was sent via email to the Director of Student Services in each Florida school district. The letter explained th e study and requested that they forward the information to their high school counselors (See Appendix A). In some of the smaller Florida districts, there was no Director of Student Services. In those cases, emails were 54

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sent to the Assistant Superintende nt or principal. In a limited number of cases email addresses were not available and letters were sent to th e appropriate school counselor via U. S. mail. Description of the Study Sample Participants were drawn from Florida and South Carolina. Although there were 221 participants who completed se ction one (demographics) of the survey, only 189 participants completed the entire survey. In addition, there were five participants who did not meet the sampling criteria because they did not have state certification as a counselor, career coach or Career Development Facilitator. Florida issues a Professional Certificate to career specialists or coaches based on the individual districts guidelin es (Florida Department of Education, 2008). In South Carolina career specialists are given the title of Career Development Facilitator (CDF). CDFs must have a bachelors degree and must ha ve completed the national (Global) Career Development Facilitator certificat ion training (South Carolina Department of Education, 2007). As a result, the final sample consisted of 184 participants of which 174 were high school counselors (96%) and 10 (4%) were career coaches or CDFs One hundred seventeen (63.6%) were from Florida and sixty-seven (36.4%) were from South Carolina. It was not possible to obtain a clear response rate due to the researcher depending on th e Florida Directors of Student Services to forward the email invitation to the districts high school counselors and career specialists. In terms of gender, twenty-seven particip ants (14.7%) were male and 157 (85.3%) were female. Among the study participants, 78.8% held masters degrees, 17.9% education specialist degrees, and 3.3% doctoral degrees. The years of e xperience of the participants as high school counselors or career coaches/CDFs were as follows: a) 34.8% had from one to five years, b) 18.5% had from six to ten years, c) 13% had from eleven to fifteen years, and d) 33.7% had more than 15 years. Among the participants 93.4% were full-time high school guidance counselors, 55

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1.1% worked as part-time high school guidance c ounselors, 3.3% were full-time career coaches or CDFs, and 2.2% worked part-time as career coaches or CDFs. Table 3-1 summarizes the demographic data on the sample population. Table 3-1. Demographic data on the sample population Characteristics (N=184) Total N Total % Rural N % Urban N % Suburban N % Gender Male 27 14.7 9 16.1 9 18.8 9 11.3 Female 157 85.3 47 83.9 39 81.2 71 88.7 State of employment Florida 117 63.6 26 46.4 39 81.2 52 65.0 South Carolina 67 36.4 30 53 .6 9 18.8 28 35.0 High school counseling 1-5 years 64 34.8 18 32 .1 17 35.4 29 36.2 6-10 years 34 18.5 13 23 .2 6 12.5 15 18.8 11-15 years 24 13.0 7 12.5 3 6.3 14 17.5 More than 15 years 62 33.7 18 32.2 22 45.8 22 27.5 Highest degree earned Masters 145 78.8 48 85.7 37 77.1 60 75.0 Specialists 33 17.9 6 10.7 10 20.8 17 21.2 Doctoral 6 3.3 2 3.6 1 2.1 3 3.8 Type of position Part-time counselor 2 1.1 2 3.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 Full-time counselor 172 93.4 50 89.3 44 91.7 78 97.5 Part-time career coach (CDF) 4 2.2 3 5.3 1 2.1 0 0.0 Full-time career coach (CDF) 6 3.3 1 1.8 3 6.2 2 2.5 As part of the demographic information requested in the survey, participants were asked to describe their school setting and student populatio n. Survey definitions for school setting were: a) rural: small town, countryside, agricultural; b) urban: located in a city with a residential population of at least 50,000, c) subu rban: located on the outskirts of a city or large town. Fiftysix (30.4%) participants classified their high school settings as rural, forty-eight participants (26.1%) as urban, and eighty partic ipants (43.5%) as suburban. The size of the participants high schools ranged from .5% having a population of over 4000, 33.2% with a population ranging between 2001 and 4000, 46.7% with a population between 1001 and 2000, 12.5% with a population between 501 and 1000, and 7.1% with a population of 500 or less. The minority composition of the high schools was as follows: a) 13% had a minority enrollment of 76-100%, 56

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b) 19.6% had a minority enrollment of 51-75%, c) 35.3% had a minority enrollment of 26-50%, and d) 32.1% had a minority enrollment of 0-25%. Data is presented for school size, student so cioeconomic status, and minority enrollment by geographic area in Tables 3-2, 3-3, and 3-4, respectively. Table 3-2. Size of school by geographic area School size Rural % Urba n % Suburban % Total % 1-500 14.3 4.2 3.8 7.1 501-1000 26.8 6.3 6.3 12.5 1001-2000 53.5 47.8 41.2 46.7 2001-4000 5.4 39.6 48.7 33.2 4000+ 0.0 2.1 0.0 .5 As can be seen in Table 3-2, the majority of the participants from both rural (53.5%) and urban (47.8%) settings reported working in scho ols that ranged in size from 1001-2000 students. The majority of the participants from suburban schools (48.7%) reported working in schools that ranged in size from 2001-4000 students. No rural or suburban participants reported working in schools larger than 4000 students and only 2.1 % of urban participants reported working in schools of that size. Among the pa rticipants working in rural se ttings 14.3 % reported working in small high schools ranging in size from 1-500 stude nts. In contrast urban participants reported only 4.2% and suburban participants reported 3.8% working in small high schools of 1-500 students. Table 3-3. School student socioeco nomic status by geographic area % Free and reduced lunch Rural % Urban % Suburban % Total % 0-25 10.7 16.7 32.5 21.7 26-50 44.6 43.7 48.7 46.2 51-75 26.8 25.0 13.8 20.7 76-100 17.9 14.6 5.0 11.4 As can be seen in Table 3-3, the majority of participants from all th ree geographic settings worked in schools with 26-50% of their stude nts on free or reduced lunch. Among the suburban participants, 32.5% worked in schools in the 025 % range and only 5% worked in schools with 57

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76-100% of their enrollment on free or reduc ed lunch. Among the rural participants, 17.9% worked in schools with 76-100 percent of their students on free or reduced lunch. Table 3-4. School minority enrollment by geographic area % Minority Rural % Urba n % Suburban % Total % 0-25 42.8 18.7 32.5 32.1 26-50 26.8 27.1 46.3 35.3 51-75 17.9 27.1 16.2 19.6 76-100 12.5 27.1 5.0 13.0 As can be seen in Table 3-4, only five percen t of the participants in suburban schools had minority enrollments of 76-100 % in contrast to participants from urban schools at 27.1% and rural schools at 12.5%. The majority (46.3%) of the suburban participants worked in schools with 26-50 % minority enrollment. The enrollment at the urban schools did not vary as much as the rural and suburban schools with 18.7% of the participants from school s with 0-25 % minority and each of the remaining three categories ha ving 27.1% minority enrollment. Among the participants from rural schools, 42.8% worked in schools with 0-25 percent minority and 12.5% from schools with 76-100 % minority. Instrumentation The study utilized an Internet-based survey created by the researcher to examine participants perceptions about the importance of parental invo lvement practices in the career development of high school students in divers e geographic settings. No survey existed to measure school counselors perceptions of parental involvement in student career development. As a result, a survey was developed based on th e six types of parental involvement proposed by Epstein (1995a) and the goals and objectives specified in the NC DA guidelines (National Career Development Association, 2005). The instrument consisted of three sections In section one (ite ms 1-12), demographic information was requested. Participants were aske d to provide information that included their 58

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gender, age, highest degree in counseling, year s of experience as a high school counselor, whether or not they were full-time counselors or career coaches or CDFs, and whether or not they were a state certified sc hool guidance counselor, career coach or CDF. In addition, information was requested regarding the nature of the student population of the school in which the counselor was employed (i.e., minority co mposition, geographical location, socioeconomic status) during the 2007-2008 school year. Section two consisted of 37 Likert-style it ems depicting various parental involvement activities. These items were developed based on th e six types of parental involvement formulated by Epstein (1995): a) parenting, b) communicating, c) volunteering, d) learning at home, e) decision-making, and f) collaborating with th e community; and the th ree career development domains specified by the National Career Development Guidelines: a) personal and social development, b) educational achievement and lifelong learning, and c) career management (National Career Development Association, 2005). For each of the 37 items, participants used a Likert scale ranging from one to four to rate the importance of career involvement activities with a rating of four being an important activity, a three being a relatively important activity, two being a not too important activity, and one being an unimportant activity. Participants also indicated by marking a response of yes or no whether their school curren tly provided each of the 37 activities. Section three was composed of two multiple-cho ice questions describing potential barriers to parental involvement. These ba rriers were chosen from the literature on parental involvement in schools. In the first question, participants we re asked to select the most significant barrier posed by schools from a list of six possible barrie rs. In the second questio n, participants were 59

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asked to select from among four possible barrie rs experienced by parents, the one they believed to be the most significant barr ier to parents becoming involved in student career planning. Instrument Development Internal validity of section two of the survey was estab lished by means of the following procedures. First a pool of 37 car eer involvement items was devel oped that assessed the value and type of parental involvement in student career planning activities. These items were categorized under the six types of parental involvement developed by Joyce Epstein (1995a). This item pool was reviewed by a panel of expe rts consisting of a high school counselor, a state career guidance curriculum director, a district guidance director, and a state career and technology director. Based on the suggestions from the panel, th e item pool was revised and the items were grouped under seven different subscales. Subscale one, assisting parents with student personal/social development contained activities (e.g., works hops or printed information) schools could offer to parents to assist them in supporting and guiding th eir adolescent children in their personal and social development. The skills addressed were: a) being achievement oriented, b) getting along with others, and c) having positive work habits. A sample item was: Conduct workshops to provide parents with in formation about helpi ng their adolescents to become more achievement oriented. Subscale two, assisting parents with student career exploration consisted of activities and resources to assist parents in helping their adolescents to id entify their own unique career interests and skills. It also addressed opportuni ties that can provide pa rents with support in assisting their adolescent in exploring careers. Three different modes of service delivery were listed. These were: a) workshops, b) printed inform ation, and c) career fairs. A sample item was : 60

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Conduct workshops to assist parents in helping th eir adolescents identify their career interests and skills. Subscale three, assisting parents with student career planning and decision-making contained activities and resources that schools could offer to pare nts to assist them in guiding their adolescents career planning and decision-making. The modes of service delivery were: a) printed information, b) workshops, c) parent conf erences, and d) websites. A sample item was: Provide parents with printed information on how to support students in decision-making and career planning. Subscale four, assisting parents with student post-secondary planning information consisted of various modes of providing informati on to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents planning for post-secondary educ ation. The modes of delivery were: a) online services, b) printed information, c) presenta tions from post-secondary schools, and d) workshops. A sample item was: Coordinate with state and/or district staff to provide families with access to online services to assist in pos t secondary planning for college or career training programs. Subscale five, facilitating parent vol unteering/decision-making at the school level contained activities to actively involve parents in the career guidance program at school through volunteering and opportunities to have input on career curriculum decisions. These activities involved surveys, committee membership, and volunteer activities such as classroom and career fair presentations in their area of expertise. A sample item was: Cooperate with school staff to conduct an annual survey to identify av ailable parent talents and skills. Subscale six, facilitating parent/school communication, contained items that depicted activities and resources schools can provide to parents to mainta in effective communication from 61

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school-to-home and home-to-sc hool regarding student progres s, educational planning, high school registration, school policie s, career planning, and post-s econdary planning. The means of communication addressed and/or tran slated print. A sample item was : Collaborate with school staff to provide parents with current information about school were providing: a) printed information, b) online services, c) formal parent meetings, d) informal gatherings, e) translators programs via brochures, emails, web pages, or letters home. Subscale seven, collaborating with community and parents contained items that promote the involvement of school, parents, and commu nity as a team. This collaboration provides support and information to parents that can posi tively affect the physical mental, and social development of adolescents and, therefore, enhances their chance of career success. These items addressed: a) developing community and business partnerships, b) promoting service integration, c) developing community service programs, and d) providing information on available resources. A sample item was: Encourage school staff to develop community service programs that involve students, parents, and community members. As a second step, a panel of three professors from the school counseling field evaluated the items to determine if they were suitable indicators of the subscale for which they were developed. The panel members completed an item sort. They were each given an envelope containing 37 slips of paper. Each slip of pape r contained one of the 37 student career planning activities. The panel members were also given seve n sheets of paper. At the top of each piece of paper was written one of the seven subscales. Panel members were instructed to place each activity item under the subscale for which they judged it to be an indicator. The panel members were asked to tape the activitie s on the appropriate page. They we re also asked for their input on 62

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the appropriateness of the activity and the word ing used to describe it. Once this task was completed the panel members mailed their response s to the researcher in the envelope provided. The researcher compiled the panelists res ponses and established acceptance criteria of 66% agreement among panel members as the requirem ent for an item to remain unaltered in that subscale. If two out of the three panel members placed an item in the same subscale as the researcher, then the item remained. If an item did not rate two out of three, then it was discarded, moved, or rewritten depending on th e input of the panel members. Items 1-6 in the first subscale, assisting parents with student personal/social development all rated 66% or 100% agreement with the researcher. Those items remained unchanged in the first subscale. Items 7-9 in the second subscale, assisting parents w ith student career exploration also rated 66% or 100% ag reement with the researcher and remained unchanged. In the third subscale, assisting parents with student career planning and decision-making items 10 and 11 rated 100% and 66% agreement, respectively, with the researcher and remained unchanged. All three panel members disa greed with the placement of item 12, Coordinate with school staff to conduct an annual survey to dete rmine student and parent needs for career and educational planning. Upon closer examination of the wo rding of the item the researcher determined that it was more appropriately placed in subscale five, facilitating parent volunteering/decision-making at the school level. Item 13, Provide parents with opportunities for conferences each year with the school counselor to discuss their adol escents educational and career planning, rated a 66% disagreement with the researcher. It was reworded by omitting the word educational which made it clearer to the reader that the researcher was asking about career planning. Item 14 Collaborate with school staff to provide parents with current information about career opportunities via printed material such as newsletters, school websites, 63

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brochures and letters was placed unanimously by the pane l members under the second subscale, assisting parents with student career exploration This placement did appear to be a much better fit and it was moved to that subscale by th e researcher. Items 15-18 in subscale four, assisting parents with student post secondary planning, rated a 66% or 100% agreement with the researcher and they remained unchanged. Subscale five was facilitating parent volunteering/d ecision-making at the school level Items 19, 21, 24, and 25 rated either 66% or 100% ag reement with the rese archer and remained unchanged in that subscale. Item 20, collaborate with school staff to conduct an annual survey to identify available parent talents and skills was placed by two of the panel members in subscale seven, collaborating with community and parents It was reworded to make it clearer that only parents were being surveyed and it remain ed in subscale five. The revised item is: coordinate with school to conduct an annual survey of parents to identify available parent talents and skills Two of the panel members placed item 22, collaborate with school staff to provide a school career fair for students and parents, in subscale two, assisting parents with student career e xploration. The researcher agreed this was a more appropriate placement for the item. The word collaborate was changed to coordinate for purposes of clarity and the item was moved to subscale two. Item 23, encourage the involvement of par ents at school career fairs, rated a 66% disagreement and the researcher determined that it was not clear to readers that parents were to participate in the career fair. The item was revised to promote the use of parents in making presentations about their careers at school career fairs and remained in subscale five. In subscale six, facilitating parent/school communications items 26, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34 rated a 66% or 100% agreement with the researcher and remained unchanged. Two of the panel members disagreed with the researcher on item 28, provide parents with opportunities for 64

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conferences with the school counselor re garding their adolescents academic progress and personal/social development. They placed the item in subscale one, assisting parents with personal/social development The researcher determined that this item could be placed in several subscales and decided to eliminate it from the survey. All three panel members disagreed with the placement of item 29 provide parents with access to a guidance website that contains current information on career pl anning and post-secondary education. Upon further examination of the item, the researcher determined that it actually addressed subscales three and four; hence the item was revised and placed under each of those subscales. All items in subscale seven rated 100% agre ement with the researcher and remained unchanged. Upon further examination of the responses from the panel of experts, it was determined that the item, provide parents with access to a gui dance website that contains current information on career planning and post-secondary education was unnecessary because it was addressed in previous items. This ite m was omitted. In addition, subscale six, facilitating parent/school communications was divided into two separate subscales to more efficiently measure types of parent/school communications. Subscale six was changed to facilitating general parent/school communications and contained the following four items: Encourage school staff to provide tr anslators for parents when needed. Encourage school staff to provi de translated print material for parents when needed. Provide parents with current information about school programs via brochures, emails, web pages, or letters home. Provide parents with opportunities for informal discussions with staff members such as lunch with the counselor, breakfa st with the principal or info rmal meetings with teachers. Subscale seven became facilitating parent/school communications about academic matters and contained the following three items: 65

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Provide parents with regular communicat ions about their adolescents progress. Provide information to parents about cour se selection, registration, and educational planning. Conduct meetings for parents of entering ni nth grade students to explain academic requirements, registration, course offeri ngs and school policies and procedures. With the addition of another subs cale, the previous subscale seven, collaborating with community and parents, became subscale eight. After the revision of section two of the surv ey was completed, this section contained 37 items with two parts. The first part addresse d the importance of activities and the second part addressed the provision of the ac tivity by the participants sch ools. Each part was numbered separately (See Appendix F). The next step of establishing a valid survey instrument was to conduct a pilot test of the online survey format Four recent graduates of the University of Floridas counselor education doctoral program piloted the instrument. The students provided feedback regarding the appropriateness of the items, the readability of the questions, the ease of completion, the length of time required to comple te the survey, and the manageability of the web-based technology. The feedback included a tim e element of not more than 15 minutes to complete the survey. There were no concerns expr esses regarding readabili ty, appropriateness of the items or ease of completion. One concern was raised regarding the manageability of the webbased technology. The survey was set up to require an answer to each item before a participant can move to the next item. This requirement cau sed confusion for one of the pilot participants. She evidently skipped a question and was unable to move through the survey and stopped the instrument prematurely. The survey was revised to allow participan ts to move through the survey even though they may have skipped a question. This revision would allow participants to skip questions they did not feel comfortable answering and would better ensure that participants moved through the entire survey. 66

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Data Collection Procedures After securing approval from the University In stitutional Research Board, participants were contacted in the following manner. Each part icipant was invited to participate via an email letter (See Appendices A, B and C for samples of the letters to the sc hool counselors, career specialists and the Directors of Student Services) in which the pur pose of the research, the time involved, the informed consent, and the data co llection process were explained. The conditions of the informed consent were described and dire ctions for accessing the link to the survey were explained. Potential participants were informed th at only the researcher would have access to the data and that there would be no identifying info rmation. They were also assured that their identities would not be revealed in the final research report. The potential participants were informed that they did not have to answer any qu estion that they did not wi sh to answer and that they were free to withdraw their consent and di scontinue their participat ion at any time. They were informed that there were no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits. In return for participating in the survey, participants were given the opportunity to request copies of the resulting study data and articles th at might be written by th e researcher regarding. The researchers email address was provided so that interested participants could contact her for the results. Two participants ha ve requested results of the study. The study survey was delivered elec tronically using SurveyMonkey.com. ( http://www.surveymonkey.com/home.asp ). SurveyMonkey.com is a secure and confidential site through which researchers can design surveys, colle ct responses, and analyze results. Access to the results is limited to the researcher and is password protected. Surv eyMonkey.com states in their privacy policy that data collected are kept private and confidential. Servers are owned and maintained by SurveyMonkey staff and are kept at Berbee Networks ( www.berbee.com ). 67

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Hypotheses The following null hypotheses were esta blished for this research study: HO1 : High school counselors and career speciali sts assign a low degree of importance to activities designed to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and deci sion-making, d) student postsecondary planning, e) parent volunteering/ decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. HO2 : There are no significant differences among rural, urban, and suburban high schools counselors and career sp ecialists in the degree of importa nce they assigned to activities designed to assist parents with a) students personal/social de velopment, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-maki ng, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteer ing/decision-making, f) genera l parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academ ic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. HO3 : Schools provide no activities to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career explorati on, c) student career planning and decisionmaking, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteerin g/decision-making, f) general parent/school comm unication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/comm unity/parent collaboration. HO4: There are no significant differences am ong rural, urban, and suburban high schools in the number of activities they provide to assi st parents with a) st udents personal/social development, b) student career explorati on, c) student career planning and decisionmaking, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteerin g/decision-making, f) general parent/school comm unication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/comm unity/parent collaboration. HO5: There is no significant a ssociation between the level of importance and the number of activities reported by counselors for each of the eight subscales. HO6: There are no significant differences among rural, urban, and suburban high school counselors and career speci alists in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for schools in preventing the involveme nt of parents in st udent career planning and decision-making. HO7: There are no significant differences am ong rural, urban, and suburban high school counselors and career speci alists in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for parents in preventing the involve ment of parents in student career planning and decision-making. 68

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Data Analytic Procedures The following demographic data was computed for the participants in the study and the student population they served during the 2007-08 school year: a) par ticipants gender, b) participants age, c) participants years as a high school counselor, ca reer coach or Career Development Facilitator (CDF), d) participants highest degree in counseling, e) participants state of employment, f) the geographic setting of the participants schoo l (rural, urban, or suburban), g) the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, and h) the percentage of students who are a minority. To determine the reliability of the survey instrument, a Cronbachs alpha coefficient was computed. Alpha coefficients ranging from 0-1 can be used to describe the reliability of an instrument consisting of questions with two answer s or scaled answers. The higher the score, the more reliable the instrument is. Coefficients ove r .70 are generally considered adequate (Santos, 1999). For the total survey instrument of eight subscales, a Cronbachs alpha of .919 indicated good reliability. Table 3-5 illustrates the individual subscale correlation with the total instrument and Cronbachs alpha should the subs cale be deleted. It is interesti ng to note that the subscale, academic communication had a very low correlation with th e total instrument. When that was deleted, Cronbachs alpha increased to .932. Table 3-5. Cronbachs Alpha Coef ficient with deleted variable Deleted Subscale Correlation with the total instrument Cronbachs Alpha Personal/social .845704 .900074 Career exploration .833362 .900350 Career planning .867363 .897288 Post secondary planning .732332 .910604 Parent volunteering .825656 .901399 General communication .666506 .914288 Academic communication .357560 .932054 Collaboration .758336 .906759 To determine the importance that participants attributed to parent involvement in career planning and decision-making and the degree to wh ich their schools involved parents in this 69

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area, means and standard deviations were compute d. In addition, to determine if the participants ratings of importance of parental involvement activities and the number of parent involvement activities provided varied across geographic school settings (rural, urban, and suburban) a series of Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance of ranks (KWANOVA) was computed. In this analysis the dependent variables for the study were the eight types of pa rental involvement and the independent variable was the school setting (rural, urban and suburban). A criterion p-value of .05 was used to determine the overall significance of the tests. To determine if a relationship existed between the ratings of importance and th e number of activities that schools provide, Spearman correlation coefficients were computed for each subscale. Lastly, a comparison of rural, urban, and suburban partic ipants perceived barriers to pare ntal involvement was computed by means of Fishers Exact Test. 70

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CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS In this chapter, the results of the study are presented in two sections, hypo theses testing and a summary of the findings. The first sec tion answers each hypothesis individually and includes descriptive data and th e results of the data analysis The second section provides a summary of the findings. A discussion based on those results follows in Chapter Five. Hypotheses Testing The variables of interest for hypotheses one th rough five were the ei ght subscales scores for depicting different types of parent involvement activities for student career planning. These eight subscales were utilized in two different ways. First, the pa rticipants ranke d the importance of each parent involvement activity depicted by an item by means of the following four point scale: 1) unimportant, 2) not t oo important, 3) relatively importa nt, and 4) important. Second, the participants indicated, by choosing a yes or no response, whether each activity depicted in an item was currently being provided by their school. Data was compiled to determine the importance and actual number of activities schools provided from each of the eight subscales. The variables of interest for hypotheses six and seven were the barriers that counselors believe that schools and parents must overcome in their efforts to increase parent involvement in career planning and decision-making. The survey in strument included two items regarding these barriers. In the first item part icipants completed a multiple-choice question by indicating which of the six listed barriers they believed to be the most significant ba rrier for counselors to overcome in their efforts to involve parents in career planning and decision-making. In the second item participants completed a multiple-c hoice question by indicating which of the four listed barriers was in their opinion the most significant barrier for parents to overcome in their effort to become involved in their adoles cents career planning and decision-making. 71

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Hypotheses One HO1: High school counselors assign a low degree of importance to activities designed to assist parents with a) student personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and deci sion-making, d) student post-s econdary planning, e) parent volunteering/decision-making, f) general pare nt/school communicati on, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/par ent collaboration. To test this hypothesis means and standard de viations were computed for each subscale. The eight subscales consisted of different numbers of items. Table 4-1 il lustrates the range of possible scores for each subscale, the subscale m ean, the standard deviation (SD), and the total subscale mean based on the possible range of scores per subscale. Alt hough the total subscale means are provided, the subscale means are more m eaningful to the reader when considering the 4.0 scale that was used. Only three subscales had a subscale mean below 3.50. These were personal/social, career exploration and parent volunteering. Academic communication had the highest mean of 3.94 and parent volunteering had the lowest mean with 3.21. In summ ary, all eight subscales were rated to be either relatively important or important to the total group of partic ipants. In view of these results, Hypothesis One was rejected. Table 4-1. Subscale means and standard deviati ons of the importance of parent involvement activities Subscale Range of possible scores per subscale Subscale mean Standard deviation Total subscale mean Personal/social 6-24 3.34 .607 19.489 Career exploration 5-20 3.46 .563 16.783 Career planning 4-16 3.52 .497 13.770 Post-secondary planning 5-20 3.67 .374 17.897 Parent volunteering 7-28 3.21 .578 21.880 General communication 4-16 3.61 .398 14.043 Academic communication 3-12 3.94 .187 11.587 Collaboration 3-12 3.58 .475 10.571 72

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Hypothesis Two HO2 : There are no significant differences among urban, suburban and rural high school counselors in the degree of importance they assign to activities designed to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteering/decisionmaking, f) general parent/sc hool communication, g) parent /school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. To test Hypothesis Two, a series of Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance of ranks (KWANOVA) was computed to assess the differences in counselors ratings of importance for each subscale across the geographic settings. Th e KWANOVA is a nonparametr ic statistical test used in analyzing data from two or more indepe ndent samples. The tests purpose is to determine whether or not the average differences between the groups are due to chance or to a treatment effect (Shavelson, 1996). The KWANOVA does not a ssume normality and it is not necessary to have the same number of subjects or measur ements in each group (Shavelson, 1996; McDonald, 2008). The skewed nature of the study data and the difference in subject number supported the use of this test. The Kruskal-Wallis test has a chi-square distribution with two degrees of freedom. A criterion p-value of .05 was used. The results of these analyses are depicted in Table 4-2. Subscale one, assisting parents with student personal/social development, contained six items regarding activities schools could offer to parents to assi st them in supporting and guiding their adolescent children in their personal and social development. The rural mean for this subscale was 3.41 and the standard deviation was .587. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.30, and the standard deviation was .682. The subur ban mean for this subscale was 3.31 and the standard deviation was .576. The KWANOVA reveal ed there was not a significant difference in 73

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the responses of the three groups as there was a chi-square value of 1.14 at a level of significance of .566. Hence, the difference in importance at tributed to assisting parents with student personal/social development among the three groups was not significant. Subscale two, a ssisting parents with st udent career exploration contained five items regarding activities and resources to assist parents in helping their adolescents to identify their own unique career interests and skills. The rural m ean for this was 3.46 and the standard deviation was .553. The urban mean for this subs cale was 3.40 and the standard deviation was .635. The suburban mean for this subscale was 3.50 and the standard deviation was .528. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a significant di fference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-square value was .60 at a level of significance of .741. Hence, the difference in importance attributed to assisti ng parents with student career exploration among the three groups was not significant. Subscale three, assisting parents with student career planning and decision-making contained four items regarding activities and re sources that schools coul d offer to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents care er planning and decision-making. The rural mean for this subscale was 3.55 and the standard devi ation was .480. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.46 and the standard deviation was .551. The suburban mean for this subscale was 3.54 and the standard deviation was .479. The KWANOVA rev ealed there was not a significant difference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-square value was .590 at a level of significance of .745. Hence, the difference in importance attributed to assisting parents with student career planning and decision making among th e three groups was not significant. Subscale four, assisting parents with student post-secondary planning information contained five items regarding various modes of providing information to parents to assist them 74

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in guiding their adolescents planning for postsecondary education. The rural mean for this subscale was 3.62 and the standard deviation was .395. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.67 and the standard deviation was .385. The subur ban mean for this subscale was 3.71 and the standard deviation was .352. The KWANOVA reveal ed there was not a significant difference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-squa re value was 1.61 at a level of significance of .448. Hence, the difference in importance attributed to assisting parents with student postsecondary planning information among the three groups was not significant. Subscale five, facilitating parent vol unteering/decision-making at the school level contained seven items regarding activities to ac tively involve parents in the career guidance program at school through volunteering and opport unities to have input on career curriculum decisions. The rural mean for this subscale wa s 3.18 and the standard deviation was .592. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.20 and the standard deviation was .602. The suburban mean for this subscale was 3.25 and the standard deviation was .560. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a significant difference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-square value was .461 at a level of significance of .794. Hence, the difference in importance attributed to facilitating parent volunteerin g/decision making among the three groups was not significant. Subscale six, facilitating general parent/school communications contained four items on activities and resources schools can provide to parents to mainta in effective communication from school-to-home and home-to-school regarding all aspects of the sc hool program. The rural mean for this subscale was 3.62 and the standard devi ation was .397. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.59 and the standard deviation was .415. The suburban mean for this subscale was 3.62 and the standard deviation was .394. The KWANOVA rev ealed there was not a significant difference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-square value was .220 at a level of significance of 75

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.897. Hence, the difference in importance attri buted to facilitating general parent/school communications among the three groups was not significant. Subscale seven, facilitating parent/school communications about academic matters contained three items on the importance of schools providing parents with effective communication from school-to-home and hometo-school regarding student progress, educational planning, high school registration, and school policie s and procedures. The rural mean for this subscale was 3.92 and the standard deviation was .246. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.98 and the standard deviation was .082. The suburban mean for this subscale was 3.93 and the standard deviation was .183. The KW ANOVA revealed there was not a significant difference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-square value was .232 at a level of significance of .313. Hence, the diffe rence in importance attributed to facilitating parent/school communications about academic matters am ong the three groups was not significant. Subscale eight, collaborating with community and parents, contained three items that promote the involvement of school, parents and co mmunity as a team. The rural mean for this subscale was 3.63 and the standard deviation was .455. The urban mean for this subscale was 3.60 and the standard deviation was .444. The subur ban mean for this subscale was 3.54 and the standard deviation was .508. The KWANOVA reveal ed there was not a significant difference in the responses of the three groups as the chi-squa re value was .800 at a level of significance of .671. Hence, the difference in importance attributed to collaborating with community and parents among the three groups was not significant. Given these results, there appear to be no significant differences among participating counselors and career speci alists from rural, urban, and subu rban high schools in the degree of importance they assigned to activities to assist parents with a) students personal/social 76

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development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planni ng, e) parent volunteering/ decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. Hence, Hypothesis Two failed to be rejected. Table 4-2. Parent involvement subscales importance ratings by geographic setting Subscale Rural (N=56) means S.D. Urban (N=48) means S.D. Suburban (N=80) means S.D. x 2 (df=2) p=* Personal/Social (6 items) 3.41 .587 3.30 .682 3.31 .576 1.14 .566 Career exploration (5 items) 3.46 .553 3.40 .635 3.50 .528 0.60 .741 Career planning (4 items) 3.55 .480 3.46 .551 3.54 .479 0.59 .745 Post-secondary planning (7 items) 3.62 .395 3.67 .385 3.71 .352 1.61 .448 Parent volunteering (4 items) 3.18 .592 3.20 .602 3.25 .560 0.46 .794 General communication (3 items) 3.62 .397 3.59 .415 3.62 .394 0.22 .897 Academic communication (3 items) 3.92 .246 3.98 .082 3.93 .183 2.32 .313 Collaboration (3 items) 3.63 .455 3.60 .444 3.54 .508 0.80 .671 *p=.05 Hypothesis Three HO3 : Schools provide no activities to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planni ng, e) parent volunteering/ decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. To test this hypothesis means and standard de viations were computed for each subscale. To determine if the schools provided these types of parent involvement activities, any subscale score higher than zero would indicate that the activities we re provided. Each of the eight subscales consisted of a different number of items which resulted in a different range of scores for each subscale. For example, in the area of parent volunteering schools had a possibility of 77

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providing from zero to seven activities. The subs cale mean for the number of activities provided in this subscale is 3.12. This indicates that an average of 3.12 of the seven activities was provided by the participants schools. To make this figure more meaningful a percentage of total activities provided was also computed for each item by dividing the total number of yes responses by the total number of possible yes responses for each subscale. These percentages ranged from 38% to 97%. The subscale of parent volunteering had a percentage of 45. This means that 45% of the participan ts reported that their schools provided that activity. Table 4-3 illustrates the possible range of scores, the m eans, the standard deviations (SD) and the percentages of activities provided for each subscale. The subscale with the highest percentage of activities was academic communication (97%). This subscale had a range of zero to three and a mean of 2.89. These results indicated that most schools provided these thr ee activities. The subscale with the second highest mean was post-secondary planning This subscale which had a range of zero to five had a mean of 4.07 and the percentage of activities provided was 82%. Personal/social activities resulted in the lowest mean of 2.24 out of a possible si x activities and the lowest per centage of activities provided at 38%. The results show participants believed thei r schools provided activiti es to involve parents in student career planning a nd decision-making as evidenced by the subscale percentages ranging from 38% to 97% of activities provide d. Hence, Hypothesis Three was rejected. Table 4-3. Subscale means, standard deviati ons and percentages fo r parent involvement activities provided Subscale (possible range of scores) Mean Standard deviation % of possible activities provided Personal/social (0-6) 2.24 1.90 38% Career exploration (0-5) 3.22 1.53 66% Career planning (0-4) 2.64 1.04 67% Post-secondary planning (0-5) 4.07 1.06 82% Parent volunteering (0-7) 3.12 1.76 45% General communication (0-4) 3.14 .72 80% Academic communication (0-3) 2.89 .34 97% Collaboration (0-3) 2.30 .93 80% 78

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Hypothesis Four HO4 : There are no significant differences among urban, suburban and rural high schools in the number of activities they provide to assi st parents with a) st udents personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planni ng, e) parent volunteering/ decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. To test Hypothesis Four, a series of Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance of ranks (KWANOVA) was computed to assess the differences in counselors ratings of importance for each subscale across the geographic settings. Th e KWANOVA is a nonparametr ic statistical test used to analyze data from two or more independ ent samples. The tests purpose is to determine whether or not the average differences between the groups are due to chance or to a treatment effect (Shavelson, 1996). The KWANOVA does not a ssume normality and it is not necessary to have the same number of subjects or measur ements in each group (Shavelson, 1996; McDonald, 2008). The Kruskal-Wallis test has a chi-square distribution with two de grees of freedom. A criterion p-value .05 was used. The re sults are illustrated in Table 4-4. Subscale one, assisting parents with student personal/social development, contained six items and the range of possible scores was 0-6. The rural mean was 2.45 and the standard deviation was 1.96. The urban mean was 2.31 and the standard deviation was 1.87. The suburban mean was 2.05 and the standard deviation wa s 1.88. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups with a chi-square value of 1.70 at a level of significance of .432. Hence, the di fference in the number of ac tivities schools provided among the three groups was not significant. 79

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Subscale two, assisting parents with st udent career exploration contained five items and the range of possible scores was 0-5. The rura l mean was 3.32 and the standard deviation was 1.53. The urban mean was 3.30 and the standard deviation was 1.43. The suburban mean was 3.11 and the standard deviation was 1.61. The KW ANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups with a chi-s quare value of .65 at a le vel of significance of .721. Hence, the difference in the number of activities schools provided among the three groups was not significant. Subscale three, assisting parents with student career planning and decision-making contained four items and the range of possible scores was 0-4. The rural mean was 2.73 and the standard deviation was 1.05. The urban mean was 2.42 and the standard deviation was 1.01. The suburban mean was 2.70 and the standard deviation was 1.05. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the thr ee groups with a chi-square value of 3.28 with a level of significance of .194. He nce, the difference in the numbe r of activities schools provided among the three groups was not significant. Subscale four assisting parents with student post-secondary planning information contained five items and the range of possible scores was 0-5. The rural mean was 3.88 and the standard deviation was 1.03. The urban mean was 4.00 and the standard deviation was 1.19. The suburban mean was 4.25 and the standard de viation was .99. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups with a chi-square value of 5.78 at a level of significance of .056. Hence, the difference in the number of activities schools provided among the three groups approached significance. Subscale five, facilitating parent vol unteering/decision-making at the school level contained seven items and the range of possible scores was 0-7. The rural mean was 3.20 and the 80

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standard deviation was 1.72. The urban mean was 2.92 and the standard deviation was 1.70. The suburban mean was 3.19 and the standard deviation was 1.84. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups with a chi-square value of .48 at a level of significance of .786. Hence, the difference in the number of activities schools provided to facilitate parent volunteering and decision-making among the three groups was not significant. Subscale six, facilitating general parent/school communications contained four items and the range of possible scores was 0-4. The rura l mean was 3.25 and the standard deviation was .67. The urban mean was 3.02 and the standard deviation was .73. The suburban mean was 3.13 and the standard deviation was .75. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups w ith chi-square value of 2.27 at a level of significance of .321. Hence, the difference in the number of activi ties schools provided to facilitate general parent/school communications among th e three groups was not significant. Subscale seven, facilitating parent/school communications about academic matters contained four items and had a range of possibl e score of 0-3. The rural mean was 2.88 and the standard deviation was .33. Th e urban mean was 2.88 and the st andard deviation was .39. The suburban mean was 2.91 and the standard de viation was .33. The KWANOVA revealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups with a chi-square value of .90 at a level of significance of .637. Hence, the difference in the number of activities schools provided to facilitate parent/school communications about ac ademic matters among the three groups was not significant. Subscale eight, collaborating with community and parents, contained three items and the range of possible scores was 0-3. The rural m ean was 2.27 and the standard deviation was .94. The urban mean was 2.23 and the standard de viation was .97. The suburban mean was 2.36 and 81

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the standard deviation was .92. The KWANOVA re vealed there was not a difference in the responses of the three groups with a chi-squa re value of .86 a level of significance of .651. Hence, the difference in the number of activ ities schools provided for collaboration with community and parents among the th ree groups was not significant. Given these results, there app ear to be no signifi cant differences among rural, urban, and suburban high schools in the number of activities they provided to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary plan ning, e) parent volunteer ing/decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent co llaboration. Hence, Hypothesis F our failed to be rejected. Table 4-4. Provision of pare nt involvement activities by subscale (using 1=yes, 0=no) Subscale Rural (N=56) (score range) means S.D. Urban (N=48) means S.D. Suburban (N=80) means S.D. x 2 (df=2) p=* Personal/Social (0-6) 2.45 1.96 2.31 1.87 2.05 1.88 1.70 .432 Career exploration (0-5) 3.32 1.53 3.30 1.43 3.11 1.61 0.65 .721 Career planning (0-4) 2.73 1.05 2.42 1.01 2.70 1.05 3.28 .194 Post planning (0-5) 3.88 1.03 4.00 1.19 4.25 0.99 5.78 .056 Parent volunteering (0-7) 3.20 1.72 2.92 1.70 3.19 1.84 0.48 .786 General communication (0-4) 3.25 0.67 3.02 0.73 3.13 0.75 2.27 .321 Academic communication (0-3) 2.88 0.33 2.88 0.39 2.91 0.33 0.90 .637 Collaboration (0-3) 2.27 0.94 2.23 0.97 2.36 0.92 0.86 .651 *p=.05 Hypothesis Five HO5: There is no significant association betw een the level of importance and the number of activities reported by particip ants for each of the eight subscales. A series of Spearman correlation coefficients was computed to determ ine if a relationship existed between the eight subscales for importance and the eight subsca les for activities. The Spearman Rho is a non82

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83 parametric procedure of correlation and can be used without making any assumptions about the frequency of the variables (McDonald, 2008). The sk ewed nature of the st udy data supports the use of this procedure. There were high corre lations at p=.001 between importance ratings and activities for seven of the subscales ( personal/social, career explor ation, career planning, postsecondary planning, parent volunteering, general communication, and collaboration ) indicating a significant association between the importance at tributed to the activities and the provision of the activities. The Spearman procedure indicated no correlation between the importance subscale and the activity subscale for academic communication The data shows this subscale had a mean of 3.94 for importance which was the highest of all the subscales. It also had the highest percentage of activities provided, 97%, with a m ean of 2.89 for a three item subscale. This data would indicate a strong relati onship between the importance and activities provided. Although the Spearman was an appropriate procedure to use fo r the other subscales, it did not yield reliable results for this subscale due to the low number of items (3) and the skewed nature of the responses. The results of the Spearman correlatio ns for all subscales ar e shown in Table 4-5. Table 4-6 illustrates the freque ncies and percentages for the im portance questions and Table 4-7 illustrates frequencies and percentages for the activiti es provided for this subscale. Together the tables demonstrate the skewed nature of the data. The correlations for seven of the subscales indicate a clear relationship between the parent involvement activities participan ts believe are important and th e activities schools provide for parents. Hence, Hypothesi s Five is rejected.

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Table 4-5. Spearman Correlations of importance and implementation for the eight parent involvement subscales PS Importance CE Importance CP Importance PSP Importance PV Importance GC Importance AC Importance C Importance PS Activities CE Activities CP Activities. PSP Activities PV Activities GC Activities. AC Activities C Activities PS Importance 1 .00 CE Importance .792 *** 1 .00 .00 .00 CP Importance .806 *** .815 *** 1 PSP Importance .679 *** .690 *** .698 *** 1 PV Importance .782 *** .796 *** .757 *** .630 *** 1.00 GC Importance .591 *** .583 *** .59 7*** .571 *** .641 *** 1.00 AC Importance .270 *** .288 *** .331 *** .280 .236 *** .293 *** 1.00 C Importance .734 *** .665 *** .699 *** .623 *** .701 .575 *** .272 *** 1.00 PS Activities .454 *** .312 *** .363 *** .318 *** .332 .159 .025 .389 *** 1.00 CE Activities .373 *** .540 *** .446 *** .337 *** .404 .190 ** .152 .305 *** .477 *** 1.00 CP Activities .262 *** .303 *** .432 *** .291 *** .278 .218 ** .141 .292 *** .517 *** .625 *** 1.00 PSP Activities .161 .188 ** .186 ** .424 *** .192 ** .145 .078 .218 ** .291 *** .345 *** .426 *** 1.00 PV Activities .304 *** .332 *** .280 *** .231 ** .455 *** .203 ** .004 .286 *** .473 *** .506 *** .450 *** .381 *** 1.00 GC Activities .094 -0.004 .075 .061 .073 .256 *** -.013 .115 .235 *** .195 ** .352 *** .279 *** .247 *** 1.00 AC Activities .067 -.027 .061 .068 .021 .024 NA .115 .212 ** .153 .274 *** .309 *** .198 ** .277 *** 1.00 C Activities .189 ** .162 .201 ** .243 *** .220 ** .035 .022 .395 *** .447 *** .403 *** .417 *** .405 *** .408 *** .238 *** .252 *** 1.00 Key: ***<.001 PS = personal/social PV = parent volunteering **<.01 CE = career exploration AC = academic communication *< .05 CP = career planning GC = general communication PSP = post secondary planning C = collaboration 84

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Table 4-6. Frequencies and percentages of the importance of the academic communication subscale activities Question (number) Rating Frequency % 1. What is the importance of providing parents with regular communications about their adolescents progress? (13) 3 4 9 171 5.00 95.00 2. What is the importance of conducting meetings for parents of entering ninth grade students to explain academic require ments, registration, course offerings and school policies and procedures? (19) 3 4 11 170 6.08 93.92 3. What is the importance of providing information to parents about course selection, registration, and educational planning? (45) 2 3 4 1 0 169 .56 5.56 93.89 Table 4-7. Frequencies and percentages of the activitie s provided in the academic communication subscale Question (number) Yes/no Frequency % 1. Does your school provide parents with regular communications about their adolescents progress? (14) yes no 183 1 99.46 .54 2. Does your school conduct meetings for parents of entering ninth grade students to explain academic requirements, regist ration, course offerings and school policies and procedures? (20) yes no 172 9 4.97 95.03 3. Does your school provide information to parents about course selection, registration, and educational planning? (46) yes no 17 7 4 2.21 97.79 Hypothesis Six HO6: There are no significant differences am ong urban, rural, and suburban high school counselors in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for schools in preventing the involvement of parents in st udent career planning a nd decision-making. This hypothesis was evaluated first by using Chi-sq uare difference tests. Chi-square is a nonparametric procedure used to compare frequenc ies occurring in different categories or groups (Gay, Mills & Airasian, 2009). A comparative analysis was conducted to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in the type s of barriers reported by counselors in diverse settings. Since 67% of the cells had expected counts less than five, Chi-Square may not be a valid test. Fishers Exact Test was used as an alternative test since it does not depend on the expected values. This procedure computed a pvalue of 0.3698. Using a level of significance of .05, the results indicated that ther e were no significant differences among the three settings as to 85

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most significant barrier to their schools in the involvement of pa rents in student career planning and decision-making. Hence, Hypothesis Six failed to be rejected. As illustrated in Table 4-8, the majority of par ticipants from the rura l and suburban settings reported that the most significant school-based ba rrier to the involvement of parents in career planning was a lack of counselor time (53% and 50%, respectively) and the second highest in significance was limited parent interest (40% and 37%, respectively). For urban participants the numbers were exactly reversed with the most signi ficant barrier reported as limited parent interest (46%) and the second highe st in significance was lack of counselor time (33%). The other four barriers regarding admi nistrative support, financial res ources, technological resources, and counselor training had very few responses from participants indicat ing relatively little concern about these factors as barriers. Table 4-8. School barriers to pare nt involvement in career planning Setting Lack of administrative support Lack of counselor time Limited parent interest Limited financial resources Limited technological resources Lack of counselor training Total responses Rural 1 (2%) 29 (53%) 22 (40%) 3 (5%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 55 Urban 3 (6%) 15 (33%) 21 (46%) 5 (11%) 1 (2%) 1 (2%) 46 Suburban 3 (4%) 40 (50%) 30 (37%) 3 (4%) 1 (1%) 3 (4%) 80 Total 7 (4%) 84 (47%) 73 (40%) 11 (6%) 2 (1%) 4 (2%) 181 Hypothesis Seven HO7 : There are no significant differences am ong urban, rural, and suburban high school counselors in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for parents in preventing their involvement in their adolescents career planning and decision-making. This hypothesis was evaluated first by us ing Chi-square difference tests. A comparative analysis was conducted to determine if there wa s a statistically significant diffe rence in the types of barriers reported by counselors in diverse settings. Since 50% of the cells had expected counts less than five, Chi-Square may not be a valid test. Fishers Exact Test was an alternative test used since it 86

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does not depend on the expected values. This procedure computed a p-value of 0.0616. Using a level of significance was of .05, th e results indicated that there we re no significant differences in the opinions of participants from the three settings as to the most significant barrier to parents in their ability to become involved in their ad olescents career planning and decision-making. Hence, Hypothesis Seven failed to be rejected. As illustrated in Table 4-9, participants from all three settings reported lack of time as the number one barrier for parents in their efforts to become involved in thei r adolescents career planning and decision-making. For ru ral and suburban participants, not feeling competent to help their adolescent ranked second in significance at 25% and 24%, respectively. For urban participants not feeling welcome by the school ranked second (11%). Table 4-9. Parental barriers to involvement in their adolescents career planning Setting Not feeling competent to help Not feeling welcome by the school Not feeling wanted by the student Lack of time to become involved Total Rural 14 (25%) 3 (5%) 6 (11%) 33 (59%) 56 Urban 4 (9%) 5 (11%) 1 (2%) 35 (78%) 45 Suburban 19 (24%) 3 (4%) 3 (4%) 54 (68) 79 Total 37 (21%) 11 (6%) 10 (5%) 122 (68%) 180 Summary of Results Table 4-10 provides a summary of the research findings. Hypothesis One was rejected as the results indicated that participants rated al l eight subscales in the relatively important or important range. These results indi cated that participants believ ed that involving parents in student career planning and decision-making was an important component of the school program. Hypothesis Two failed to be rejected as the an alyses of variance procedures indicated no significant differences among the eight subscales of the various parent involvement activities. These results indicated that the participants fr om rural, urban and suburban geographic areas had similar ratings of importance for the eight subscales of parent i nvolvement activities. Despite the 87

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differences in their school populations rega rding minority composition and socioeconomic status, all three settings ag reed academic communication is the most important parent involvement activity and parent volunteering is the least important activity. subinHypothesis Three was rejected as the resu lts indicated that the particip ants schools did indeed provide parent involvement activities to assist parents with student car eer planning and decision-making. All three geographic settings provided parent involvement activities from each of the eight subscales. The percentage of activities provided for the subscales ranged from a low of 38% for personal/social to a high of 97% for academic communication. The results show participants believe their schools are pr oviding activities to assist parents in helping their adolescents with personal/social development, career explora tion, career planning and decision-making, postsecondary planning and provide parent s with home/school communication and home/school/community collaboration. Hypothesis Four failed to be rejected as the analysis of variance procedures indicated no significant differences among the eight subscales of the various parent involvement activities. These results indicated that the frequency of pa rent involvement activities for each subscale was similar across all three geographic areas. Hypothesis Five was rejected as the Spearman Correlation Coefficients demonstrated that there were relationships between the participants ratings of im portance and the activities schools provided for seven of the eight subscales. Hypothesis Six failed to be rej ected as the results from the comparative analysis indicated that there were no significant differences among the three settings as to the most significant barrier to their schools in th e involvement of parents in car eer planning and decision-making. 88

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Hypothesis Seven failed to be rejected as the results from the comparative analysis indicated that there were no signifi cant differences in the opinions of participants from the three settings as to the most significan t barrier to parents in their ability to beco me involved in their adolescents career planning and decision-making. Table 4-10. Hypotheses Table Hypotheses Conclusion HO1: High school counselors assign a low degr ee of importance to activities designed to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteering/decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. Rejected HO2: There are no significant differences among rural, urban and suburban high schools counselors in the degree of importance they assign to activities designed to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteering/decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. Failed to reject HO3: Schools provide no activities to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteering/decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. Rejected HO4: There are no significant differences among rural, urban and suburban high schools in the number of activities they provide to assist parents with a) students personal/social development, b) student career exploration, c) student career planning and decision-making, d) student post-secondary planning, e) parent volunteering/decision-making, f) general parent/school communication, g) parent/school communication about academic matters, and h) school/community/parent collaboration. Failed to reject HO5: There is no significant association betw een the level of importa nce and the number of activities reported by counselors for each of the eight subscales. Rejected HO6: There are no significant differences among rural, urban and suburban high school counselors in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for schools in preventing the involvement of parents in st udent career planning and decision-making. Failed to reject HO7: There are no significant differences among rural, urban and suburban high school counselors in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant for parents in preventing their involvement in their adolesce nts career planning and decision-making. Failed to reject 89

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CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION Discussion of Results This chapter includes a discussion of the resu lts for each research question. This discussion is followed by a review of the studys limitations the implications of the study findings for theory and practice, and recommendations for future research on this topic. Question One What degree of importance do high school couns elors and career specia lists give to the eight types of parental involvement activities for student career planning and decision-making? All eight subscales had importa nce means above 3.0 indicating that the study participants believed that all eight types of parent involvement activities were important. These results support ideas in th e career planning liter ature that state it is very important for parents to understand their role in their adol escents career developmen t and to be involved in career planning and decision-making (Sage, 2004 ; Smith, 2009; Whiston & Keller, 2004). For example, Sage (2004) states that in educating parents on their role of helping their adolescent in career planning and decision-making schools should: Teach effective parenting skills with adolescents. Assist parents in developing attitudes that convey high expectations, positive attitudes toward their adolescent, a belief in the importance of education, and a willingness to collaborate with their adol escent in career planning. Provide parents with knowledge of the de velopmental needs of high school students. Provide parents with knowledge of career management skills needed by high school students. Provide parents with knowledge of the schools curricular and extra-curricular programs. Provide parents with knowledge of the schools school-to-career program. 90

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Provide parents with an unde rstanding of postsecondary preparation, environments, and opportunities. Provide parents with the knowledge of the steps to career planning. Many of Sages suggestions for parent i nvolvement in career planning can be found embedded in Epsteins six types of parent involvement (Epstein, 1995b). The types are 1) parenting, 2) communicating, 3) volunteering, 4) lear ning at home, 5) decision making, and 6) collaborating with communities (Epstein, 1995b) The research conducted by Epstein and her colleagues revealed that high sc hools with strong programs of fa mily-school partnership that included these different types of parent involvement practices were more likely to improve parental attitudes toward the school and enc ourage family involvement at school and home (Sanders, Epstein, & Connors-Tadros 1999). Subscale seven, facilitating parent/school communications about academic matters had the highest ranking item mean of 3.94 and was composed of the following items: a) provide parents with regular communications about their adolescents progre ss, b) provide information to parents about course selection, registration, and educational pl anning, and c) conduct meetings for parents of entering ninth grade students to explain academic requi rements, registration, course offerings and school pol icies and procedures. A subsca le standard deviation of .187 indicated very little variance be tween the items. Ninety-five percent of participants rated as important the item, provide parents with regular communication about their adolescents progress Ninety-three percent of par ticipants rated the other two items as important. Even though researchers report that parent involvement generally dec lines as students get older (Harvard Family Research Project, 2007) and become more independent, the counselors and career development specialist s surveyed believed that facilitating parent/school communications about academic matters was the most important parent involvement subscale. Moreover, 91

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research has shown parents of high school students want to be involved in their adolescents school performance, activities and programs (Sanders, Epstein, and Connors-Tadros, 1999). The importance of counselor support for academ ic involvement is highlighted throughout the literature (Bemak & Chung, 2008; Bemak & Cornely, 2002; House & Hayes, 2002) and The American School Counselor Associations Natio nal Model (ASCA, 2005) emphasizes the need for professional school counselors to play a si gnificant role in promoting academic achievement and success for all students. This challenge coupled with research that has demonstrated that specific school communications practices can increase many forms of parent involvement (Sanders, Epstein, & Connors-Tadros, 1999; Watkins, 1997) supports the belief that communication about academic progress deserves to be a high priority for participants. In addition, the study participants reported that thei r schools provided the greatest percentage of activities for this subscale. Thus, not only did the partic ipants report this subscale to be highly important, they also reported that their schools provide d these activities more frequently than they did activities rela ted to other subscales. Subscale Four, assisting parents with student post-secondary planning information had the second highest ranking item mean of 3.67 a nd was composed of the following items: Provide parents with access to a guidance we bsite that contains current information on student post-secondary planning. Invite parents to attend college recruitm ent presentations held at your school. Coordinate with state or district staff to pr ovide families with access to online services to assist in post-secondary planning fo r college or job training programs. Conduct meetings or workshops for parent s on post-secondary training opportunities, college entrance requirements and financial aid. Provide parents with printed information on college entrance requirements and financial aid. 92

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There was little variance between the items w ith a standard deviation of .374. Eighty-three percent of the participants rated provide parents with printed information on college entrance requirements and financial aid as important. Eighty-two percent rated conduct meetings or workshops for parents on post-secondary traini ng opportunities, college entrance requirements and financial aid as important. The lowest rated activity in importance for this subscale was invite parents to attend college recruitm ent presentations held at your school with 55.3% rating it as important and 32.4% rating it as relativel y important. These results indicated that the counselors and career development specialists surveyed believed that involving parents in postsecondary planning was important. In addition, the counselors and career specialists believed conducting workshops and providing printed info rmation on post-secondary training, college requirements, and financial aid were more impor tant than inviting parents to attend college recruitment presentations at their school. The importance of parent involvement in post-secondary planning is documented throughout the literature. Research shows parent involvement is positivel y related to academic preparation for college and college aspirations and enrollment (Cabrera & La Nasa, 2000; Horn & Chen, 1998; Perna, 2000). As a matter of fact, Perna (2006) developed a conceptual model that depicted students college related decisions as shaped by multiple layers of context: a) students and their families, b) K-12 schools, c) higher education institutions, and d) societal, economic, and policy contexts. The model also assu mes that the most important predictors of college enrollment are academic preparation an d achievement, financial resources, knowledge about college, and family support. The literature also stresses that parental knowledge about college is an important factor in student coll ege choice. Parents of low income and minority students are at a definite disadva ntage in this area a nd their adolescents hi gh school can act as a 93

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valuable source of information to them (Rowan-Keyon, Bell & Perna, 2008; Smith, 2009). Inviting parents to college recruitment presentati ons could be an excellent avenue to increased understanding for parents as co lleges are in the unique posit ion of explaining curriculum planning as early as eighth grad e. College representatives know the skills and knowledge needed for specific majors and can assist parents with curricular strategies and financial planning (Cabrera & La Nasa, 2000). Subscale Five, facilitating parent vol unteering/decision-making at the school level had the lowest rated item mean of 3.21 and consisted of seven activities in which parents are actively engaged in the career guidance program at school through completing surveys, serving on committees, giving input on career curriculum decisi ons and volunteering fo r activities such as classroom and career fair presentations in thei r area of expertise. The individual item means ranged from 2.99 to 3.47 and the standard deviation for this subscale was .578 which indicated there was not a significant varian ce among the activities. The activity in this subscale which the participants rated as most important was providing parents with opport unities for involvement on committees and in school leadership positions. Sixty-seven percent of the participants rated this item as important and 30% ranked it as relatively important. Fifty-six percent of the participants rated conducting an annual survey of parents to help determine student and parent needs for student career planning as important. Thirty-four percent ranked it as relatively important. Soliciting parent input in career guidance and conducting parent surveys to identify parent talent and skills were both rated at the bo ttom with only 31% believing they were important. It is not surprising that Subscale five, parent volunteering and decision-making was rated by participants as the least important of the ei ght scales. The seven it ems in this subscale described parent activities that actively involve parents at the school level. These results are 94

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consistent with parent involveme nt literature that states educ ators are often not welcoming to parent involvement at the school level (Tro tman, 2001; Smrekar & Cohen Vogel, 2001). In contrast the subscales that ra ted the highest in importance, academic communication, postsecondary planning and general communication, contained activities th at involve providing parents with information. These types of activ ities generally do not offer opportunities for interaction, discussion and possibl e conflicting views. The only item that offered any type of communication exchange was : What is the importance of prov iding parents with opportunities for informal discussions with sc hool staff members such as lunc h with the counselor, breakfast with the principal or informal meetings with teachers? This item had the lowest importance rating (3.21) in the subscale of general communication. These results suggest that although counselors and career specialists want parents involve d, they may feel that it is more important for parents to be informed than to be actively involved. It is also possible that many of the participants feel more comfor table disseminating information ra ther than offering opportunities for an exchange of communication with parents. Akos (2004) suggests that in order to stre ngthen the connections between families and schools and to maximize the resources available to promote learning, educators must go further than merely interacting with families on an as needed basis. They must replace the old model of educators as the sole-expert with a co-expert or collaborative model. In summary all eight subscales were viewed as important by the participants. This shows that the counselors and career spec ialists surveyed believed that pa rents should be involved in the eight types of career pl anning. However, the participants believed that communicating with parents about academic matters and assisting pare nts in student post-secondary planning were the most important parent involvement activities. 95

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Question Two Is there a difference among high school counsel ors and career specialis ts in rural, urban and suburban geographic settings in the degree of importance they give to the eight types of parental involvement activities fo r student career and decision-m aking? A series of KruskalWallis one-way analyses of variance of ra nks (KWANOVA) was computed to assess the differences in counselors ratings of importa nce for each subscale across the three geographic settings of rural, urban, and suburban. The series of eight KWANOVAS reve aled that there were no significant differences among the three settings of rural, urban, and suburban in any of the eight subscales. Subscale one, assisting parents with student personal/social development, contained six items regarding activities schools could offer to parents to assi st them in supporting and guiding their adolescent children in their personal and so cial development. The rural schools (3.41) rated this subscale somewhat higher than the urban ( 3.30) and suburban (3.31). Further examination of the means for individual items in this subscale showed that the item, providing parents with printed information about helping them work with their adolescents to de velop skills for getting along with others had the highest mean for a ll three settings. The item, conducting workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents develop skills for getting along with others, had the lowest mean for the suburban and ru ral settings and was the second lowest mean for urban settings. The urban results for this subscale were lower than the rural and suburban with one exception, providing parents with printe d information about helping them work with their adolescents to develop skills for getting along with others. These results suggest that counselors and career specialists from all th ree settings believed that assisting parents with student personal/social development is important. Since the items that ranked highest overall 96

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were items involving the provision of printed info rmation, it could be assumed the participants believed that providing printed information is more important than conducting workshops. Subscale two, assisting parents with st udent career exploration contained five items regarding activities and resources to assist parents in helping their adolescents to identify their own unique career interests and sk ills. Suburban schools (3.50) rate d this subscale higher than the rural (3.46) and urban (3.40) schools. Further examination of the means for individual items in this subscale showed that the different schoo l settings varied in their rating of importance. Rural participants indicated the items, provide a school career fair for parents and students (3.50) and provide parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Internet resources, etc.) to assist them in helping thei r adolescents identify th eir career interests and skills (3.50), were the most important. Suburba n participants indica ted that the item, provide parents with printed informati on (brochures, emails, web pages, Internet resources, etc.) to assist them in helping thei r adolescents identify their career interests and skills (3.57), was most important. Urban participants indicated that the item, conducting workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents identify thei r career interests and skills (3.65), was most important. The lowest individual item mean for urban and suburban settings was provide parents with information on assisting their adol escents in career exp loration outside of the school setting (3.20 and 3.44, respectively). Rural par ticipants indicated that the item, provide parents with current informa tion about career opportunities vi a printed material such as newsletters, school website s, brochures and letters, was least important. It is interesting to note that parent workshops and printed information on identifying student interests and skills were rated so high (3.65, 3.41) by the urban participants yet career fairs (3.36) providing information on career exploration (3.20), and providing cu rrent information on career opportunities (3.33) 97

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were ranked significantly lower. It appears that urban participants believed identifying interests and skills was more important than actually identifying potential car eers. Although there is a definite difference between settings when items are viewed individually, these results demonstrate that counselors and career specialist s from all three settings believed that assisting parents with student career exploration is important. Subscale three, assisting parents with student career planning and decision-making contained four items regarding activities and re sources that schools coul d offer to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents career planning and decision-making. The rural schools (3.55) and the suburban schools (3.54) rated the subscale higher than the urban (3.46). Further examination of the means for individual item s in this subscale showed that the item, provide parents with access to a guidance website that contains current information on student career planning and decision-making, had the highest mean for all thr ee settings. The lowest individual item mean for all three settings was provide parents with workshops on how to support students in career decision-making In addition there was more similar ity in the individual item means for rural and suburban settings with the exception of providing parent conferences. This item was ranked second highest by all thr ee settings. These results suggested that counselors and career specialists from all three settings believed that providing parents with a guidance website that contains current information on student car eer planning and decisi on-making and providing parents with opportunities for career planning co nferences are more important than providing parents with workshops on how to support students in career decision-making. Subscale four, assisting parents with student post-secondary planning information contained five items regarding various modes of providing information to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents planning for postsecondary education. The suburban schools (3.71) 98

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rated this subscale somewhat higher than the rural (3.62) and urban (3.67) Since only 5% of the suburban schools reported that 76-100% of their school populati on was on free and reduced lunch as compared to rural 17.9% and urban 14.6%, these results might indicate that the suburban schools tend to have a population that is more likely to seek post-secondary training due to their financial situation. Further examina tion of the means for individual items in this subscale shows providing parents with information on college entrance requirements and financial aid had the highest mean for the rural and ur ban settings. Although the difference was slight, the rural participants rated workshops highest (3.81) and the urban participants rated printed materials highest (3.83). Subu rban participants rated the item, provide parents with access to a guidance website that contains cu rrent information on student post secondary planning as most important (3.86). Rural and urban se ttings also rated this item similarly with 3.75 and 3.79, respectively. The difference in these ra tings may be the result of suburban parents having a higher socioeconomic status and perhaps having better access to technology and technological training. The item, providing parents with printed information on college entrance requirements and financial aid was rated second in importa nce by the rural and suburban settings with 3.79 and 3.84, respectively. The item, invite parents to attend college recruitment presentations held at your school, was rated lowest by urban a nd suburban settings. In this subscale all three settings had similar means va rying by no more than .07 with the exception of the item, coordinate with state or distri ct staff to provide families with access to online services to assist in post secondary planning fo r college or job training programs. For this item the means were rural 3.33, urban 3.50, and suburban 3.61. This difference might possibly suggest that suburban settings may have better access to online services and rural areas may be lacking in this area. Overall these results suggested that the counselors and caree r specialists from the 99

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suburban schools tend to view technology as a very important resource in post-secondary planning. The results also suggest that participan ts from all settings believed that providing parents with printed information, workshops and a guidance website are most important for postsecondary planning. Subscale five, facilitating parent vol unteering/decision-making at the school level contained seven items regarding activities to actively involve parents in the career guidance program at school through volunteering and opportuni ties to have input on career curriculum decisions. Although the difference was not great, the suburban school s (3.25) rated this subscale higher than the rural (3.18) and urban (3.20) schools. Further examina tion of the means for individual items in this subscale shows the item, providing opportunities for parental involvement on committees and in school leadership positions, had the highest means in all three settings (rural 3.64, urban 3.73, suburban 3.63). Conducting an annual survey of parents to help determine student and parent need s for student career planning was rated second in importance by the rural and suburban settings (3.48 and 3.44, respectively) and establishing a parent volunteer program to assist with activities such as career fairs, field trips, career presentations and mentoring was rated second in importance for th e urban settings (3.57). The item, conduct an annual survey of parents to identify available parent talents and skills, had the lowest mean for the rural and urban settings (2.94 and 2.87, respectively) and the item, solicit parent input on the development of the career guidance curriculum, had the lowest mean for the suburban settings (3.03). The results for this subscale suggest that counselors and career specialists from all three settings believed that providing parents with opportuni ties for involvement on committees and in leadership positions was the most important activity in this subscale. It is interesting to note that 100

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the suburban schools rated this as more important than did the rural and urban study participants. This could be a result of subur ban schools having parents of a higher socioeconomic status who might be more available and more educated to assume such responsibilities. In addition, the results indicated that the participants believed that conducting a needs assessment of parents and students and using parent volunteers for career fairs, field tr ips, career presentations and mentoring were also important. However, survey ing parents for talents and skills and soliciting parent input on the guidance career curriculum were not viewed very important. There could be numerous reasons for participants lack of interest in parent abili ties and input at the school level. Participants may not recognize a need for utilizing parents talents and ski lls because they are not educated as to how parents can assist. They may not welcome parent input as they believe it may not fit with the schools goals or, perhaps, part icipants feel that havi ng parent input on the curriculum is simply not needed. These results are consistent with the literature which states lack of involvement may include a territorial attitude from educators, a negative perception of the capacity of parents to assist, a lack of time and understanding as to how parents can contribute or a concern as to how to get parents involved (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Streeter & Mason, 2008; Giles, 2005; Swap, 1993; Trotman, 2001). Subscale Six, facilitating general parent/school communications contained four items of activities and resources schools can provide to parents to mainta in effective communication from school-to-home and home-to-school regarding all aspects of th e school program. The overall means for all three settings were very similar in this varying by only .03. Further examination of the means for individual items in this subscale show that the item, provide parents with current information about school programs via em ails, web pages, or letters home, had the highest mean for the rural and suburban settings. The item, provide translators for parents when needed, was 101

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rated highest by the urban settings. Of the ur ban participants 54.2% reported their school population to be between 51-100% minority as comp ared to the suburban at 21.2% and the rural at 30.4%. The results for this item illustrate the need in urban schools for adequately communicating with non-English speaking parents. The results also indicated that all three settings believed that providing translators was more important than providing translated print materials, although both were rated as important. The item, provide parents with opportunities for informal discussions with sc hool staff members such as lunc h with the counselor, breakfast with the principal, or inform al meetings with teachers, had the lowest means for all three settings. These results suggested that counselors and career specialists from all three settings believed that providing general information to pa rents through printed ma terials and translators was more important than providi ng parents with informal in-per son opportunities to meet with school staff. In her article on r ecognizing the views of low-income parents, Lott (2003) stated that more opportunities should be provided for parents to communicate with school personnel. She pointed out that low-income parents generally prefer informal contacts rather than formal, institutionalized events. The lower rating of th is item may be due to the time constraints participants reported feeling in Section III of the survey which discussed barriers to parent involvement. Participants indicate d that lack of time was a si gnificant barrier for schools and parents in efforts to improve parent involvement (See Table 4-8 and 4-9). Participants may view providing printed material as less time consumi ng than meeting in person for both parents and educators. Subscale seven, facilitating parents/school comm unications about academic matters contained three items on the importance of schools providing parents with effective communication from school-to-home and home-to-school regarding academic matters. Items 102

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consisted of providing parents with inform ation regarding student progress, academic requirements, educational plan ning, high school registration, and school policies and procedures. Of the eight subscales this one had the highest overall mean of 3.95. Further examination of the means for individual items in this subscale show ed that all the items ranked 3.91 or higher and did not vary more than .06 between settings. It is interesting to note that the urban participants rated all three items in this s ubscale higher than the rural and suburban participants. In addition the item, provide parents with regular communica tions about their adolescents progress, was rated 4.0 by the urban participants Although the individual item means for the rural setting were slightly lower than the urban and suburban settin gs, the high rating of this subscale by all three settings indicated that this area is a priority for all th e participants schools. These results indicate schools from all three settings recognize the importance of promoting academic achievement and success for all students as supported by The Amer ican School Counselor Associations National Model (ASCA, 2005). While specific career relate d activities are needed and included in the national model, participants may feel that keepin g parents informed of academic issues precedes career-related activities. Subscale eight, collaborating with community and parents, contained three items that promote the involvement of school, parents and co mmunity as a team. The rural (3.63) and urban (3.60) participants rated this s ubscale higher than the suburban pa rticipants (3.54). These results may indicate that these schools set tings, due to their lower socio economic status, have a greater need for community resources and support. Furt her examination of the means for individual items in this subscale showed that the item develop partnerships with the community (e.g., business, health, cultural, recreational) that will assist in service integration was rated as the highest for the rural and suburban schools. The item, provide parents with information on 103

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resources and services within the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, student learning and career development was rated highest for the urban schools. The item, develop community service programs that involve students, parents, and community, was the lowest in importance for all three settings. Thes e results indicated that counselors and career specialists in all three settings believed that developing partnerships within the community and providing parents with community resources we re important. Although they believed service learning was important, it does not appear to be as important as the partnerships and resources within the community In summary, although the KWANOVA procedures did not indicate significant differences across the three settings of rural, urban and suburban for the total means, there are individual differences by item that provide valuable informa tion. One important discovery is that rural and suburban schools appear to have similar beliefs about the importance of many of the parental involvement activities. In addition the urban school s tend to have more variance in their scores within the subscales which may indicate a greater vari ance in their indivi dual school populations. Question Three According to high school counselors and career specialists, to what extent do high schools implement the eight types of parental involveme nt activities in student career planning and decision-making? In the survey participants were asked to indi cate whether or not their schools provided specific parent involvement activities by answering yes or no. Total counts of items were computed for each subscale. The subscale of academic communication had the highest mean according to activities provided. Out of a total of three possible activ ities, the mean of provided activities was 2.89. This means that of the 184 participants surveyed regarding these three ac tivities, there was a 97% response of yes to providing the activities. These result s could indicate that counselors and career 104

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specialists believed that their schools provided academic communication with parents more than any other subscale activity. In ad dition the standard deviation fo r this subscale (.34) is low compared to the other subscales. The second highest subscale for activities provided is post-secondary planning Out of a total of five possible activities, the mean of pr ovided activities was 4.07. This indicates that of the participants surveyed regarding these three activities, there was an 82% response of yes to providing the activities. These re sults show that couns elors and career specia lists believed that their schools involved parents to a large extent in student post-secondary planning. The subscales of general communication (80%) and collaboration (80%) also had relatively high percentages of yes responses. The lowest percentage of yes responses was the subscale of personal/social with 38%. Although these results demonstrate that the par ticipants schools defini tely address all the subscales for parent involvement activities, ther e is much more involvement in the activities associated with some subscales than others. Since there is a significant difference in the percentage of activities provided, it appears that the participants believed that schools place less emphasis on parental involvement in activities to improve personal/socia l skills (38%) than on parental involvement in academic communicatio n (97%) and post-secondary planning (82%). This may indicate that as students move to the higher grades, more importance is placed on academics and planning for the future than on improving personal/social skills. This is a significant finding since potential employers state that although writing, math and reading are still fundamental to any new employees ability to do a job, person/social skills such as teamwork and collaboration are very important to success at work. In 2006 a national survey was conducted by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The 105

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Partnership for 21st Century Skil ls and The Society for Human Resource Management to determine the most important skills for succes s in the workplace of the 21st century. They surveyed over 400 employers acro ss the United States who indicat ed high school graduates are entering the workforce lacking in applied skills such as pers onal accountabili ty, punctuality, working productively with others and time management. Professi onalism/work ethic, oral and written communications, teamwork/collaboration and critical thinking/problem solving are among the most important skills cited by these em ployers for new entrants into the workplace (Casner-Loto & Barrington, 2006). Question Four Is there a difference in the extent to wh ich high schools in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settings implement the eight types of parent involvement activiti es in student career planning and decision-making? A series of Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance of ranks (KWANOVA) was computed to assess th e differences in the provision of parent involvement activities for each subscale across the three geographic settings of rural, urban, and suburban. The KWANOVA procedure indicated that there were no significant differences among the three settings of rural, urban, and suburban in any of the eight subscales. Subscale one: assisting parents with student personal/social development contained six items regarding activities schools could offer to parents to assi st them in supporting and guiding their adolescent children in their pers onal and social development. The item, provide parents with printed information about he lping them work with their adolescents to develop skills for getting along with others had the highest percentage of yes responses in all three settings. The difference across the settings in th e percentages for this item was ve ry little with percentages for rural 64%, urban 70.8%, and suburban 68.8%. The item, provide parents with printed information to assist them in helping thei r adolescents become more achievement-oriented had 106

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the second highest percentage of yes respons es in all settings. The difference in the percentages across the settings was more pronounced in this ite m with rural (63.6%) and urban (65.2%) percentages relatively close, but with the suburban percentage significantly different (48.1%). This difference would indi cate that from the participants surveye d, the rural and urban participants believed that their schools provided significantly more printed information to parents about helping their students become more achievement oriented than th e suburban participants. The item, conduct workshops to provid e parents with informati on on how adolescents develop positive work habits had the lowest percentage of yes re sponses in the rural (21.8%) and urban (19.1%). The result for suburban settings was 17.9%, but the item, conduct workshops to provide parents with information about he lping their adolescents to become more achievement-oriented, was even lower with 17.7%. These results indicated that participants in all three settings were very similar in that their schools provided more printed information than workshops to assist parents in helping their adolescents with personal/social development. Subscale two: assisting parents with st udent career exploration contained five items regarding activities and re sources to assist parents in helping their adolescents to identify their own unique career interest s and skills. The item, provide parents with pr inted information to assist them in helping th eir adolescents identify thei r career interests and skills had the highest percentage of yes responses in all settings. The item, provide parents with workshops about helping their adolescents identify their career interests and skills had the lowest percentage of yes responses in the rural and suburban settings. The items, provide a school career fair for students and parents, and provide parents with information on assisting their adolescents in career exploration outside of the school setting had the lowest percentage in the urban settings. 107

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Hence, the participants reported that their schools provided more printed information than workshops for parents about helping their adolescen ts identify their career interests and skills. Subscale three: assisting parents with student career planning and decision-making contained four items regarding activities and re sources that schools coul d offer to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents ca reer planning and decision-making. The item, provide parents with opportunities for conf erences each year with the sc hool counselor or career coach to discuss their adoles cents career planning, had the highest percenta ge in rural and urban settings (85.5% and 78.3%); however, the item provide parents with access to a guidance website that contains current informati on on student career planning and decision-making had the highest percentage in the s uburban settings (87.5%). The item with the lowest percentage in all three settings was providing parents with workshops on how to support students in career decision-making with rural 40.1%, urban 21.3% and s uburban 32.9%. There was significant difference in the percentage of activities provi ded across the settings. In contrast the item, providing parents with printed information on how to support students in their career decisionmaking, had a much higher percentage and was fa irly consistent acro ss settings (rural 76.6%, urban 77.1%, suburban 73.1%). These results indicated that schools in all three settings provided more printed information than workshops to parents to assist them in supporting their adolescents in career decision-ma king. In addition schools in a ll settings provide opportunities for conferences and more suburban schools util ize a guidance website than rural and urban schools. Subscale four: assisting parents with student post-secondary planning information contained five items regarding various modes of providing information to parents to assist them in guiding their adolescents planning for pos t-secondary education. These item percentages 108

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ranged from 58.2% to 95.7%. The item, provide parents with printed information on college entrance requirements and financial aid, was the highest in all three settings. The percentages for this item were very consistent across th e three settings (rural 94.6%, urban 95.7%, suburban 94.9%). The item with the second highest percen tage for rural (94.6%) and urban (87%) was conduct workshops for parents on post secondary training opportunities, entrance requirements and financial aid The second highest for suburban was access to a guidance website that contains current information on student post secondary planning (93.8%). The item with the lowest percentage in all settings was invite parents to attend colle ge recruitment presentations held at your school. These scores were also fairly consistent across settings (rural 58.2%, urban 66%, suburban 66.3%). These results suggest that the participants be lieved their schools provided parents with a great deal of assistance in pos t-secondary planning, both in print and in workshops. Involving parents in college recruitments at school did not app ear to be a priority since the overall average for this activity was only 63.7%. Subscale five: facilitating parent volunteering/deci sion-making at the school level contained seven items regarding activities to ac tively involve parents in the career guidance program at school through volunteering and opport unities to have input on career curriculum decisions. This subscale had a significant amount of variation between items. The individual item percentages ranged from 8.5% to 94.9%. The pe rcentages across the sett ings for most items were very similar, however, indicating that all the settings provided basically the same kind of activities. The item, provide opportunities for parental in volvement on committees and in school leadership positions, had the highest percentage in all settings. The item with the lowest percentage in all three settings was conduct an annual survey of par ents to identify available parent talents and skills. This is the one item that had signif icant differences across settings with 109

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rural 25.5%, urban 8.5%, and suburban 15.4%. The pa rticipants from the urban schools indicated that their schools had the lowest socioeconomic status and had the greatest percentage of minorities of the three settings. The fact that the urban schools had such a low percentage on this item may indicate that the urban schools do not attempt to survey their parents because the schools believe that their parents do not have skills or talents that can benefit the schools career development program. The item, solicit parent input on the devel opment of the career guidance curriculum, also had a very low total percentage across all settings which may suggest that schools do not want parent input on the career curriculum. Subscale six: facilitating general pa rent/school communications contained four items on activities and resources schools can provide to parents to mainta in effective communication from school-to-home and home-to-school regarding all aspects of th e school program. The item, provide parents with current information about school programs via emails, web pages, or letters home, had the highest percentage in all set tings (rural, 96.3%, ur ban 97.8, suburban 93.6). The item, provide translators for parents when needed had the second highest percentage across all three settings (rural 94.5%, urban 93.8% suburban 92.5%). The percentages for provide translated print material when needed had somewhat lower per centages (rural 89.3%, urban 87.2%, suburban 87.2%). The item, provide parents with opportuniti es for informal discussions with school staff members, had the lowest total percentage in all settings. Urban was the lowest at 29.8%. Rural was 50% and suburban was 44.3%. These results showed a significant difference in the opportunities that urban parents had to meet with school staff as compared to rural and suburban parents. Subscale seven: facilitating paren t/school communications about academic matters contained three items on the importance of schools providing parents with effective 110

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communication from school-to-home and home-to-school about academic matters. Items consisted of providing parents with inform ation regarding student progress, academic requirements, educational plan ning, high school registration, and school policies and procedures. This subscale had the highest percentage of activities pr ovided of all subscal es and there were no significant differences across settings. The indivi dual item percentages ranged from 92.9% to 100%. The item, provide parents with regular co mmunications about their adolescents progress, had the highest percentage (99.5%) and it is important to note that 100% of the urban and suburban schools reported providing the activit y. These results indicate that schools in all settings are providing parents with regul ar communication about academic matters. Subscale eight: collaborating with community and parents contained three items that promote the involvement of school, parent s and community as a team. The item, develop partnerships with the community that will assist in service integration had the highest rating for rural and suburban schools. The item, provide parents with information on resources and services within the community to strengthen sch ool programs, family practices, student learning and career development had the highest rating for urban schools. The item, develop community service programs that invol ve students, parents, and community had the lowest percentage in all three settings. These results suggest urban schools may have more difficulty developing partnerships than rural and suburban schools and urban schools may also find it necessary to provide their parents with more community resources than rural and suburban schools. It is also important to note that service learning progr ams were only provided by 71% of the schools. For questions two and four the results indicate d that there were no si gnificant differences among the rural, urban and suburban participants in the importance they a ttributed to parental involvement activities and the extent to which their schools provided these activities. It is 111

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possible that the similar responses may be due to the fact that all counselors are trained in the same general model. If they had been asked how they adapted their activ ities to meet the unique needs of their students, the results may have differed more. Question Five Is there a relationship between the degree of importance and the number of activities counselors and career speci alists report for each of the ei ght types of parent involvement activities? There were correlations between importance ratings and activities for seven of the subscales ( personal social, career exploration, career / planning, post-secondary planning, parent volunteering, general communication, and collaboration ) indicating a significant association between the importance attributed to the activities and the provision of the activities. Although the correlation perfor med did not indicate a relationship for the subscale, academic communicatio n, it had highest mean of the eight subs cales for importance and had the highest percentage of activities provided. Overall these results indicate there is clearly a relationship between the parent involvement activities that pa rticipants feel are important and the activities schools provide for parents When comparing in order from highest to lo west, the means of the importance ratings of subscales to the frequency of activities provided by the schools, the order is exactly the same for the first six subscales. The subscale of academic planning was rated as the most important subscale by participants and it was also the subsca le that had the highest percentage of schools providing the activities. The results were the same for all subs cales except parent volunteering and personal/social which were reversed. Hence, these findings would suggest that the activities that counselors and career spec ialists found to be most importan t are generally provided by their 112

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schools and those not deemed important are not provided as frequently. The subscales from highest to lowest are listed below: Importance Activities Provided 1. Academic Communication 1. Academic Communication 2. Post Secondary Planning 2. Post Secondary Planning 3. General Communication 3. General Communication 4. Collaboration 4. Collaboration 5. Career Planning 5. Career Planning 6. Career Exploration 6. Career Exploration 7. Parent Volunteering 7. Personal/Social 8. Personal/Social 8. Parent Volunteering Question Six What are the perceptions of high school c ounselors and career specialists in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settin gs regarding the types of barri ers they perceive to be the most significant for schools in preventing the involveme nt of parents in st udent career planning and decision-making? According to the analys is there were no signi ficant differences among rural, urban and suburban high school counselors and career specialis ts in the types of barriers they perceive to be the most significant in preventing the involvement of parents in student career planning and decision-making. Overall the participants indicate d that the lack of administrative support, financial resources, techno logical resources and c ounselor training were not issues for schools attempting to involve parents in student career planning and decisionmaking. The majority of participan ts from the rural and suburban settings reported that the most significant barrier to the involveme nt of parents in career planni ng was a lack of counselor time (53% and 50%, respectively) and the second high est in significance was limited parent interest (40% and 37%, respectively). For urban participan ts the numbers were exactly reversed with the most significant barrier reported as limited parent interest (4 6%) and the second highest in significance was lack of counselor time (33%). 113

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It is encouraging to see that the participants do feel supported by their administration and competent in their ability to i nvolve parents in career planning. In addition, in these days of budget cuts and limited financial resources, it is al so encouraging to see th at most participants did not feel that financial or technical barriers were very signifi cant. It is not surprising that with the great number of demands placed on counselors these days (Bemak, 2000, 2008; Whiston, 2002) that lack of time was considered such a sign ificant barrier. Urban pa rticipants appeared to be less concerned about their lack of time to involve parents and more concerned about the limited parent interest. Of the urban particip ants, 54.2% reported schoo l populations consisting of 51-100% minority. In the survey limited parent interest is defined th rough the view of the participants and the findings are consistent with the literature th at reports educators often view minority parents as not involved when in reality many feel incompetent, do not know how to be involved or feel unwanted (Auerbach, 2007; Smit h, 2009; Trotman, 2001). Trotman (2001) states that parent involvement is hi ndered by schools taking on more pa rental responsibilities and by educators becoming territorial and assuming they are the sole decision makers on educational issues. She adds that educators must realize there are ba rriers that contribute to low levels of urban parent involvement such as family stru cture/socioeconomic stat us, parents schedule, parents educational level and the expect ations of administrators and teachers. With such an overwhelming majority of part icipants indicating that time constraints and limited parent interest are major concerns, it app ears that to improve the involvement of parents in student career planning and decisionmaking, these two areas must be addressed. Question Seven. What are the perceptions of high school c ounselors and career specialists in urban, suburban, and rural geographic settin gs regarding the types of barri ers they perceive to be the most significant for parents in preventing their involvement their adoles cents career planning 114

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and decision-making? It is important to k eep in mind that the study results are based on counselors and career specia lists opinions as to the greatest barriers to involvement for parents. If parents were surveyed, the results might differ. As illustrated in Table 4-9, participants from all three settings reported that they felt lack of time was the number one barrier for parents in their efforts to become involved in their adoles cents career planning and decision-making. This indicates an understanding on the part of the partic ipants as to the time constraints for parents, but it also signals a problem schools must address in order to better meet the needs of students. Rural and suburban participants rated not feeling competent to help their adolescent second in significance at 25% and 24%, re spectively. Considering the hi gh minority population for urban schools, it is surprising that urban participants did not also rate this item higher for their parents. Urban participants ranked not feeling welcome by the school as second (11%). This result may indicate that some participan ts believe that their schools co uld become more welcoming and supportive of parents. Limitations of the Study There were several limitations inherent in this study. These were the nature of the study sample, the use of self-report measures, the method of data collec tion, and the technical development of the instrument. Because participants self-selected themselves for the study, the study sample many not have adequately repr esented high school counselors. In addition, counselors indicated whether thei r school was located in a rural, urban, or suburban geographic area. Although definitions for the geographic areas were provided on the survey, the participants categorized their own school setting as rural, urban, or suburban and their categorization may have been different from that of the researcher. In addition an on line survey format was used. As a result, not only did the participants work in schools that had the financial support for 115

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technology, but the participants were sophisticated in the use of te chnology. (The high number of suburban participants may reflec t these differential resources.) Another limitation inherent in the study me thodology was the self-report format of the survey. This type of format can affect results in that participants may be inclined to respond in ways that present themselves in a more socially desirable light. Moreover, it may have been that those counselors most interested in career planning and with be tter career development programs were the ones who volunteered to participate in the study. These factors may make the results less applicable or generalizable to other high school counselor or career specialis t populations. Another limitation was the timing of the delive ry of the survey and the process by which the participants were recruited. In Florida the ma jority of the participan ts were accessed through their school districts Director of Student Services and, theref ore, access to the survey was controlled by the Director. Another concern was th at the survey letters were sent out in the spring of 2008 which can be a very difficult time fo r counselors and career specialists as this was also the time they were coordi nating statewide achiev ement testing and preparing for high school graduation. This may have affected the sample in that many potential participants may have opted not to respond due to time constraints. Finally because the instrument was developed for use in this study, there were limitations associated with its technical quality. The deve lopment of the survey items was based on Epsteins (1995b) six types of pa rent involvement and the goals and objectives of The National Career Development Guidelines with emphasis pl aced on the three categorie s of personal/social development, academic and lifelong education and career management. It is possible that the organization of the survey items or the manne r in which these items and subscales were conceptualized may have affected the survey re sults. Although content experts were involved in 116

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the development of the instrument, some important career planning activities or barriers may have also been overlooked. In addition the subscale of academic communication may be considered a limitation since it had a low correlati on with the total instru ment due to skewed responses and only containing three items. Implications This study provided a wealth of implications for practice and theory and suggested several directions for future research. The findings c onfirm that counselors a nd career specialists considered parent involvement to be an important aspect of student career planning. Not only did the counselors and career specialists believe th at parents could enhan ce the career development of their students, but they repor ted that their schools were putti ng this belief in to practice by involving parents in a variety of different activities to s upport student career planning and decision-making. One theoretical implication to be drawn from the studys results was that the interaction between the family and the school was an influen tial context for students career planning. This study was based on the assumptions drawn from Social Cognitive Career Theory that contextual variables such as quality of home and educational experien ces, real and perceived parental support, economic conditions, and parental be haviors can enhance or constrain career development (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000 ). Although the study focused on parents as contextual variables, it recognized that schools can al so influence the quality of students home experiences by virtue of their support of parents and the quality of their programs for parents. This study also utilizes Epstei ns theoretical model of types of parental involvement. This model emphasizes that family and school are the two major contexts in wh ich students learn and grow and is based on the assumption that positiv e interactions between school and parent are essential to help students succeed in school and prepare for the future (Epstein, 1995b). 117

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Moreover, the model suggests the particular types of activities that char acterize optimal familyschool relationships to enhan ce student career development. While the study participants demonstrated by their responses that they believed all eight types of involvement were important to adolescent career planning and decision-making, th ere was a clear priority as to the types of activities believed to be more salient. Most of the participants indi cated that among the eight types of involvement, communicating with pare nts and assisting with post-secondary planning were the most important and facilitating parent volunteering and decisi on-making was the least important type of activity. Obviously, communicating with parents is a prer equisite for developing any type of parent outreach program. In their study of rural, urba n and suburban high schools in Maryland, Sanders, Epstein, and Connors-Tadros ( 1999) found that Epsteins Type 2 communication practices (communicating clearly about school programs a nd student progress thro ugh home-to-school and school-to-home communications) were essential for im provement in all of the six types of parent involvement. The results from the present study i ndicate that the particip ants schools understood the importance of communicati on and of providing school-to-hom e communication, especially about academics. However, there may be a n eed for schools to expand their communication practices to offer parents more opportunity for expressing their needs and opinions. Recommendations for Future Research There are a number of recommendations for futu re research that grow out of this study. First, all but one of the activ ities in the two communication s ubscales and the post-secondary planning subscale involved providi ng parents with information. They did not offer parents opportunities for input. It could be assumed that these activities might be more appealing to educators since there would be little opportunity for disagreement or conflict. The subscale with the lowest importance rating, parent volunteering and decision-making involved activities such 118

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as surveying parents and student s and soliciting parent input on career curriculum. These types of activities in which educators are soliciting input may make educators and school policy and procedures more vulnerable to differences in opinion. The partic ipants who do not feel these activities are important may be resistant to chan ge, territorial about their programs or may be unaware of the advantages of involving parents. Additional research re garding the types of parent volunteering activ ities that educators want and seek out may provide information on the comfort level of educators in working with parent s. It is possible that school personnel are not aware of the many ways in which parents can assist them or may be fearful of venturing out to try new ways of utilizing parents due to school policies and practices or their own personal concerns. Second because family involvement at the second ary level has been found to play a critical role in students academic success, school attendance, and transition into post-secondary programs (Eccles & Harold, 1993; Harvard Family Research Project, 2007; Dornbusch and Ritter, 1988) and educators know little about the f actors that lead parents to become involved (Deslandes & Bertrand, 2005), future studies that ex amine the reasons parent s participate in their childs career planning would provi de educators with valuable in sight for program development. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandlers (1995) model of the parent involvement process could be utilized in an effort to explain why parents become involved in the career planning of their children. The model suggests that parental involvement is mo tivated by two beliefs: role construction for involvement and a sense of e fficacy about helping their children succeed. A better understanding of parents beli efs about what they are supposed to do (role construction) in relation to their adolescents ca reer planning would help guide educators in their efforts to involve parents. This is especially true of families of diverse youth where cultural, 119

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socioeconomic and ethnic differences may cause misunderstanding and miscommunication between school and home. Role construction deve lops over time and is shaped by the personal experiences and expectations of individuals and social groups impor tant to the parent. Since role construction can be influenced and changed, hi gh schools have the poten tial of working with parents to develop programs and activities that can positively and significantly support family involvement in adolescents learning, deve lopment and planning for their future (HooverDempsey & Sandler, 1995, 2005; Simon, 2001). In addition, conducting qualitative studies investigating how minorities and low SES families construct their roles for involvement in their adolescents career planning may also provide more detailed information on the reasons why parents do not become more involved. This data could lead to a better understanding of how parents view their roles and guide schools in the development of their outreach programs. Third, additional research us ing the individual survey s ubscales is warranted. Such research might enable researchers to strength en the comprehensivenes s of the instrument by further exploring or expanding the item pool. For example, dividing the subscale, parent volunteering and decision/making into two separate subscales would enable researchers to examine more fully the types of parent volunteering and the factors that might influence parents to participate. The same type of examination of parent decision-maki ng may provide educators with information to encourag e parent involvement in deci sion-making that might ensure representation from all the various groups with in the school (i.e., minorities, SES levels,). Moreover, although the results indicated academic communication was rated as the most important subscale and the subscale with the highes t provision of activities, further examination of the item, provide parents with regular communicati ons about students academic progress, may be needed to determine if participants were basing their responses on the typical report card 120

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format or more individual contacts regarding st udents academic progress or difficulties. Recent research by Civic Enterprises for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2008) found that parents of students in low-pe rforming schools generally did not receive communication about academic difficulties. In addition high sc hool dropouts surveyed in 2006 by the Gates Foundation indicated that improving communication between parents and school was one of the most important actions schools could take to keep students in school. In 1992 the Secretarys Commi ssion on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) completed a report entitled Learning a Living: A Bluepr int for High Performance which was a guide for the nation to encourage a high performance economy with highly skilled workers and high wage employment. One of the five necessary competencies was interpersonal skills which included working on teams, teaching others, serving customers, leading, negotiating, and working well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. In addition one of the three foundation areas was the area of personal qualities which included individual responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management and integrity. The subs cale of personal/social is an area of concern considering that recent research reports that ma ny high school graduates are not prepared in this area. For example Casner-Lot o & Barrington (2006) reported that the development of personal/social skills was not a priority for th eir study participants sc hools. The counselors and career specialists in this study i ndicated that assisting parents w ith the development of personal /social skills was relatively important (mean of 3.14); however, the level of provision of the activities was 38%. Additi onal research to determine the reas ons these services are not provided to parents could be valuable to sc hools and to the world of business. An examination of potential barrie rs is critical to the development of any program. In this study of parental involvement, it became clear th at the counselors and career specialists 121

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perceived that time constraints and limited parent interest in student ca reer planning were the major barriers to successful parent involveme nt programs for their schools. However, limited parent interest can be a very subjective term The results of the study indicate that the participants assume that many parents are not inte rested in assisting with their students career planning. Research has shown, however, that parents are often viewed as not interested when in reality they are unsure, uncomfo rtable, and possibly feeling inad equate. Schools must first reach out to parents and make them comfortable and needed. The counselors and career specialists surveyed in this study also repo rted that a lack of time was the primary barrier for parents in becomi ng involved in their stud ents career planning. This indicates an understanding of the parents wo rld. Perhaps future studies of the types of time constraints that prevent parents from involvement with their st udents career planning could provide educators with suggestions fo r strategies to assist parents. Additional research on successful programs and strategies for developing parent involvement programs would be helpful to school s that have limited resources for developing outreach programs. Training program s designed to assist counselors and career specialists in facilitating parent involvement in career planning and decision-mak ing would also be a valuable tool. Summary This study investigated the importance of pa rental involvement in career planning, the strategies used by high schools to involve parents in their childs career planning, and the most frequent barriers to involving pa rents in students career planning. An Internet-based survey was distributed to counselors and career specialists in high schools in South Carolina and Florida. The findings revealed that all ei ght types of parental involvement activities were considered important to participants, and that activities from each of the eight types were provided by the 122

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participants high schools. In a ddition, the valuing and implementation of these activities did not differ significantly in schools located in rural, urban or suburban communities. Moreover, the participants reported that the mo st significant barriers for educators to the effective involvement of parents was a lack of time and limited parent interest while for parents the most significant barrier was lack of time. This study has impli cations for the role in enhancing parental involvement that high school counselors and career specialists might assume in schools as well as in the nature of the activi ties that might be offered by high school counselors, teachers and administrators. 123

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APPENDIX A LETTER TO THE FLORIDA STUD ENT SERVICES DIRECTORS Date Dear Student Services Director, My name is Trevelyn Alford-Davidson and I am a school guidance counselor in Clay County, Florida. I am also enrolled as a doctora l student in the Counselor Education Department at the University of Florida. I am writing to solicit your support in my research on career planning. I believe this to be a very timely pr oject as the state of Florida has been working diligently to expand and improve our career education programs. During my doctoral studies at the University of Florida, I studied and taught parent/school collaboration classes to undergraduates and I researched career education. Through my experience and research I have come to believe that parent involvement is a very important component of career development. The topic of my dissertation is High School Counselors Perceptions of Parent Involveme nt in Student Career Planning. My research will involve an online survey of high school counselors and career coaches from two southern states. I would like to get their perceptions of the importance of various parent involvement activities. I would also like to know what is currently being done in high schools to involve parents in career planning. I am requesting your assistance in contacting the counselors from your district. Attached you will find a letter inviting high school counselors to participate in this survey. It explains confidentiality, the purpose of th e research, benefits of particip ating, and provides them with a link to access the survey which should only take about 20 minutes to complete. Please consider 124

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forwarding the letter to the high sc hool counselors and career coaches in your district as I believe their input will be extremely valuable. Thank you very much for your time and contri bution to this project that will provide information to assist our counselors in planning for future students. I hope that you will read the letter and view the survey. I would welcome your i nput on this project. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sincerely, Trevelyn Alford-Davidson trevelyn@bellsouth.net 904-625-8176 125

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APPENDIX B LETTER TO THE FLORIDA COUNSELORS Date Dear Fellow Counselor, My name is Trevelyn Alford-Davidson and I am a school guidance counselor in Clay County, Florida, and a doctoral st udent in the Counselor Education Department at the University of Florida. I am writing to solicit your participation in my di ssertation research on career planning. The purpose of my study is to assess the perceptions of hi gh school counselors and career coaches regarding the importance and impl ementation of parent involvement in student career planning. My research will involve an online survey of high school counselors and career coaches from two southern states. In this survey you will be asked to rate your perceptions of the importance of 37 different high school parent in volvement activities and to indicate if your school provides such an activity. Two multiple -choice questions are also provided for you to assess the types of barriers pare nts and educators may experience in their parent involvement efforts. The survey can be completed in about 20 minutes. To participate in this study, you will need: a) a minimum of two years experience as a high school counselor or career coach, b) current em ployment as high school counselor or career coach, c) state certification as a school guidance counselor or car eer coach, and d) a minimum of a masters degree in school counseling. Participation in this research is entire ly voluntary and there is no penalty for not participating. There are no anticip ated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to participants. All results will be kept confidential to the ex tent provided by law. You may also discontinue your participation in this survey at any time without consequence. 126

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By accessing the link below and completing the survey, you are agreeing to participate in the study. It also serves as permission for your re sponses to be included in the research. I am including my email address and hope you will contact me if you would like to receive information regarding the resu lts or any follow-up research. Thank you so much for your time and your devoti on to the students of Florida. It is my hope that this research will assist you in your efforts to adequately prepare our students for success. Sincerely, Trevelyn Alford-Davidson trevelyn@bellsouth.net Survey link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=VpAiJWIjXbBc5DWFF2zKHw_3d_3d 127

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APPENDIX C LETTER TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA COUNSELORS Date Dear Fellow Counselor, My name is Trevelyn Alford-Davidson and I am a school guidance counselor and doctoral student in the Counselor Educati on Department at the University of Florida. Prior to my moving here, I was employed as a school counselor for 12 years in South Carolina. I am writing to solicit your participation in my disserta tion research, as I am well aware of the diligent efforts of South Carolina in the area of career development. The purpose of my study is to assess the per ceptions of high school counselors and career coaches regarding the importance and implementati on of parent involvement in student career planning. My research will involve an online su rvey of high school counselors and career coaches from two southern states. In this survey you will be asked to rate your perceptions of the importance of 37 different high school parent in volvement activities and to indicate if your school provides such an activity. Two multiple -choice questions are also included for you to assess the types of barriers pare nts and educators may experience in their parent involvement efforts. The survey can be completed in about 20 minutes. To participate in the study you will need: a) a minimum of two years experience as a high school counselor or career coach (CDF), b) current employment as a high school counselor or career coach (CDF), c) state certification as a school guidanc e counselor or career coach (CDF), and d) a minimum of a master s degree in school counseling. Participation in the study is entirely voluntar y and there is no penalty for not participating. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or ot her direct benefits to participants in this 128

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survey. All results will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. You may discontinue your participation in this survey at any time without consequence. By accessing the link below and completing the survey, you are agreeing to participate in the study. It also serves as permission for your re sponses to be included in the research. I am including my email address and hope you will contact me if you would like to receive information regarding the resu lts or any follow-up research. Thank you so much for your time and your devotion to the students of South Carolina. It is my hope that this research will assist you in your efforts to adequately prepare our students for success. Sincerely, Trevelyn Alford-Davidson trevelyn@bellsouth.net Survey link : http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=VpAiJWIjXbBc5DWFF2zKHw_3d_3d 129

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APPENDIX D ITEM MEANS FOR IMPORTANCE RATING OF ACTIVITY GROUPED BY SUBSCALE Table D-1. Items means for importance rating of activity grouped by subscale Question Rural Urban Suburban Total Subscale One: Personal/Social 1. What is the importance of providing parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Internet resources, etc.) about helping them work with their adolescents to develop skills for getting along with others? 3.51 3.58 3.45 3.50 2. What is the importance of providing workshops to provide parents with information on how adolescents develop positive work habits? 3.35 3.22 3.36 3.32 3. What is the importance of conducting workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents to become more achievement-oriented? 3.39 3.30 3.31 3.33 4. What is the importance of providing parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Internet resources, etc.) to assist them in helping their adolescents become more achievement-oriented? 3.45 3.31 3.34 3.37 5. What is the importance of providing parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Internet resources, etc.) on how adolescents develop positive work habits? 3.36 3.17 3.27 3.27 6. What is the importance of conducting workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents develop skills for getting along with others 3.32 3.18 3.22 3.24 Subscale Two: Career Exploration 1. What is the importance of conducting workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents identify their career interests and skills? 3.43 3.65 3.47 3.51 2. What is the importance of prov iding a school career fair for students and parents? 3.50 3.36 3.49 3.46 3. What is the importance of providing parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Internet resources, etc.) to assist them in helping their adolescents identify their career interests and skills? 3.50 3.41 3.57 3.51 4. What is the importance of providing parents with information on assisting their adolescents in career exploration outside of the school setting? 3.47 3.20 3.44 3.39 5. What is the importance of providing parents with current information about career opportunities via printed material such as newsletters, school websites, brochures and letters? 3.38 3.33 3.52 3.43 Subscale Three: Career Planning 1. What is the importance of providing parents with printed information on how to support students in their career decisionmaking? 3.54 3.47 3.52 3.51 2. What is the importance of pr oviding parents with access to a guidance website that contains current information on student career planning and decision-making? 3.67 3.59 3.77 3.69 3. What is the importance of providing parents with workshops on how to support students in career decision-making? 3.41 3.21 3.33 3.32 4. What is the importance of providing parents with opportunities for conferences each year with the school counselor or career coach (CDF) to discuss their adolescents career planning? 3.64 3.57 3.53 3.57 130

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Table D-1. Continued Question Rural Urban Suburban Total Subscale Four: Post-Secondary Planning 1. What is the importance of pr oviding parents with access to a guidance website that contains current information on student post secondary planning? 3.75 3.79 3.86 3.81 2. What is the importance of inviting parents to attend college recruitment presentations held at your school? 3.40 3.40 3.44 3.42 3. What is the importance of coordinating with state or district staff to provide families with access to online services to assist in post secondary planning for college or job training programs? 3.33 3.50 3.61 3.49 4. What is the importance of conducting meetings or workshops for parents on post secondary training opportunities (e.g., college/technical school), entrance requirements and financial aid (scholarships, loans, grants, etc.)? 3.81 3.78 3.83 3.81 5. What is the importance of providing parents with printed information (websites, brochures, or newsletters) on college entrance requirements and financial aid (sch olarships, loans, grants, etc.)? 3.79 3.83 3.84 3.82 Subscale Five: Parent Volunteering 1. What is the importance of establishing a parent volunteer program to assist with activities such as career fairs, field trips, career presentations, or mentoring? 3.05 3.57 3.34 3.31 2. What is the importance of conduc ting an annual survey of parents to help determine student and parent needs for student career planning 3.48 3.49 3.44 3.47 3. What is the importance of conduc ting an annual survey of parents to identify available parent talents and skills? 2.94 2.87 3.09 2.99 4. What is the importance of promoting the use of parents to make classroom presentations about their careers? 3.00 2.93 3.11 3.03 5. How important is it to promote the use of parents in making presentations about their career s at school career fairs? 3.13 2.96 3.13 3.08 6. What is the importance of providing opportunities for parental involvement on committees and in school leadership positions? 3.64 3.73 3.63 3.66 7. What is the importance of soliciting parent input on the development of the career guidance curriculum? 3.00 2.91 3.03 2.99 Subscale Six: General Communication 1. What is the importance of providing translators for parents when needed? 3.69 3.81 3.80 3.77 2. What is the importance of providing parents with opportunities for informal discussions with school staff members such as lunch with the counselor, breakfast with the principal or informal meetings with teachers? 3.36 3.04 3.20 3.21 3. What is the importance of providing translated print material for parents when needed? 3.65 3.68 3.66 3.66 4. What is the importance of providing parents with current information about school programs via emails, web pages, or letters home? 3.77 3.80 3.83 3.81 Subscale Seven: Academic Communication 1. What is the importance of providing parents with regular communications about their adolescents progress? 3.95 4.00 3.92 3.95 2. What is the importance of conducting meetings for parents of entering ninth grade students to explain academic requirements, registration, course offerings and school policies and procedures? 3.91 3.98 3.94 3.94 3. What is the importance of providing information to parents about course selection, registratio n, and educational planning? 3.91 3.96 3.94 3.93 131

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Table D-1. Continued Question Rural Urban Suburban Total Subscale Eight: Collaboration 1. What is the importance of providing parents with information on resources and services within the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, student learning and career development? 3.64 3.75 3.53 3.62 2. What is the importance of developing community service programs that involve students, parents, and community? 3.59 3.50 3.47 3.51 3. What is the importance of developing partnerships with the community (e.g., business, health, cultural, recreational) that will assist in service integration? 3.65 3.55 3.67 3.63 132

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APPENDIX E ITEM PERCENTAGES FOR ACTIVITIES PROVIDED GROUPED BY SUBSCALE Table E-1. Item percentages for ac tivities provided grouped by subscale Question Rural Urban Suburban Total Subscale One: Personal/Social % yes % yes % yes % yes 1. Does your school provide parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Inte rnet resources, etc.) about helping them work with their adolescents to develop skills for getting along with others? 64.3 70.8 68.8 67.9 2. Does your school provide workshops to provide parents with information on how adolescents develop positive work habits? 21.8 19.1 17.9 19.4 3. Does your school conduct workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents to become more achievement-oriented? 28.6 23.4 17.7 22.5 4. Does your school provide parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Intern et resources, etc.) to assist them in helping their adolescents become more achievement-oriented? 63.6 65.2 48.1 57.3 5. Does your school provide parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, In ternet resources, etc.) on how adolescents develop positive work habits? 44.6 37.8 33.3 38.0 6. Does your school conduct workshops to provide parents with information about helping their adolescents develop skills for getting along with others 23.6 22.2 22.8 22.9 Subscale Two: Career Exploration 1. Does your school conduct workshops to provide parents with information about helping their ad olescents identify their career interests and skills? 50.0 61.7 46.3 51.4 2. Does your school provide a school career fair for students and parents? 67.9 58.7 62.0 63.0 3. Does your school provide parents with printed information (brochures, emails, web pages, Intern et resources, etc.) to assist them in helping their adolescents identify their career interests and skills? 87.3 78.7 82.7 83.1 4. Does your school provide parents with information on assisting their adolescents in car eer exploration outside of the school setting? 62.3 58.7 65.8 62.9 5. Does your school provide parents with current information about career opportunities via printed material such as newsletters, school websites, brochures and letters? 70.9 76.1 62.8 68.7 Subscale Three: Career Planning 1. Does your school provide parents with printed information on how to support students in their career decision-making? 76.6 77.1 73.1 75.3 2. Does your school provide parents with access to a guidance website that contains current information on student career planning and decision-making? 74.5 70.2 87.5 79.1 3. Does your school provide parents with workshops on how to support students in ca reer decision-making? 40.1 21.3 32.9 32.0 4. Does your school provide parents with opportunities for conferences each year with the school counselor or career coach (CDF) to discuss their adolescents career planning? 85.5 78.3 79.7 81.1 133

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Table E-1. Continued Question Rural Urban Suburban Total Subscale Four: Post-Secondary Planning 1. Does your school provide parents with access to a guidance website that contains current information on student post secondary planning? 78.6 78.7 93.8 85.2 2. Does your school invite parents to attend college recruitment presentations held at your school? 58.2 66.0 66.3 63.7 3. Does your school coordinate with state or district staff to provide families with access to online services to assist in post secondary planning for college or job training programs? 62.5 85.1 79.7 75.8 4. Does your school conduct meetings or workshops for parents on post secondary training opportunities (e.g., college/technical school), entrance requirements and financial aid (scholarships, loans, grants, etc.)? 94.6 87.0 93.7 92.3 5. Does your school provide parents with printed information (websites, brochures, or ne wsletters) on college entrance requirements and financial aid (sch olarships, loans, grants, etc.)? 94.6 95.7 94.9 95.0 Subscale Five: Parent Volunteering 1. Does your school establish a parent volunteer program to assist with activities such as career fairs, field trips, career presentations, or mentoring? 42.9 54.2 54.4 50.8 2. Does your school conduct an annual survey of parents to help determine student and parent needs for student career planning 47.3 38.3 40.0 41.8 3. Does your school conduct an annual survey of parents to identify available parent talents and skills? 25.5 8.5 15.4 16.7 4. Does your school promote the use of parents to make classroom presentations about their careers? 39.3 45.7 46.2 43.9 5. Does your school promote the use of parents in making presentations about their career s at school career fairs? 42.9 43.2 43.0 43.0 6. Does your school provide opportunities for parental involvement on committees and in sc hool leadership positions? 94.4 86.7 94.9 93.3 7. Does your school solicit parent input on the development of the career guidance curriculum? 27.3 28.3 29.5 25.5 Subscale Six: General Communication 1. Does your school provide translators for parents when needed? 94.5 93.8 92.5 93.4 2. Does your school provide parents with opportunities for informal discussions with school staff me mbers such as lunch with the counselor, breakfast with the prin cipal or informal meetings with teachers? 50.0 29.8 44.3 42.3 3. Does your school provide translated print material for parents when needed? 89.3 87.2 87.2 87.8 4. Does your school What is the importance of providing parents with current information about school programs via emails, web pages, or letters home? 96.3 97.8 93.6 95.5 Subscale Seven: Academic Communication 1. Does your school provide parents with regular communications about their adolescents progress? 98.2 100 100 99.5 2. Does your school conduct meetings for parents of entering ninth grade students to explain academic re quirements, registration, course offerings and school policies and procedures? 92.9 93.8 97.4 95.0 3. Does your school provide information to parents about course selection, registration, and educational planning? 98.2 97.9 97.5 97.8 134

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Table E-1. Continued Question Rural Urban Suburban Total Subscale Eight: Collaboration 1. Does your school provide parents with information on resources and services within the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, student lear ning and career development? 76.4 83.3 78.8 79.2 2. Does your school develop community service programs that involve students, parents, and community? 69.1 67.4 75.0 71.3 3. Does your school develop partnerships with the community (e.g., business, health, cultural, recreati onal) that will assist in service integration? 87.0 76.6 84.6 83.2 135

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Trevelyn Alford-Davidson was born in St. Augus tine, Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in deaf education in1977 from Lenoir-Rhyne College. She received her Master of Education in specific learning disabilities in 1981 from the University of Florida and her Education Specialist degree in school guidance an d counseling from the University of South Carolina in 1990. She was invited to participate in the Spartanburg County Future Administrators program at Converse College and completed a sec ond Master of Education degree in educational leadership in 2003. Trevelyn began her teaching career at the Flor ida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, Florida. She later moved to Gainesvi lle, Florida, and taught in a self-contained middle school program for hearing impaired childre n. After completing her Masters Degree, she accepted a position as a social worker at the Fl orida School for the Deaf and Blind. She later became employed as an Intervention Specialis t for the Duval County Special Education Department. In 1987, Trevelyn moved to South Carolina to begin work on her counseling degree. She taught self-contained, middle schoo l, learning disabled students in Columbia, South Carolina. Upon receiving her specialist degree in school guidance and counseling, she began working as a guidance counselor in Greenwood, S.C. and Sparta nburg, S.C. In 2003, she retu rned to Florida to complete her Ph.D. in school guidance and counse ling. She is currently a guidance counselor in the Clay County School System of Florida. Trevelyn is a trainer for the Second Step violence prevention program and is trained as a facilitator for Active Parenting. She is member of the American Counseling Association and the National Career Deve lopment Association. 159