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An on-line career development guidance unit for sixth-grade students

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Title:
An on-line career development guidance unit for sixth-grade students
Alternate title:
Online career development guidance unit for sixth-grade students
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Pedersen, Laura Spirstone, 1960-
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English
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vi, 134 leaves : ; 29 cm.

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Academic advising ( jstor )
Career counseling ( jstor )
Computers in education ( jstor )
High school students ( jstor )
Locus of control ( jstor )
Personal computers ( jstor )
Psychological counseling ( jstor )
School counseling ( jstor )
School counselors ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )
Counselor Education thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Counselor Education -- UF ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1999.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 125-133).
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Laura Spirstone Pedersen.

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University of Florida
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The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. This item may be protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact the RDS coordinator (ufdissertations@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
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AN ON-LINE CAREER DEVELOPMENT GUIDANCE UNIT
FOR SIXTH-GRADE STUDENTS















By


LAURA SPIRSTONE PEDERSEN


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1999














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am profoundly grateful to my supervisory committee members, Dr. Larry Loesch, Dr. Harry Daniels, Dr. David Miller, and especially Dr. Robert Myrick, my committee chair, for their encouragement, patience, and support throughout the duration of this study. Dr. Myrick very generously contributed his wisdom and creativity in addition to tirelessly encouraging my professional development.

I am also grateful to the good people of Tuscaloosa who assisted me in the implementation of this project. Dr. Allen Wilcoxon provided endless support and practical assistance. Denise Perry worked diligently at program delivery. Sharon Clanton and Shannon Hamner supported the school-based implementation with grace. My thanks also go to Doug Manning of Bridges Initiatives for permission to use the CX program in this study.

Finally, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the family and friends who stood by me, particularly my parents, Norman and Isabel, my siblings, and friends, Evelyn Smith and Harold Bamberg, all of whom put up with so much.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS................................................ .......... ii

ABSTRACT........................................................................... v


CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................. ..1

Employment Projections......................................................... 2
Need for the Study............................................................... 4
Theoretical Rationale.............................................................. 7
Purpose of the Study............................................................... 13
Definition of Terms.............................................................. . 13
Research Questions.............................................................. . 14
Organization of the Remainder of the Study.................................... 14

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE................................................... 15

Developmental Career Counseling in the Schools .......................... 15
Computer Technology-Possibilities and Pitfalls ........................... 25
Applications of Computers in Career Counseling ........................... 31
Career Development Constructs............................................... .. 39
Career Development Theory as Applied to Adolescence...................... 49
Sum m ary.......................................................................... 58

3 RESEARCH DESIGN, METHODOLOGY, AND PROCEDURES ...... 60

Population and Sample............................................................. 60
Research Design................................................................... 63
Hypotheses......................................................................... 63
Relevant Variables.............................................................. .. 65
Dependent Variables: The Instruments........................................ 69
Research Procedures............................................................ . 73











4 RESEARCH FINDINGS............................................................. 75

C areer M aturity........................................................................ 75
Locus of C ontrol....................................................................... 78
Gender and Career Maturity......................................................... 79
Gender and Locus of Control........................................................ 81

5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND
RECOMMENDATIONS........................................................... 85

Sum m ary............................................................................... 85
R esults.................................................................................. 86
L im itations............................................................................. 88
Im plications......................................................................... .. 90
O ther Findings......................................................................... 92
Recommendations.................................................................... 94

APPENDICES

A PERMISSION......................................................................... 97

B GUIDANCE UNIT MANUAL ...................................................... 100

C POSTASSESSMENT SURVEY ................................................... 123

REFERENCES ........................................................................... 125

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH........................................................... 134














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

AN ON-LINE CAREER DEVELOPMENTAL GUIDANCE UNIT FOR SIXTH-GRADE STUDENTS By

Laura Spirstone Pedersen

May 1999

Chairperson: Robert Myrick
Major Department: Counselor Education

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a developmental

guidance unit on sixth-grade students. More specifically, the study examined how the on-line unit affected career maturity and locus of control.

A pretest-posttest control group design was used with 95 students from the sixth grade middle school of an urban school district in central Alabama. The students were randomly selected from 185 who were eligible to participate based on their access to the Internet-connected computer lab. The unit was delivered by a middle school teacher who is also a counselor-in-training. Data were analyzed using an analysis of variance on two dependent variables. Four null hypotheses were tested.

No significant differences (a=.05) were found between groups in changes from pretest to posttest in career maturity (HOI), in locus of control (HO2), or in gender









differences on locus of control (HO4). A significant mean difference (oa=.05) resulted between genders in career maturity (HO3) on both pretest and posttest measures, but further analysis using a factorial analysis of variance did not find significant differences in gender by group interaction.

The data did not provide support for the eight-session on-line career exploration unit with sixth grade students. Qualitative data taken from students, however, indicated that the unit was perceived as useful and challenging.

Middle school students are at a critical time in their development of vocational identity and career aspirations as they begin to explore their own strengths and interests. The unit had limited success in affecting career maturity and locus of control, but provides a starting point for designing research in this crucial area.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

It is important that students receive comprehensive career guidance as part of an overall guidance curriculum in our schools. The current economic situation in the United States is one of transition and turbulence, with the result that students must be prepared in new ways to plan for their futures. Today's students will change jobs an average of eight times during their careers (VonVillas, 1995), and many of these changes will entail movement between different fields. Students must leave high school with a clear understanding of themselves and their goals if they are to prosper under these demanding circumstances.

Most students perceive a college education as being essential for career mobility and growth, but recent changes in our economy have led to a need to reassess this assumption. While a college education can be vital in maximizing future earnings for individuals, the decision to attend college must be based on sound information and careful planning. A majority of young Americans expect to have high status jobs and high salaries (Olson, 1996), but have an unrealistic view of how this can be achieved. Merely matriculating at a college is no guarantee of financial success. Only 24.8% of students who begin a four-year degree program have completed it six years later (Olson, 1996). A great many students, therefore, are wasting time and tuition money.








Employment Projections

"Making informed career decisions requires reliable information about

opportunities that should be available in any field" (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996, p. 1). Students in school today must have a clear sense of what options are likely to be available to them when they finish their education and training before they commit themselves to a course of action.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the Bureau of

Labor Statistics (1996), the coming decade will be a time of change and uncertainty in the labor force. The fastest growing occupational fields will reflect the continuing expansion of the computer technology and health care sectors. Service-producing fields will account for most new jobs, particularly in health care, business, and educational services. Health care service jobs alone will account for one-fifth of all job growth during the years 1994 to 2005 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996), partially due to the aging of the American population.

While jobs with higher educational requirements and higher salaries will show the most growth in number of new positions, and jobs requiring bachelor's degrees will average almost twice the growth predicted for jobs with lower education and training requirements, there will be a number of areas of rapid expansion that will not require entry-level applicants to have four-year degrees. Nurses, carpenters, electrical technicians, and police officers will all be in much demand and these fields are wellpaying relative to the amount of education they require (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1996). Students who know where to find current information and future projections will










be at a distinct advantage in matching their interests and aspirations with appropriate educational planning.

It is equally important that students be aware of which fields are declining in number of predicted openings. The fastest declining jobs markets between 1994 and 2005 will be in agriculture, typing, word processing, bookkeeping, child-care, and janitorial services (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996; Drummond & Ryan, 1995). These have traditionally been favored positions for students with a high school degree and little further training. Projections are grim for students with a high school education or less, because there will be openings for these individuals, but they will be at the lowest salary levels and will offer the least chance for advancement.

A further concern regarding employment projections for the coming decade is the inequity between the number of minority ethnic and racial group members who will be entering the work force and the opportunities which will be available to them. The proportion of Hispanics, Asians, and other minority races in the population will increase in relation to African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites, and African-Americans will increase in number more quickly than non-Hispanic whites. Therefore, the labor force will become increasingly diverse as well. Hispanics and African-Americans, however, had lower than average educational attainment in 1994 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996), and thus will have an increasingly difficult time finding well-paying jobs in the coming decade. It is essential that career guidance programs which link interests, abilities, aspirations, and educational planning reach these segments of our population which are










most at risk for being undereducated or undertrained in today's demanding economic climate.

Need for the Study

Technological Development

The State of Alabama has traditionally been ranked near or at the bottom of

national rankings on all educational benchmarks (Alabama Education News, 1998). State Superintendent of Education, Ed Richardson, has overseen the development of major educational initiatives during the past four years, as reported in the Alabama Education News (1998): "We've implemented a lot and we've done it at a fast pace because for too long Alabama has been in last place in many educational rankings, and we've done a disservice to our students. We allowed them to graduate with a diploma based on an average curriculum and an eighth grade level graduation exam, neither of which prepared them for the workplace of the future" (p.1). Among these initiatives were provisions for standards, additional funding, and training for teachers in the use of technology for instruction. The school initiatives also included five components for career and technical education programs which were centered around the need for offering a career discovery course and the direct application of career majors and pathways to academic content areas. The emphasis on technology applications and career exploration as important educational components to be integrated into curricular content highlights the need for investigation of Internet developmental guidance units in the Alabama schools.

In addition, federal government support has grown increasingly strong for

implementation of technology in the classroom, as evidenced by President Clinton's










stated goal of having every eighth grade student be able to log on to the Internet (Roache, 1997). Congress approved allocations this year of 425 million dollars to help states get their schools wired, money which is distributed among states which in turn control its distribution among school districts. The emphasis in this program is upon helping poorer students and school districts access technological developments. Utilization of Available Resources

While there are valid concerns about the equity of access to computers and to their applications, equal attention needs to be paid to how computers are being used. In addition to providing access to computers, it is essential that government and district resources be provided for staff training, program development, and evaluation. School counselors are in a position to revolutionize the ways in which many aspects of their jobs are performed, but they must take the lead in program development, implementation, and evaluation.

Career counseling as part of a comprehensive developmental guidance program in the schools is perfectly placed to take advantage of technological developments. There is a relatively long history of computer use in school counseling in regard to information management, word processing, and record keeping. Career guidance programs have been in the forefront of program development in terms of dissemination of information and online assessments. Software programs have helped counselors organize and maintain huge amounts of information, and present this information to students in an appropriate, timely manner. "Computerized approaches to helping the career counselors do not make the job










any easier, but they make it possible for the job to be done better" (Krumboltz, 1990, p. 135).

As early as 1970, theorists in career counseling were speculating upon the advantages to be gained through computerized information management and dissemination:

The system should enable the counselor to work at a higher level of
individualized and diagnostic problem-solving with each student, since the
student should be aware of and better prepared to deal with the personal
problems of educational and vocational planning. The system should help
the counselor identify students who may need more immediate personalized
attention because of unrealistic planning. The counselor should therefore
be able to devote more of his [sic] time to professional counseling
activities and less time to maintaining and operating a general educationaloccupational information library. (Minor, in Super, 1970, p.45)

Computerized aids to career counseling did indeed live up to this early prediction. Their widespread use has been essential in allowing career counselors to maximize their efforts and to provide effective and efficient interventions.

More recently, however, career guidance in the schools has been undergoing a significant shift from occupational choice to life planning. The reality of economic uncertainty and the need for flexibility in career paths have led to an evolving change in career counseling theory and practice. "The early, straightforward procedures used in helping individuals choose occupations have evolved into diverse strategies, incorporating career decision making and life-planning" (Zunker, 1994, p. 17). The combination of a paradigm shift in vocational guidance with new and exciting technological innovations in the schools have created an opportunity for developmental school counselors, one that has not yet been met.










School Counseling and the Internet

Several advantages to using the Internet in vocational education have been

investigated recently (Imel, 1996; Wagner, 1995), and include arousal of student interest, ease of communication between students and teachers, availability of new resources and current information, and the development of relationships throughout the world with the possibility of communication with experts in any field. The use of computers to access personally relevant career information has been found to be empowering to youths and adults alike (Imel, 1996).

It is a necessity for school counselors to become involved in the development of career interventions that take advantage of computerized networks. Until very recently, only large corporations and governments had the resources to develop such programs (Carson & Cartwright, 1997), but the burgeoning of the Internet and access to it have opened the door for individuals to show initiative in the creation of Internet applications in vocational guidance. School counselors have the opportunity to explore new horizons in career interventions, and the responsibility to participate in the development of programs that will meet their students' needs and allow for the most effective use of counselor time and resources.

Theoretical Rationale

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Developmental guidance and counseling theory is based on the understanding that human growth and development is a lifelong process in which genetic and environmental factors interact. This interaction normally results in a predictable transition through










identifiable stages, but the process can be altered by the appearance of disruptive factors (Myrick, 1995). Developmental guidance involves designing educational programs which take into account the expected stages and tasks in which individuals are engaged.

Developmental guidance is organized as a series of large group, small group and individual interventions within the educational setting which have a set of specific goals. These goals include understanding the school environment, understanding self and others, understanding behaviors and attitudes, decision-making and problem solving, interpersonal and communication skills, school success skills, career awareness and educational planning, and community involvement (Myrick, 1995). The interventions designed for specific groups or individuals take into account the developmental stages and associated tasks which are appropriate for that age.

Career development is an integral part of a developmental guidance program at all grade levels. The consideration of cognitive, behavioral, social, and affective processes of students is designed to complement and enhance the learning process and the school environment. The common experiences of human development, including stage transition and associated tasks of the maturation process (Havighurst, 1972), are integrated into the educational setting, and career development is one essential aspect of a complete developmental guidance program. Developmental Career Counseling

The work of Donald Super has focused on the theoretical basis that career

development, like human development in general, passes through a series of identifiable stages with associated tasks and processes. In order to develop a career guidance program










that will meet the needs of students, counselors must be cognizant of the developmental levels of their target populations. Only by tailoring information and activities to the appropriate stages can growth and development be efficiently fostered.

Students at the middle school level are in a period of exploration and discovery (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). The exploratory stage is a fertile time for catching student's attention, but it is also a time of unrest and uncertainty. The self-concept is undergoing major upheaval (Erikson, 1963; Super 1974; Myrick, 1995), and students have behavioral characteristics which reflect this. It is essential at this period that individuals have the opportunity to explore their own values as well as exploring the world of work and career choices (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). Students in this stage are often egocentric and extremely concerned with the reactions of their peers. At the exploratory level, therefore, small group activities are well-received and it is important for students to understand not only what their tasks are but why these tasks are important. Middle and high school students gain confidence and a sense of identity from positive growth, positive results, and the sharing of both (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). Adolescents at these ages must be convinced of the relevance and importance of developmental career guidance interventions in order to benefit most fully from them, but when they have been convinced, the potential for timely teaching (Havighurst, 1972) is almost unparalleled.

Counselors at this level are far more than purveyors of vocational information,

therefore, but must also be facilitators, coordinators, teachers, and consultants. In addition to providing information, they must also teach problem-solving and decision making skills, encourage personal exploration of values and goals, and foster a readiness for










lifelong planning. The goals of the exploratory stage in a general sense are to master the developmental tasks of the stage and to develop career maturity (Drummond & Ryan, 1995) but the undertaking can be challenging due to the limited experience and selfcentered worldview of students at this age.

Specific career guidance curriculums have been proposed by a number of theorists in the past twenty years (Maddy-Bernstein & Cunanan, 1995; Passow, in Super, 1974; Drummond & Ryan, 1995). Generally, such educational plans are broken down into the areas of self-knowledge, educational and occupational exploration, and career planning (Maddy-Bernstein & Cunanan, 1995). Career indecision is quite common at this stage and can often be traced to lack of research, lack of appropriate options or selection of inappropriate options, and lack of follow-through on related tasks.

While this confluence of theory and practice has been applied diligently in developmental school guidance programs for many years, recent technological developments and computer applications are changing the way school counselors see their jobs and the way they utilize resources in their schools. There is a pressing need for additional insight into the way that integration of computer technology into career guidance alters the traditional balance of theory and practice in our schools. Computers in Career Guidance

As economic and cultural forces in the United States have necessitated a more complex approach to career guidance, counselors have struggled to find a way to meet changing individual needs. Rather than assisting students and clients to arrive at a single career choice, counselors must shift focus to include complete life-planning and decision










making skills (Zunker, 1994). While the goals have become more complex, additional technological support has kept pace with changing demands to ensure that the end result is attainable. Computers in career counseling do not simplify the process, but when used appropriately, they do allow the counselors to do more and to be more thorough (Krumboltz, 1990).

As technology has become more sophisticated, methods of integrating computer programs into a developmental career guidance program have also become more complex. No longer are they perceived as delivering information about vocational alternatives while a counselor concentrates on helping students with the decision making process. There is an increasing emphasis on utilizing computers to teach information processing skills, to administer interest and value inventories, and to assess the likelihood that aspirations might be attained or compromises considered (Gati & Fassa, 1997). Clearly, computers are being used for much more than data dissemination as their applications have ventured into the terrain of cognitive and psychological development.

Theory has not caught up with these developments, however. While computers are being used in new and exciting ways, there is a lack of theory to connect counselors, students and software (Sampson, Peterson, & Reardon, 1989). Virtually all software development has been undertaken by large corporations, and has concentrated on the relationship between client and software. "In the past, theories focused on traits and factors, developmental stages, and roles. In the future theories will tend to be more holistic and reflect a worldview. With technological advances and artificial intelligence, the computer can become more apart [sic] of model and theory building" (Drummond &










Ryan, 1995, p. 356). As counselor roles change to reflect the growing contributions computer technology can make to career guidance, there are two related challenges before the counseling profession. Counseling practitioners must become more active in the design of computer applications and software, but they must also address the triad of counselor, client, and computer in theory so that the changing roles may be more completely understood and more effectively integrated.

The ultimate aim of computer-assisted career guidance systems is to foster independence and responsibility in users in regard to problem-solving and decision making (Sampson, Peterson & Reardon, 1989). Recent research has indicated that the ability to use computers to access personally relevant career information can be empowering for computer users (Imel, 1996). Computer assisted career guidance systems allow individuals to explore interests and abilities, learn about the world of work, investigate specific interest areas, and understand requirements and educational backgrounds necessary in a given field. The process is individualized, self-paced, and student-centered. In the classroom setting, a computer intervention has been shown to be positively related to a more internal locus of control (Swan, 1990), with students perceiving that they were more in control of their own learning with the inclusion of the computer.

While theory regarding computer use in career guidance is in a nascent form, it is a field with unlimited potential. Computer-assisted career guidance systems allow counselors to do more with their clients through selective use of developmentally appropriate activities and information, but the mere fact of allowing students to be in










control of some aspects of their own learning and exploration can be facilitative and growth-engendering.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a developmental guidance unit for middle school students that focused on career maturity and decision making. More specifically, the goal of the study was to investigate the effects of a career exploration unit, delivered via the Internet, on the career maturity and locus of control of early adolescents. An experimental design was used that involved experimental and control groups and hypotheses were tested.

Definition of Terms

The following terms are useful in understanding this study:

Career is the lifelong pattern of a person's vocational behavior and aspirations.

Career decision making is a process by which one evaluates vocational choices and arrives at a conclusion regarding a career.

Career maturity is the ability to master the developmental career-related tasks of a specific stage of life relative to one's peer group.

Career information delivery systems (CIDS) are computer programs designed to sort, organize, and present large amounts of vocational information based on an individual's specifications.

Computer-assisted career guidance systems (CACGs) refer to computer programs which combine information about career decision-making with the delivery of vocational information and data.










Developmental guidance unit is a specific educational experience designed to address common issues of growth and development which is integrated into the overall school curriculum.

Internet is a worldwide network of computer links which allow people to communicate, share, and learn rapidly and inexpensively, regardless of geographic location.

Locus of Control concerns feelings of control over events in one's life or taking responsibility for one's life.

Research Questions

The following questions received particular attention in the implementation of the current study on an Internet career counseling developmental guidance unit:

1. Does participation in an Internet-delivered career guidance unit affect the career maturity of middle school students?

2. Does participation in the career intervention affect the locus of control of middle school students?

3. Are there any differential effects in career maturity and locus of control among middle school students when gender is considered?

Organization of the Remainder of the Study

The remainder of the study is presented in four chapters. In Chapter 2, the related literature was reviewed and analyzed. A discussion of the methodology is contained in Chapter 3. The results of the study will be presented in Chapter 4, and a discussion of the results and their implications will follow in Chapter 5.














CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW


Developmental Career Counseling in Schools

The history of debate about the need for vocational guidance within schools is a lengthy one. As early as 1972, Havighurst was specifying certain tasks and objectives that schools should address in the area of career development. While Frank Parsons pioneered work in vocational guidance as long ago as the turn of the century, Havighurst broke ground more recently in terms of seeing it as a part of an overall developmental guidance program in the schools. Havighurst (1972) proposed that schools should become involved in the development and fostering of work-study programs for high school and college students, and that liberal arts and general studies should be tied in with vocational instruction at all age levels. Students might choose to follow a premedical plan of study, but they should take philosophy as well, for example. This concept becomes particularly relevant when one considers the frequency with which today's youth are expected to change jobs and career paths throughout the course of their lives.

Developmental school guidance and counseling is predicated upon the idea that human beings are compelled by their very nature to move sequentially and positively toward self-enhancement (Myrick, 1995). All people are engaged in a struggle to grow and develop that is never-ending. Interaction between the individual and the environment is a lifelong process that fosters change in the individual, and these changes essentially








take place in a forward, linear manner. While there are personal variations in the timing of the evolution, all people are assumed to follow a similar pattern. Human development, therefore, encompasses biological, social, and psychological growth.

All of these elements must be considered in a developmental school guidance program. Career development, in particular, can be both an end in and of itself and an impetus for intrapsychic growth. "[I]f students are taught to master certain tasks and skills that coincide with the different stages, perhaps learning lifelong skills and attitudes, then they are more likely to feel a sense of control and success in their lives" (Myrick, 1995, p.31). The developmental stages that people pass through have been clearly delineated by many different theorists in relation to physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and psychosexual growth. The main purpose of these theories is to allow for a conceptual understanding of what can be expected of children at different ages, and of how their needs can best be met in terms of a developmental guidance and counseling program. It is vital, however, that school counselors be alert and responsive to the uniqueness of individuals and to try to meet the varying needs of each student.

Career awareness and its connection to educational and life planning is one of the primary goals of developmental guidance and counseling (Myrick, 1995). It is essential that students have exposure to the world of work and all that is entailed therein if they are to have a vision of their future to complement their view of the present. They need to be encouraged to focus on career exploration that is related to their understanding of their own personal skills, interests, and talents. In this regard, schools need to provide comprehensive information about the knowledge and abilities required in a broad range of occupations, and they need to integrate this information into the regular curriculum








(Olson, 1996). Students also need to be prepared for adaptability. To this end, counselors must become more career-focused in their orientation to their own work, and schools must allot more resources to career guidance interventions (VonVillas, 1995).

Counselors must redefine their roles to include an emphasis on career

development, and this reconceptualization must be supported by the school population and the community at large. "[School counselors] have been called upon to act in the capacity of confidant, disciplinarian, consultant, scheduler, politician, administrator, and psychological helper. This ambiguity regarding counselors' roles and expectations has created confusion among teachers, support staff, parents, and students" (Maddy-Bernstein & Cunanan, 1995, p.95).

At the middle and high school levels it is important to remember that

developmental guidance and counseling is for all students, and that vocational counseling has equal relevance for the college-bound student and for those entering the work force directly. All students share the same developmental needs, and college-bound students are no more likely to have definite career goals than are those who are going directly to work (VonVillas, 1995).

The School-To-Work Opportunities Initiative of 1994

The consideration of a need for enhanced career guidance in the schools was

highlighted by the recent government commitment to the School-To-Work Opportunities Initiative. The basic principle is that all school-based learning and all work-based learning should be linked through connecting activities in the schools. In other words, what is done in the classroom must be made relevant to the workplace and to future vocational aspirations. No longer can classroom learning be considered as a separate









process that is a valuable end in and of itself. Therefore, the three basic components of a school-to-work program must be classroom learning, workplace learning, and the essential connecting activities (United States Department of Education, 1992).

There are several important ramifications of the school-to-work initiative. The first is that all teachers must be considered career educators because the work of the classroom must be tied directly to the future work environment. Students can be expected to change jobs eight times during their lives (VonVillas, 1995) and therefore must be educated for job skills that allow for adaptation and flexibility as opposed to learning one set of competencies for a particular career path. These job changes will not always be voluntary, nor are they always in the same field, so teachers must concentrate on fostering career exploration and self-knowledge in addition to teaching specific skills. Havighurst's (1972) recognition that formal education must be tied to adult occupational roles emphasizes the fact that students do not need to make a firm commitment to a particular field, but they need to consider how the skills taught in a class might be utilized in a variety of occupational settings.

The United States Department of Education (1992) composed a list of essential school-to-work program components which included:

1. direct and active involvement of local employers,
2. training of all guidance personnel in career counseling,
3. classroom lessons showing how school work applies to the world of
work,
4. a commitment to helping all students develop personal career plans,
5. competency-based learning in which students learn at their own rates,
6. focus schools with vocational themes within the high school,
7. tech-prep programs which combine two-year college technical training
with high school academic and vocational work, and
8. job placement services within the school setting.








These guidelines are very consistent with the principles of developmental guidance and counseling in terms of reaching all students, being integrated into the total educational process, involving all school personnel while providing counselors who offer specialized interventions, and being based on an organized, sequential curriculum (Myrick, 1995).

Two particular types of career development infusion into the curriculum of K-12 education are particularly important: courses which focus directly upon career development concepts and skills; and courses which tie their subject matter to appropriate career development information and activities (Mariani, 1995-96). The former would focus on the provision of separate, discrete career development interventions provided by occupational resource specialists, guidance counselors, or trained teacher-advisors. The latter is based on the consistent, daily integration of academic activities and occupational information. The vocational exploration would therefore be conducted, at least in part, by classroom teachers in conjunction with their particular subject matters. While the second approach is currently in favor, the first is a more traditional approach in terms of developmental guidance and counseling and they should be seen as complementary procedures, rather than disparate ones.

Evolving Objectives of School-Based Career Guidance and Counseling

While the definition of school-based career guidance programs is currently in a state of flux because of societal and educational policy changes, several important goals have emerged recently. Career counselors should focus on helping students narrow their interests and goals rather than encouraging them to commit to one specific career path at an early age. These individual interests should then be used as the foundation for designing a high school and college curriculum which would keep multiple options open









for students (VonVillas, 1995). The rapidly changing economy and the likelihood that individuals will change jobs repeatedly as adults make this a vital concern. This emphasis on individual planning and goal-setting will necessitate changes in studentcounselor ratios in the schools as well. It is difficult, if not impossible, for one counselor to assist 300 to 500 students in such an undertaking with any degree of effectiveness.

Career counseling programs share similar goals of assisting clients in making

career decisions, fostering the acquisition the decision-making skills, and improving the general adjustment status of the individual (Crites, 1976). All three of these goals can be applied to career counseling in the schools today. Within the school context, particular care must be exercised to ensure that students' levels of uncertainty regarding vocational and educational plans are reduced, and to ensure that the two are appropriately related (Minor, in Super, 1970).

Drummond and Ryan (1995) addressed the particular developmental and career guidance needs of middle school and high school-aged students in their efforts to develop an appropriate set of goals for school guidance programs. The primary objective for this age group is to engage them in planning their own vocational development. The focus should be on fostering decision-making skills and on teaching them to use available resources. It is also essential for the family to be involved in the exploration process and to support the objectives. Specific goals for this age group include the development of an understanding of the minimal educational competencies required to function in the job market, the knowledge to find and evaluate information about career options, and the understanding that personal values, abilities and skills are related to occupational choices.








By the time students have reached the high school level, they need to have

achieved these goals in order to think about themselves in relation to the world-of work. It is important that they understand how societal needs and variations influence the structure and demands of work roles, that they master the skills necessary to seek, obtain and maintain jobs, that they understand the importance of a positive self-concept, that they understand the relationships between work roles and all other life roles, and that they have developed the skills to make appropriate decisions (the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee & Oklahoma State Department of Education, 1991). The role of school counselors in career guidance is, therefore, a complex and demanding one. They must take the lead in program development, staff training, implementation of programming, the cultivation of administrative and community support, and direct services to students individually and in groups.

Maddy-Bemstein and Cunanan (1995) recommended a tripartite approach to career guidance programs which can be broken down into counseling interventions, collaboration and communication, and institutional support and leadership. Primary objectives of the interventions include increasing self-knowledge, educational and career exploration, and life long career planning. Equally important considerations, however, are the needs of diverse populations and the definition and provision of program support services. Collaboration and communication for such services requires that counselors utilize all resources in the community, including social service agencies and businesses, as well as involving the parents and families of students in the program as much as possible (Maddy-Bernstein, 1995). She also stressed the need to involve all teachers and staff in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the career guidance program. Finally, the








counselor must be responsible for engendering support for the program at the administrative level, district level, and community level. This comprehensive approach provides a starting point for school counselors to meet the demands of a changing society as well as a changing set of expectations of what a school career guidance program should be.

Current Innovations in Career Guidance Programs

School counselors and counselor educators have responded to the need for innovation and development in many creative ways. Drummond and Ryan (1995) support portfolio use as an essential tool in the vocational guidance process. Portfolios consisting of assessment results allow students to begin developing a clear understanding of their own learning styles, competencies, interests, values, and goals, but portfolios also may include academic evaluations, work experiences, family contributions, resumes, and examples of writing or artistic achievements. The compilation of such information is useful in and of itself, but the subsequent step is the evaluation of the portfolio contents in order to make decisions and set long-term goals. This also allows students to identify areas of weakness that they might want to remediate prior to entering the job market.

The involvement and training of teachers and advisors is a crucial area for the future of career guidance programs. While many schools currently have "Career Day" programs, very few involve the teachers directly in the planning, preparation of students, and implementation of such interventions. Teachers at all class levels can integrate academic lessons with information about careers in their academic field, as well as including research and assignments about these topics into the course immediately prior to a career day program. The input and evaluations of teachers are vital in assessing the








implementation of such programs, and their follow-up in the classroom can be an important reinforcement of the students' experiences (Vocational Curriculum Resource Center of Maine, 1995).

A Teacher Advisor Program (Myrick, 1995) can be the cornerstone of a career guidance program, one which allows each student to receive personal attention and support. Counselors can train teacher participants to work with small groups of students in an organized curriculum of vocational guidance. Maddy-Bernstein and Cunanan (1995) suggested that a one-hour session each month be devoted to career development. The advisor would implement a program of assessment, exploration, and decision-making with students and meet with each family once a year to plan educational goals and to design an appropriate curriculum for the student. In eighth grade, all students would take a one-semester course which could include assessments, the initiation of the portfolio process, evaluation of grades and standardized test scores, and the first family meeting with the advisor. In ninth grade students focus on teamwork and conflict resolution in their guidance activities, tenth grade sees a renewed emphasis on planning the high school curriculum and picking a focus area or major, and eleventh grade includes opportunities for work-based learning, career shadowing, and community service. Finally, twelfth grade guidance sessions concentrate on expanding the portfolio and the use of computer programs to explore career areas of interest. During senior year many representatives should be brought to campus from the military services, colleges, and community businesses with whom students may meet. An important component of Maddy-Bernstein and Cunanan's program is the Career Resource Center, which is open all day to parents and guardians as well as to students.









While a comprehensive, thorough program such as the one just described is ideal, many practicing school counselors have designed more limited interventions which can be implemented with fewer resources. A school district in Pennsylvania (Gool, 1991) brought students from each subject area at a vocational high school to the middle schools to describe and perform the actual job tasks they were learning. These high school students then led smaller discussion groups with interested middle school students, and the middle school students made choices about career related field trips based on the high school presentations.

A program for ninth grade students which was implemented by Wood (1990) was based on only four sessions. The students completed an interest inventory during the first session. During the course of the second session the students received the results of the interest inventory, participated in a discussion of work-related concepts such as work settings, education requirements, and salary considerations, then were given a homework assignment to discover at least two career choices of interest. The third session was devoted to individual research of chosen fields. The final step was to encourage students to apply what they had learned about their careers of interest to their educational planning for high school, and the students then designed their curricula for the remainder of high school. In this way, a relatively simple program about career planning was integrated into an overall educational experience.

While the variety of programs described here provides evidence regarding the transitional state of career guidance in the schools, very little research has been done in this area. There is a demonstrable need for systematic examination of such programs in








order to determine the level of efficacy that can be expected from such creative programming.

Computer Technology--Possibilities and Pitfalls

While it is widely accepted that the integration of computers into school guidance programs can save counselors time and allow them to provide more services and interventions to students (Hardesty & Utesch, 1994), few counselors have been able to consistently implement computers in providing direct interventions. As computer technology becomes increasingly more prevalent in the classroom and in the home, counselors must respond to evolving norms. "If today's students have changed the way they learn, then today's counselors must change the way they communicate" (Casey, 1994, p.34). Technology must facilitate and reflect curricular goals for counselors as well as for teachers in the school environment.

Gerler (1995a) emphasized the need for school guidance personnel to become

involved in the development of multimedia programs which combine counseling theories with computer-assisted guidance services. "The day is not far away when interactive, developmental school counseling activities will be on-line for students to use" (Gerler, 1995b, p.3). As counselors anticipate that day, the profession must address the issue of how to realistically apply technological developments to a comprehensive school guidance program.

Current and Future Trends in Computer Use for School Counselors

According to a national survey conducted in 1994 (Hardesty & Utesch),

computers are being used by virtually all school counselors for record-keeping functions and for word-processing. In addition, middle and junior high school counselors often use








computers to deliver career information and for remedial work with students. High school counselors reported that they also use them regularly for provision of information and exploration of post-secondary educational opportunities. Many researchers and writers in the field consider them necessary to any effective career guidance program (Mariani, 1995-96). It has been frequently noted that the hardware and software for comprehensive computer career guidance programs can be very expensive and, unfortunately, it may therefore be difficult to engender support or approval from administrators or school boards. It is essential to note, however, that such costs remain significantly less than the costs of additional staff that might be required to meet the needs of students (Hardesty & Utesch, 1994).

As students become more adept with and accustomed to computers in educational settings, counselors can further their impact by utilizing new opportunities for working with students. "Successful motivation of students by school counselors can be enhanced through strategic use of interactive edutainment [a combination of education and entertainment strategies] technologies" (Casey, 1995, p.26). Counselors need to use technology to motivate and stimulate students, but also to demonstrate that school counselors are involved with innovation and educational reform. It is necessary to effectively serve the student body, but also to demonstrate professionalism and vision to the community.

Increased integration of computer technology into school guidance curricula means, however, that counselors need continuing education and professional development opportunities regarding the potentials and pitfalls that accompany such innovation. There has been little focus on computer competence in school counselor








training programs, or in counselor education programs in general (Wagner, 1995), although Sonoma State University instituted a course in 1992 entitled "Computer Applications to School Counseling" and the University of Florida School Counseling program has been noted for requiring that students participate in an e-mail network and use the World Wide Web for research and for up-to-date information (Wagner, 1995).

Some of the advantages found in using the Internet in school educational

programs are to arouse student interest, to allow for rapid and efficient communication among students and teachers, to make available the most current information and resources, to foster the development of relationships with people all over the world, and to facilitate access to experts in all fields through Internet communications (Wagner, 1995). Additional support for the use of computers in educational programs was provided by Casey (1995), who studied the effects of participation in Apple Computer's Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT). He found that the infusion of computer technology into a high school curriculum led to reduced dropout rates, increased numbers of students attending college, and an increase in the number of full scholarships awarded to participants in the program. Specifically, seniors who participated in the program in 1991 had a 0% dropout rate (as opposed to 30% for nonparticipants), 90% college matriculation (rather than 15% for others), and 33% received full scholarships (compared to a 6% rate for the control group) (Casey, 1995, p.27).

New challenges accompany computer utilization in counseling and in the schools. While they may be particularly efficacious in career counseling, several potential problems need to be resolved prior to any implementation. "We cannot afford to turn over any of the personal dimensions of our personal and professional relationships with








clients to machines and fancy tools. Rather, we must find new ways to take advantage of technology in order to have more supportive, insightful, private time with our clients" (Drier, 1990, p.11). In order to best serve the needs of our clients and students, we must carefully consider the role computers play in our practices.

Several major concerns have been identified regarding computer use in

counseling. Carson and Cartwright (1997) have identified three major obstacles to evolving computer systems: the possible resistance of practitioners, confidentiality, and lack of training in counselor education programs. Computer phobia can often be a problem with school counselors who feel undertrained or unfamiliar with computers in general (Lindsay, 1988). Counselors need to involve staff members in planning and implementing new computer functions in order to ensure that all staff members have an opportunity to express concerns, requirements, and expectations. It is also essential that the administration provides requisite support and training for new computer utilization, and that administrators share a positive view of the potential of the computer usage. Counselors also have an obligation to maintain contact with those who are using the computer programs, such as students who are exploring college and career options, for the purpose of understanding how the program works and if there are any potentials for misuse or misinterpretation.

The problems of staff anxiety and counselor training were recently highlighted by a survey of users of the Florida CHOICES program. CHOICES is a comprehensive computer assisted career guidance (CACG) program which was developed by the State of Florida and is made available to all public schools in the state. Sampson and Norris (1997) discovered a number of problems in the use of CHOICES, including integrating it








into existing career services, training in appropriate use of the program, and staff anxiety and resistance. The survey showed that use of CHOICES varied widely from school to school based on counselor training and attitude as well as factors such as accessibility (the physical location of the computers), perceived strengths and weaknesses of the particular program, and the perception of CACGs in general.

Drier (1990) and Lindsay (1988) have also explored ethical and legal issues relating to computer use in counseling and in school guidance in particular. School counselors must be vigilant in their continuing assessment and evaluation of programs in use and of students' interpretations of results. Specifically, counselors must be aware of individual issues such as personal familiarity with the program, appropriate training in its use, comfort with recognizing and resolving conflicts between computer results and counselor guidance, and the ability to assess student readiness to interpret and integrate results into an action plan.

In addition, broader ethical issues have yet to be resolved in regard to computer use in school counseling. Confidentiality is of major concern when office computers are used to collect, store, and analyze data about students (Lindsay, 1988). Career, college, and scholarship programs often request personal or financial information from students which could be impossible to protect from others when there is open access to computers. Computer program results are often discussed in a small group setting within the schools, and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in this situation. The crucial conflict between providing easy access to computer programs so that everyone has an opportunity to use them and the consequent inability to ensure confidentiality is yet to be resolved.








The assessment of individual student objectives and maturity is another ethical issue which is complicated by computer use. Counselors must be careful to evaluate the needs of individual students in regard to computer programs rather than encouraging all students to attempt to use the same program. Students must have levels of cognitive functioning, computer literacy, maturity, and evaluative competence that are appropriate for a particular computer experience, and they must have appropriate expectations about what they will learn from the experience. Finally, all students will need opportunities to discuss results with a counselor, preferably in an individual session, and many counselors are concerned that insufficient time will be allotted for this and an over reliance upon computer printouts will take the place of personal contact (Drier, 1990).

The ethical problems of integrating computers into school counseling programs are large but not insurmountable. The potential benefits of computerized services as part of a comprehensive guidance program far outweigh the concerns (Lindsay, 1988; Wagner, 1990; Casey, 1995; Edwards, 1995). The crucial task ahead is for school counselors to evaluate their implementation of computer programs on the basis of individual students, the guidance program, and the school community. Gender and Computer Usage

Considerable attention has been focused on gender differences in computer use. Hypothesized differences in amount of time spent using computers, interest in using computers, encouragement for computer use, and role models are all areas of concern for females in the schools. Research in computer-based instruction has found lower achievement for females than for males (Clariana, 1993), and that this might be due to gender-related motivational effects. Nelson and Watson (1990-91) found that there were








no significant sex-typed differences in computer use and attitude in preschool and early elementary years, but that by the third or fourth grade girls were showing less motivation. Computer usage for females continued to decrease throughout high school.

Males spend more time in computing activities than do females from preschool on (Nelson & Watson, 1990-91), and this inequity leads to higher achievement for males in computer-based settings and to males having more highly developed skills to take to the job market. By adolescence, girls have been discovered to actually develop a dislike for computer use, while boys continue to increase in computer enjoyment and skills (Nelson & Watson, 1990-91). Females generally do not perceive technological careers as being in their future (Bernhard & Siegal, 1994).

A literature review performed by Roblyer, Castine, and King (1988) found little evidence to support the notion that computer applications are more effective with boys than with girls. Females, however, did have less experience in computer applications and less desire for such experience. It is important that females be exposed to computer applications in the schools at an early age if inequities in interest, and consequent inequities in skills brought to the job market in later years, are to be ameliorated (Bernhard & Siegal, 1994). The potential for computer applications at the middle school level is vast in terms of reaching girls when they are developmentally at-risk of retreating from technological opportunities.

Applications of Computers in Career Counseling

The use of Computer Assisted Career Counseling systems (CACGs) is widespread in many school and university career resource centers. CACGs can substitute for some of counselors' traditional roles such as the assessment of vocational interests, identifying








preferences and alternatives, and providing information, which allows counselors to devote more of their time to helping students and clients resolve conflicting or unrealistic goals, reach decisions, deal with the influence of others, and explore the transition from goals to actual employment (Gati & Fassa, 1997). In short, CACGs can free up counselors' time and energy by taking over some of the routine aspects of career counseling so that they might focus on the personal struggles of individuals trying to make decisions. Career centers are adopting technology in order to help more students more efficiently. General information can be conveyed on-line so that counselors may spend their time with students who need personal attention.

Mariani (1995-96) has proposed that computer information delivery systems

should be introduced early in the schooling process if the goals of a developmental school guidance program are to be met. They must be integrated into the guidance curriculum prior to high school because student career development commences with awareness, then progresses to planning and preparation, and only then can students begin to focus on the transition to the work place. When students are introduced to CACGs in later high school years, early learning and growth opportunities are lost.

Research regarding the effectiveness of CACGs is in school guidance programs is in a seminal state. CACGs have been found to be most useful with counselor support and with clients who have high vocational maturity as well as above average intelligence (Palmer & Howland, 1997), but this study was conducted with adult clients. The research of Sampson, Peterson, and Reardon (1989) suggested that providing counselor intervention before computer use prepares the user for effective and appropriate use of the system, and perhaps allows the counselor to tailor the program to the individual client








needs. Counselor interactions with clients between sections of a CACG provide the opportunity to process information as it is presented, to prepare for future sessions, and to interpret printouts. Post-use interventions allow processing of the experience, and assistance in developing strategies for the future.

Niles (1993) conducted a study addressing the question of timing of counselor

interventions when CACGs are used. The results indicated that computer use does help in the acquisition of information about self and about career decision making. Students who met with the counselor after computer use experienced less career indecision than the control group, but students who met with the counselor in between computer sessions enjoyed the computer experience more. Counselor intervention at every step is the ideal, but in efforts to conserve counseling resources, intervention after the completion of a CACG program appears to be most beneficial.

A literature review conducted by Imel (1996) indicated that the ability to access

computer information about careers has been empowering to youth and to adults. A sense of control and self-determination accompanies CACG use which is not necessarily present when individuals receive information in a passive manner. Current Trends in Computer Usage in Career Guidance

The earliest computerized career guidance programs were focused on the delivery of information and the matching of careers to stated preferences of the user (Bohn & Super, 1969). Lists were generated by the computer which paired potential jobs with the user profile. Today's systems have much more to offer, and reach far more people. Over 40 states reported using an official state CIDS (Computer Information Delivery System) and more than 9 million people used these systems at approximately 20,000 sites








throughout the United States in 1994 (Mariani, 1995-96). CIDS generally include an assessment of values, skills and interests, an occupational search, information about specific career paths, and educational information related to career paths. Additional options are being added to reflect changing technology and theory such as on-line orientation to the system, instruction in the career decision-making process, guidance in overcoming barriers to career choice, information on scholarships and financial aid, the capacity to add information specific to a geographic location, and user evaluations of the system. Mariani (1995-96) stressed the need for counselors to be thoroughly conversant with the system they implement and to be cognizant of all its options. It is also beneficial to involve parents and teachers in order to garner support for system use and expansion. CIDS have been used with virtually all age levels, and approximately 1,250 sites reported their implementation at the elementary school level in 1994 (Mariani, 1995-96).

CIDS have also been shown to be an efficient use of counseling center resources because trained volunteers can be involved in overseeing their use. Trained peer helpers have been widely employed in schools and community centers. In Iowa, one school counselor trains 15 to 25 students annually to conduct four one-hour sessions with individuals on a CIDS program, and the training coordinator for the state of Maryland found that in a six month period, 500 of the 1,050 people he instructed were students being trained to serve as peer tutors on the system (Mariani, 1995-96). Adult volunteers can also be utilized effectively for this purpose in school resource centers to allow for extended hours or evening access to CIDS.

In 1988, Bloch and Kinnison surveyed principals, counselors, students, and parents in New York State about uses and perceptions of the state CIDS. All groups








sampled responded favorably to the CIDS process and reported that it was a beneficial experience. "Students were positive about the experiences they had using CIDS. The only difference that emerged by grade level, whether the computerized system helped them learn about making a career decision, may reflect the students' varying degrees of openness to this kind of activity as they move through the high school with the most fertile period for awareness activities being the beginning of high school" (p. 98). This conclusion highlights the continuing importance of counselor evaluation in the implementation of CIDS, as the need for timely teaching and most effective use of these programs require professional judgment on the counselor's part.

Bloch and Kinnison (1988) also found that parents were strong sources of support for counseling programs that were involved in soliciting funding for the addition of CIDS to school programs, and that these systems contributed to the familiarity and comfort users felt with computers in general. It is clear from this survey that while CIDS can serve many valuable functions, counselors must be intimately involved at all stages of system implementation, from needs assessment and planning, through evaluation of appropriateness of use, to judgments of effectiveness and public perception.

An additional role for counselors in the implementation of CIDS is the consideration of human developmental stages in the use of CIDS. Hedricks and McDaniels (1987) found that the huge amounts of information presented in CIDS can be overwhelming to users, and therefore, the experience and information needed to be broken down into small segments that were more easily accessible to the populations using the programs. For state-based CIDS programs, the primary concerns remain information management, user skills, access to systems, and equity of information and








opportunities (Imel, 1996). Hedricks and McDaniels (1987) presented practical guidelines for addressing these issues and recommended that counselors concentrate on using guidance activities to break CIDS information into smaller segments, educate parents about the systems, use peer counselors, do inservice presentations for teachers regarding integration of career experiences into the classroom, continually assess effectiveness of CIDS for the specific population, and promote the services in schools, youth organizations, community centers, and religious institutions.

While there has been a significant amount of discussion about the effectiveness of CACGs and CIDS, the subject of counselor roles in interventions has been relatively neglected. It has been difficult for practitioners to coherently define their place in the provision of these services. Sampson, Peterson, and Reardon (1989) noted that there was a lack of substantive theory to connect counselors, clients, and software in the process of career guidance. If the ultimate aim of CACGs is to foster independence and responsibility in regard to career problem-solving and decision making, CACG designers and implementers must unite the components of student, counselor, and computer. The challenge, therefore, is laid before counselors. They must prepare more and plan more in order to be effective because they need to evaluate the relationship between counselor skill, student needs and expectations, and system potentials (Sampson, Peterson, and Reardon, 1989). This glaring omission provides an opportunity for today's theorists and practitioners in the field of career counseling, and the situation must be rectified before significant progress can be made.








A Call for Change

Sampson and Norris (1997) have identified five patterns of poor CACG use which must be addressed:

1. using systems as substitute for needed services,
2. failing to connect system use with the counseling process,
3. using systems indiscriminately without attending to the varying
needs of clients,
4. allowing systems to proliferate to the point that the staff cannot
stay current, and
5. overusing the system as a universal solution to client problems.

Further problems become apparent when current and future applications on the Internet are considered. The Internet must be used in educationally appropriate ways, a concerted effort must be made to ensure that software and hardware are kept up-to-date, technological and curricular support must be easily accessible, and problems with the lack of stability, documentation, training, censorship, and quality control must all be monitored (Wagner, 1995). Access to the Internet is a grave concern as well, both for users and counselors. Women are less likely to use the Internet than men, school systems have widely varying resource bases for providing hardware and software for Internet access, and many counselors are in a position of having to train themselves in order to keep up with the rapidly changing medium (Levenson, 1995). Practitioners are entering the field with extremely diverse ranges of comfort, familiarity, and competence in computer use in general, and use of the Internet in particular.

Carson and Cartwright (1997) have defined six roles for counselors who use

CACGs in order to rectify some of the current deterrents to the implementation of Internet applications in career counseling:

1. create computerized applications,








2. work with organizations creating computerized applications,
3. collect data for developers of Internet applications and collaborate with
them,
4. work with Internet service providers to host on-line forums for real-time
interaction with counselors,
5. critique and review Internet-based career interventions, and
6. assess Internet service in relation to minorities.

These guidelines are a starting point in efforts to utilize the most advanced technology in the provision of career guidance interventions. If counselors do not become directly involved in the development and implementation of Internet services, they cannot be confident that innovations will meet the needs of their clients and of the profession as a whole.

Hinkelman and Luzzo (1997) have emphasized the need for research and

accountability in the implementation of computer applications in career counseling in order to counteract such concerns but, until these needs are met, counselors must struggle to adhere to the limited guidelines which have been delineated thus far. The American Counseling Association (1995) has outlined four specific functions for counselors in regard to computer use. The first is that counselors have an obligation to assess the intellectual, emotional, and physical capability of clients to use the computer system. Counselors must assess the skills that are required of those who would use a particular system. Secondly, the practitioner must ensure that the computer program is appropriate for the needs of the client and will help the client move towards his or her goals. Thirdly, the client must be cognizant of the purpose as well as the operation of the computer application. Finally, the counselor must provide follow-up services which address potential misconceptions, assess subsequent needs, and ascertain whether there was any inappropriate use of the computer program.








It is essential that clients and students be well informed about the limitations of computer programs, and that counselors maintain personal contact throughout the process. Counselors provide the essential step of helping clients to see beyond the printout and to integrate results into personal goals and action plans (Palmer & Howland, 1997). Computers can gather information and administer and interpret assessments, but most of the real work in counseling takes place between individuals. The computer is a extension of the counseling relationship, not a replacement for it. Empathy and warmth cannot be delivered by hardware.

Career Development Constructs

Vocational Self-Concept

Holland and Gottfredson (1976) defined a career as a person's vocational

aspirations and work history from birth to death. From this definition, it is clear that vocational self-concept is closely tied to, and an integral part of, a person's total selfconcept. Vocational self-concept develops throughout life as a process of mental and physical growth, observations of work, identification with adults at work, and the environment. These are all tempered by an individual's general experiences (Zunker, 1994) and combine to establish a career path which is followed throughout the life span. The majority of individuals have developed the skills and awareness to deal with their vocational problems while maturing, and also have access to environmental resources which will allow them to attain their career goals (Holland, 1974). Most people, therefore, are able to resolve conflicts regarding vocational self-concept with little help beyond accessing accurate information.








Career counseling is often focused on the delivery of accurate, appropriate

information. There is a great deal of fact-finding in career guidance, which is appropriate for the majority of students because in this field both facts and feelings are important. The understanding of self and the understanding of vocational opportunities are both based on experience and information. "Choice making is not impulsive; it is the sequential narrowing and specifying of choice options as one translates various psychological and occupational information, whether accurate or not, into a self-concept system and a set of images of how certain educational and occupational alternatives will permit one to implement the self-concept" (Super, 1980, p.20). The process of making choices is founded on receiving and evaluating information from the environment and from personal experience, and on interpreting that information in such a way that vocational self-concept meshes with and reflects total self-concept. Career Maturity

Career maturity is a lifelong developmental process which has been defined as an individual's ability to make appropriate, realistic vocational choices ( Levinson, Ohler, Caswell, & Kiewra, 1998). It occurs in stages which are influenced by environmental factors. The stages of career development each have a specific set of tasks, successful completion of which lead to the development of career maturity (Zunker, 1994). Super conceptualized career maturity as a measure of growth in which an individual is compared to his or her peer group. Career maturity is "the repertoire of coping behavior leading to outcomes, compared with the behavioral repertoire of the peer group, thus making it a developmental rather than an outcome construct" (Super, 1974, p. 11). At every stage of development, a peer group is dealing with similar tasks and the








individual's appropriate responses to these tasks, when compared to the responses developed by peers, are an indication of vocational maturity.

Career assessment and career guidance programs in the school are directly related to this definition. If career maturity is a developmental construct, then assessment can help identify where an individual stands in terms of growth when compared to his or her peers. "Following the models, developmental career assessment ascertains the client's knowledge of the stages of occupational careers, of the structure and functioning of the world of work (its opportunities and requirements), and of the principles, processes and data of career decision making. These constitute vital aspects of career maturity" (Super, Osborne, Walsh, Brown, & Niles, 1992, p.75). Assessment is an integral step in determining the vocational counseling needs of students.

Vocational maturity assessment serves two major functions. It has been, and

continues to be, a necessary step in providing normative understanding of what to expect from a certain age group, but it also serves a diagnostic function. Both have particular relevance for work in all levels of educational institutions. A comprehensive developmental guidance program must be designed to meet the needs of all students (Myrick, 1995), and normative understanding is essential to appropriate program design at various grade levels. In addition, vocational maturity assessment is used to delineate areas of deficiency in individuals so that remedial services might be provided to them.

Research has shown that career maturity can be significantly affected by

counseling interventions in the schools. Super and Thompson (1979) found support in early evaluative studies on Super's Career Development Inventory (CDI) which indicated that significant differences did exist between control and experimental groups after








participation in career guidance and counseling programs. They concluded that the CDI was effective in a diagnostic function in that was useful for planning group interventions.

Crites' Career Maturity Inventory Attitude Scale (CMI)(1973) has also been

widely relied upon in research. Flake, Roach, and Stenning (1975) studied the effects of a career counseling intervention on tenth grade students and found that the intervention provided to students who scored below the mean on the CMI had a significant effect on their level of vocational maturity. "Results indicated that career maturity as a developmental process can be measured and facilitated through counseling" (Flake et al., 1975, p.73). Similar results have been found in a preliminary study on interventions with minority students (Dunn & Veltman, 1989), and a college study focusing on the relationship between goal instability and different modes of presentation of information in relation to career maturity (Robbins & Tucker, 1986).

This research indicates that career maturity as a construct has useful applications in school vocational guidance. People must be ready to receive career-related information for effective outcomes of interventions (Butcher, 1982; Super, 1983; Robbins & Tucker, 1986). Earlier work of Super's (1963) suggested that junior high school was the critical time to reach students because choices made at this point could have significant impact on where a student eventually entered the occupational hierarchy.

It has been widely assumed that career maturity is heavily influenced by gender, race, and socioeconomic status (Super & Neville, 1984), and research results have been inconclusive in regard to at least one of these attributes. Super and Neville (1984) found little correlation between socioeconomic status and career maturity, as measured by the CDI, and the CDI manual reported negligible differences between genders in grades 9 and








10 and differences significant only on one subscale in grades 11 and 12. Westbrook (1991), however, conducted a study of 83 black and 239 white high school students using the CMI and concluded that that there is a need for separate racial and ethnic analyses of career maturity assessment results. Further research is required to shed light on this area of concern.

Locus of Control

Locus of control is defined as a personality attribute which is based upon an

individual's expectancy that reinforcements follow behavior (Rotter, 1975; Marks, 1998). The extent to which a person believes that his or her behavior will bring about desired results is a means of describing their locus of control. People with an internal locus of control believe that their personal efforts will bring them desired reinforcements, while individuals with an external locus of control believe that events which occur in their lives are largely based on outside forces. In other words, individuals with an external locus of control are more likely to attribute events to luck, chance, more powerful others, or other factors in the environment.

Locus of control theory is heavily based on social learning theory, in that

individuals develop expectancies of reward based on previous experience, perceived similarities with other situations, and observed events in their environments. Rotter (1975, 1990) emphasized the importance of reinforcement or expected reinforcement as a determinant of behavior because the expected results of an action must be valued by the actor. The outcome must be perceived as beneficial if it is to motivate the individual, and if it is to be used to predict behavior. People with an internal locus of control are more likely to change their behavior following negative or positive reinforcement than are








people with an external locus of control, because they believe that their behavior contributed directly to the reinforcement experience. Individuals with an external locus of control, in contrast, are less likely to modify their behavior because they ascribe reinforcement to outside forces such as luck, chance, or other people.

Locus of control, therefore, can have a significant effect on how individuals

behave. If they expect that their actions or behaviors will lead to a desired response, they are more likely to exert themselves and to succeed at the given task. Individuals who are more externally focused, however, are likely to put forth less effort because results of effort are not seen as being tied to rewards or to reinforcements. In addition, people with an internal locus of control are likely to demonstrate more mature and adaptive vocational identity (Luzzo, Funk, & Strang, 1996). In a study of college students, Luzzo et al. (1996) found that attributional retraining involving a videotaped presentation of college graduates relating career success to persistence increased the career maturity of students with an external locus of control but did not affect those with an internal locus of control. A study involving 200 male high school students found that individuals with an internal locus of control were likely to choose an occupation based on intrinsic influences, while those with an external locus of control were more influenced by chance or good fortune (Cabral & Salomone, 1990).

In the academic arena, locus of control can be an important variable in predicting academic achievement. Correlational studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between internal locus of control and academic achievement (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973; McLaughlin & Saccuzzo, 1994; Benham, 1995). Nowicki and Strickland (1973) found that for students in grades 3-12, as achievement scores went up,








external scores went down. Students who believe that they are personally responsible for their own success have been found to spend more time on homework, to try longer to solve complex problems, and to get higher grades than do students who are think that reinforcements are beyond their control (Benham, 1995).

Many different approaches have been utilized in efforts to affect the locus of

control of individuals. If an internal locus of control can be shown to be correlated with higher achievement levels in schools, for example, then interventions designed to move individuals toward a more internal locus of control must be investigated as potential areas for application of locus of control theory. Approaches attempted to date with a variety of populations include those based on reality therapy, rational-emotive therapy, group work, behavior modification, social skills training, and outdoor experiences (Elliott, 1997).

Few studies done in school settings have been designed to directly measure effects of counseling interventions or other school programs on locus of control. One computer intervention which was designed to foster increased internality in elementary school female students was found to increase internality in equally in males and females, indicating that locus of control can indeed be affected by planned interventions (Bernhard & Siegal, 1994). Another school-based intervention designed to address locus of control was that of Omizo and Omizo (1988). The researchers designed a group counseling intervention for children of divorced families and results of the study indicated that the ten week intervention led to a significantly more internal locus of control in program participants.

Locus of control, however, has been criticized as a construct because of potential gender, ethnic, and racial biases in the construct and in instruments designed to measure








it. Culturally different people often feel a greater lack of control over their environment than do culturally dominant people (Dean, 1984). Nowicki and Strickland (1973) address the issue of bias in their initial presentation of the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal External Scale (CNSIE): "Obviously there are a number of complicating variables to consider, including age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status, when investigating a generalized expectancy of reinforcement with children" (p. 12). Research on the correlations between locus of control, ethnicity, gender, and at-risk status has presented inconclusive results. "Individuals reared in a culture that values independence, uniqueness, self-reliant individualism, and personal output of energy are likely to be more internally oriented than individuals from a culture that tends to emphasize a different set of values" (McLaughlin & Saccuzzo, 1997). Locus of control of African-American middle school males was found to be affected by class size, whether students had ever been retained a grade, and by socioeconomic status (Davis & Jordan, 1994), while Levin (1992) found no significant relationship between locus of control and gender and ethnicity, but did discover a very significant relationship between being at-risk and an external locus of control.

It is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the research on locus of control. It appears that locus of control in children and adolescents is significantly correlated with achievement, and that interventions can be designed to foster a more internal orientation in individuals, but that a more tentative interpretation is needed when factors of race, ethnicity, and gender are considered as well.








Career Decision Making

Choosing an occupation is an expression of personal aspirations and values

(Havighurst, 1972), and there are three components which are essential to the process. The predictive system is founded upon a person's aptitudes and alternatives, the valuing system is a reflection of one's interests and values, and the decisional system fosters the conversion of choices to a plan of action (Mastic, 1988). There is also an element of chance involved in which the timing of an event, the context of the event, and the individual's developmental status combine to make a chance occurrence relevant or irrelevant in the decisional process (Cabal, 1990). Individuals are most likely to be affected by chance events early in their career paths.

Career indecision is often a problem for adolescents because it is correlated with anxiety and identity formation. During adolescence, individuals are struggling with the formation of a personal value system, and career decision making often includes the need to resolve value conflicts. In recent studies, value conflicts were found in one third of people making career decisions (Cochran, 1995), and the values regarding freedom, security, leisure, challenge, and salary were frequently cited by participants. Value conflicts, and the anxiety they provoke, can be instrumental in prompting decision making, however, and are therefore a natural part of human growth and development. Value conflicts can encourage people to gather information, weigh priorities, and strive for a solution. Such conflicts must be acknowledged, understood, and resolved for successful decision making to occur.

Research regarding career decision making has demonstrated that growth and development in career maturity can be fostered and enhanced through counseling








interventions. Holland, Gottfredson, and Nafziger (1975) discovered that consistency and differentiation on typology indicators (using the Self Directed Search) predicted scores on a decision making assessment (the Career Maturity Inventory) better than other measurements did. "These outcomes support what most counselors have assumed for many years--people with sharp, well-defined profiles appear to cope with their vocational problems more effectively than people with ill-defined or flat profiles" (Holland et al., 1975, p. 418). The challenge for counselors, in this case, is to encourage self-awareness and exploration of career opportunities in the school setting.

Jones (1993) utilized the Career Key (Jones, 1993), which is based on Holland's typology system, and the Career Decision-Making System (Harrington & O'Shea, 1982) with a sample of high school students. While neither instrument was found to significantly increase career exploration behavior, the students reported having gained knowledge about occupations and about themselves, and that they had a clearer vision of possible careers for themselves. In another study of high school students, King (1989) found that there were gender differences in career decision making factors. For males, career attitudes were related to age in that older students were more ready to make decisions regarding career choices. Females were also affected by chronological maturity, but more powerful effects were related to the value of family cohesion and to internal locus of control. This study has important implications for the design of school vocational guidance programs and raises the possibility that readiness for career decision making may be different for males and females.

McGowan (1977) performed a study designed to test the effectiveness of the Self Directed Search (SDS) in reducing career anxiety with high school students. Participants








were assessed for anxiety and vocational maturity, using the CMI in a pre/posttest format with the result that the SDS was found to reduce career indecision for both genders. A similar study performed with college students also used the SDS as an intervention. The predictors employed were the Career Decision Scale (CDS) (Osipow, 1976), the Vocational Identity Scale (VIS)(Holland et al., 1980), and the CMI (Crites, 1978). The results indicated that there was considerable overlap between the CDS and the VIS (correlations of-.65 for men and -.67 for women), and that there was a lack of predictability for men but not for women (Fretz & Leong, 1982). After using the SDS, the greatest change occurred for women who were high in vocational identity. These findings are consistent with a more recent study which found that adult clients with lowlevel career indecision and low goal instability prefer self-directed inventories (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). The relationship between gender and career decision making is an area that needs to explored through additional research, but findings to date would indicate that career decision making can be affected through counseling interventions, and that career decision making is an important component of overall career maturity.

Career Development Theory as Applied to Adolescence

Two major schools of thought about career development are developmental theory, as represented by the work of Donald Super, and differentialist theory, as proposed by John Holland. Super's theory is based on the concept that career development is a life long growth process in which people pass through stages in their definition and practice of a continuous career path. Holland, on the other hand, perceives career development to be an expression of fit between the individual's personality and the








vocational environment. As such, it is an extension of the personality and is affected by continuing incoming information about the self and the workplace. Developmental Theory

Super proposed that a career is a sequence of things an individual does throughout the life span which includes preoccupational, occupational, and postoccupational roles, as well as avocational interests and behaviors (Super et al., 1992). A developmental process takes people through specific stages as the self-concept is shaped in each phase of life, and this self-concept affects all behavior, including vocational behavior. A career role is defined by three different components which are the affective aspect of commitment to a vocation, the behavioral aspect of participation in a vocational field, and the cognitive aspect of knowledge and awareness of what a career role entails (Super et al., 1992). In adolescence, these three components can be independent of each other in that students may be committed to an occupation they know little about or have done little to access.

Career maturity is a state in which a person has reached a peak of development

appropriate for his or her stage of life. Super's developmental theory is broken down into five separate stages (Zunker, 1994):

1. Growth (ages 0-14): growth is characterized by the development of
abilities, interests, aptitudes and needs which all contribute to a
self-concept.
2. Exploration (15-24): exploration is a tentative phase where occupational
choices are narrowed down but not finalized.
3. Establishment (25-44): during this stage the career path is tried and
established through work experience.
4. Maintenance (45-64): this is a period of adjustment and improvement of
the working position and situation.
5. Decline (65+): decline encompasses preretirement, reduction of the work
functions, and retirement.








While everyone passes through these stages in a linear manner, it is clear that career maturity has many different connotations, depending upon the particular stage in which an individual is situated.

For adolescents, Super has identified several important functions and criteria

(Super, 1974). Orientation to vocational choice is an attitude of concern and interest in vocational choice. This is an important component of vocational maturity in terms of counseling interventions because students must demonstrate a readiness to explore career issues. Information and planning is a competence dimension of adolescent development because students must possess the skills to find, evaluate, and sort data about potential career paths. Maturity is also characterized by consistency in vocational preference and a narrowing down of options. Crystallization of traits occurs when progress is made towards forming a stable self-concept which is "a cognitive-process period of formulating a general vocational goal through awareness of resources, contingencies, interests, values, and planning for the preferred occupation" (Zunker, 1994, p. 31). Work experience and experimentation lead to vocational independence, and also contribute to reality testing and the assessment of wisdom regarding vocational preferences.

Developmental career assessment plays a vital role in Super's theory (Super et al., 1992). It is effective in identifying the focus of a student's career concerns and the developmental tasks which are being confronted. Assessment also identifies the values of importance to the individual in regard to occupations, education, family life, and other roles which impact the vocational decision making process. The evaluation of career maturity and readiness to address career planning and exploration plays another important








role in school career guidance programs because it is essential to the design of appropriate interventions for each developmental stage.

Early adolescence is a time of exploration, so much of the vocational guidance

process should be designed to foster exploration rather than focusing on the development of specific vocational skills (Super, 1974). This belief is echoed by the work of Havighurst, who stressed that the major developmental task of adolescence is the formation of a healthy identity. This developmental task is determined by a combination of physical maturity and the cultural pressure of societal expectations, as well as by personal values and aspirations (Havighurst, 1972). The interaction of organic and environmental influences lead to the definition of self-concept, and one of the components of self-concept as it is forming during adolescence is the vocational identity. Havighurst stressed the importance of the teachable moment, which is the awareness that there are sensitive or optimal times to master certain developmental tasks (Havighurst, 1972). The concept of an optimal moment for teaching has particular relevance in career counseling with early adolescents, and again highlights the need for assessment of vocational maturity and a thorough understanding of career development theory in order for counselors to be able to work effectively with students. Differentialist Theory

Holland's differentialist theory is predicated on the concept that people and work environments can be classified into types. People seek work environments that allow them to express their skills, values, and aptitudes, and allow them to take on roles that are agreeable to them. A person's behavior, therefore, is determined by the interaction between his or her personality and the environment. In this sense, Holland's model is an








organizational one in that people receive and process information about themselves and their environments, but it is also developmental in that people change and grow in their understanding of what they want and what they must do in order to meet their needs (Holland, 1974).

Holland perceives people as being active participants in their interactions with their environments. They are motivated by the need to find a comfortable fit in the working world. A person with a relatively stable sense of identity has a clear vision of his or her goals, interests, skills, and potential occupation (Holland, 1996). When this is true, an individual is more likely to find employment that is congruent with his or her personal characteristics. Career choice is a reflection of the personality and a projection of the personality into the work place.

The primary purposes of typology theory are to organize, explain, and remediate career difficulties (Holland & Gottfredson, 1976). These goals are particularly relevant in today's changing society.

[L]arge proportions of the population must learn to cope with transient and unpredictable work opportunities. Among other things, the need for a sense
of personal identity will greatly increase, for the stable employment
pictures of the past have greatly reduced the need for personal identity and independent planning. Many people will have to create their own structure
for combining incompatible work with a more satisfying social and
recreational life. To deal with this need, what has been seen as career
counseling may become life counseling, in which work is an important facet
of creating a more satisfying life. (Holland, 1996, p.404)

More people will be struggling with their career choices as increasing uncertainty in the job market requires increasing adaptability and compromise.

Accurate fit in career choice requires knowledge of self and the work

environment, and Holland's typology theory categorizes all people into six different








types: realistic, investigative, social, enterprising, and conventional. Work environments also fall into the same categories. The counseling process therefore, usually consists of ascertaining individual characteristics, learning about careers which are an appropriate match and basing the career decision making process on this knowledge.

Drummond and Ryan (1995) summarized Holland's six basic principles:

1. Choice of vocation is an expression of personality.
2. Interest inventories are personality inventories.
3. Vocational stereotypes have important and consistent psychological and
sociological meanings.
4. Workers within a vocational field have similar histories of personal
development.
5. People within a vocational group react and respond to their environments
in similar ways.
6. Vocational satisfaction, stability, and achievement depend on congruence
between the individual's personality and the environment in which
he or she works.

People, therefore, are attracted to a given career by both their individual personalities and their backgrounds.

Holland's theory emphasizes the importance of individuals having or finding accurate knowledge about themselves and about the world of work in order to make satisfying career decisions. Career counseling interventions are clearly important in terms of providing information about self and environment through assessments and in terms of providing resources for exploration of potential fit. School counselors have the opportunity to encourage the development of students through interventions which can stimulate the process of evaluation of self and environment through assessments which have been shown to be effective.

Differential theory and developmental theory can be used together to great effect in the school guidance arena. While Holland's theory is primarily descriptive as opposed








to causal or stage-related, it can be an effective underpinning for career interventions and, when appropriately timed to reach students at their moments of peak readiness, can be a powerful stimulant in the developmental process. Social Influences on Adolescent Career Choices

Recent research has indicated that adolescents today are in drastic need of

guidance in the career counseling arena. The University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center conducted a five-year study with high school students and discovered that adolescents are often extremely unrealistic about their career aspirations (Olson, 1996). Most young Americans expect to obtain jobs that are both high salary and high status positions. Approximately one-third of the study participants expected to have a professional career. Olson also found that most participants were considering three or four different occupational paths simultaneously, but that these considerations were based on little actual knowledge about the requirements or tasks involved in specific occupations. Although there was an apparent lack of direction about the future among the high school students, those going to college were less affected by a lack of coherent vision of their vocational goals. The students who planned to attend college were not seriously hampered by lack of planning or information, except as course selection in high school had the potential to limit college options.

There were some exceptions to the results of this study, and these exceptions point the way to potential solutions to the problem. Students who had been involved in internships during their high school years were much more realistic about their futures. They were well informed about the career paths they were considering and about the requirements of those vocations. In addition, families played a vital role in general








contributing factors of the career decision making process. Families who were supportive and challenging of their offspring produced adolescents who were more secure at school, had higher self-esteem, and who did more homework. These students also were found to have higher grades and to perceive schoolwork as relevant to their future (Olson, 1996). The results of this study clearly reinforce the need for a comprehensive career guidance program in the schools which reaches all students with the information and skill development opportunities necessary to plan effectively for vocational success.

Adolescents are strongly influenced by their environment as they learn about themselves and make decisions about their futures. The interface of skills and preferences with cultural, social, and economic influences lead to occupational entry behaviors (Krumboltz, 1976), and a thorough understanding of this interface is necessary to design appropriate learning experiences for developmental career guidance in the schools. The social influences of family, peers, school, religious and cultural organizations, and the extended family can all be important factors in shaping the beliefs, behaviors, and aspirations of teenagers. "The importance of these groups for adolescent career decision making lies in the intermittent powerful messages they send to the adolescent conveying aspects of a general expectation to take the actions necessary to enter productive work roles" (Jepsen, 1989, p.73). Adolescents respond both overtly, with their behavior and verbalizations, and covertly, through private thought and feelings, to the many cues they receive from their environments. It is essential, therefore, that the career guidance process include consideration of the environmental messages students receive, and that students be encouraged to focus on their covert responses as well as their overt reactions. The conflict between external demands and internal personal goals can








be a major cause of career indecision in adolescents, and the analysis of these conflicts may be a powerful learning process that frees the way for resolution and action. The counseling process can be utilized to help students assess their own resources for decision making in terms of information, support, time, and initiative, as well as assessment of how to acquire these things if they are not present. Only through awareness of the multitude of influences on the individual can potential blocks to career development be resolved or averted.

The involvement of the parents or guardians in the career exploration process can have great effect on the outcomes. As Olson (1996) noted, supportive and challenging family environments produced individuals who have higher self-esteem, do more homework, and understand the connection between schoolwork and lifework. The importance of parents in providing support for program development and resource acquisition in career guidance in the schools has also been demonstrated (Bloch & Kinnison, 1988), but involving parents or guardians in the actual career decision making process has been shown to be productive as well. "Activities that are planned to inform [parents] of occupational and educational information materials, trends in the world-ofwork, and nontraditional career options for their children will enhance both career development and relationship between home and school" (Hedricks & McDaniels, 1987, p.39). While the process of educating parents and guardians through direct presentations or publications is the norm, using CACGs has been shown to have a powerful effect in the stimulation of dialogue between parents and students. Hedricks and McDaniels (1987) found that 83.9% of students who used Virginia's state CIDS system (Virginia VIEW) were motivated to discuss career opportunities with their parents. This indicates








that a powerful force in the career development process of adolescents has been underestimated, and that further study needs to be done in the area of parent/child dialogue as a result of computer assisted career guidance programs. An essential component of social influence in the career decision making process has been underutilized for too long.

It is important to recognize, in addition, that comprehensive career guidance must address issues of stereotype and discrimination in career development. Gender, type of occupation, and prestige continue to be important criteria for decision making in adolescents (Lapan & Jingeleski, 1992), but career counselors have the opportunity to challenge traditional views of career choice and to stimulate students to think beyond socially defined mores. While barriers to career aspirations exist in many areas, a realistic assessment of these barriers and consideration of strategies to overcome them provide students with the chance to find the best fit between their own skills, values, and goals, and the work environment.

Summary

With the increasing emphasis being placed on career guidance in the school setting, it is essential that practitioners utilize all potential resources in their efforts to foster development of vocational maturity and decision making skills in students. Career interventions as part of a comprehensive school guidance program have been shown to be effective in promoting growth in young adolescents, and provide an opportunity to explore the world of work as well as to develop personal knowledge and insight. A clear understanding of societal forces and changes are essential to realistic goal setting, and are also essential to long term educational planning. Career guidance interventions can be








invaluable in helping students keep options open for future careers and in developing a sense of vocational identity.

These interventions have been supported and facilitated by advances in the technological field. While it is common for school guidance personnel to utilize computers for record-keeping, word processing, and dissemination of career information, new developments in computer applications now make it possible for individuals to access data and take assessments in their free time through guidance centers and through home access on the Internet. School guidance counselors have not, as yet, taken full advantage of this new medium, but the development of distance learning has opened up new opportunities and challenges for the use of the Internet.

Theorists have begun exploring the relationship between clients, counselors, and computers, but little progress has been made in terms of a paradigm for practitioners or for researchers. The combination of the developmental school counseling model, career development theory, and recent technological advances on the Internet have yet to be combined in a coherent manner.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a developmental school guidance unit about career development as delivered over the Internet. More specifically, the study examined how a unit delivered over the Internet affected career maturity and locus of control in middle school students.













CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH DESIGN, METHODOLOGY, AND PROCEDURES

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an Internet-delivered developmental guidance unit about career exploration on early adolescents. More specifically, the study examined how the unit affected the career maturity and locus of control of sixth grade students. The population and sample, relevant variables, instruments, research design, hypotheses, participant training, developmental guidance unit, procedures, data analyses, and methodological limitations are described in this chapter.

Population and Sample

The population of the study consisted of all students enrolled in Westlawn

Middle School, a public middle school in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Westlawn is composed of approximately 760 students, all of whom are enrolled in the sixth grade. The Tuscaloosa City School District has been under federal jurisdiction for nearly two decades because of the need for a court-ordered desegregation plan within the city (Elliot, 1999). Westlawn Middle school, therefore, serves as a center for all sixth grade students within the city limits.

Population

The city of Tuscaloosa is located in west-central Alabama and has a population of approximately 78,000 people. Tuscaloosa County encompasses an area of 1,340 square








miles. Tuscaloosa County has a total of 150,000 people, and is composed primarily of the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport (Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce, 1999). The two cities are divided by the Black Warrior River, but are often regarded as a single metropolitan area in terms of economic development. Education, manufacturing, and health care are the primary industries in the county, with the University of Alabama, Goodrich Tire Company, and Mercedes-Benz as the three largest employers in the area (Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Association, 1997).

The Tuscaloosa City School District serves a population that is 100% urban, 63% white, and 35% African American (Government Information Sharing Project, 1990). The school district is composed of 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools which serve a total of 10,133 students in grades K-12 (Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). Approximately 30% of the students enrolled in the city schools live below the poverty level (Government Information Sharing Project, 1990). The racial representation of students in the Tuscaloosa City School District is approximately 32% white, and 68% nonwhite (Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). This disparity between the general population of the city and the racial composition within the city schools is indicative of a "white flight" phenomenon which supports seven independent schools within the county.

Westlawn Middle School's student population is approximately 763 students

(Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). The student body is composed of 217 white students and 546 nonwhite students, and the students are relatively evenly balanced in terms of gender (49% female and 51% male)(Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). The students at Westlawn are randomly assigned into six teams of equal size.








These teams are then divided into five classes each, and students in each class follow the same daily schedule.

The population for the study consisted of all 760 sixth grade students in the

Tuscaloosa City School District, all of whom were enrolled at Westlawn Middle School during the 1998-99 school year. These students are primarily urban and primarily racial minority group members, but are evenly split between genders. Sample

Students in two of the academic teams were invited to participate in the study. Westlawn's computer lab was newly equipped with Internet access as of November 1, 1998. The academic teams invited to participate were those that were scheduled to attend classes in the computer lab during the third six-week marking period of the fall semester of 1998 and the first marking period of the spring semester of 1999. Of the approximately 220 students invited to participate, 168 students returned the required parental permission forms and gave their verbal consent, 89 from the experimental group, and 79 from the control group. While random assignment to treatment groups was not possible due to scheduling of the computer lab, random samples were drawn from the students who agreed to participate from the two teams. Fifty students were randomly selected from the experimental group, and 45 students were randomly selected from the control group. Students completed the pre- and posttest instruments, as well as the eightsession guidance unit for the experimental group, during regularly scheduled class time.

Data collection was conducted after obtaining research and participant approval from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (University of Florida Institutional Review Board), the school site principal, counselor, teachers, students, and








students' parent(s) or legal guardian(s) (see Appendix A for Informed Parental Consent for Study Participation and Student Informed Consent,).

Research Design

The hypotheses were tested based on the data derived from a randomized pretestposttest control group design (Borg and Gall, 1989), and the method is shown in Table

3.1. The pretest-posttest control group design is appropriate because of its research advantages in terms of minimizing threats to internal validity, including maturation, history, differential selection of subjects, experimental mortality, statistical regression, and interaction (Borg and Gall, 1989).

After data collection, hypotheses were tested using an analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA was used to test for significant differences between experimental and control groups, and significant differences between pretest and posttest data. In addition, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to control for differences between control and experimental groups on the pretest of one of the instruments. The group effect was the effect of primary interest, indicating a differential amount of change from the pretest to the posttest between the two groups.

Hypotheses

There were two dependent measures in this study: career maturity and locus of control. An appropriate test of significance (confidence level of .05) was used to determine whether any measured differences were greater than those attributable to chance alone.








Table 3.1. Summary of Research Design

Counselor-Guided Internet Unit (E l) R 01,02 Xl 03,04

Control Group (E2)

R 01,02 X2 03,04 Key to design items
R= Random Selection of Students from Groups 01 = Pretest of Career Maturity 02= Pretest of Locus of Control 03= Posttest of Career Maturity 04= Posttest of Locus of Control X l=Counselor-Guided Unit X2= Control Group

The following null hypotheses were tested:

HOt: There will be no statistically significant difference in career maturity

between the two experimental groups, as measured by the Attitude Scale

of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI).

HO2: There will be no statistically significant difference in locus of control

between the control group and the experimental group as measured by the

Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE).

HO3: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in the

career maturity of participants, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the

CMI.

HO4: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in

locus of control of participants as measured by the CNSIE.








Relevant Variables

This section describes the independent and dependent variables. Two instruments were delivered both pre- and postintervention by the researcher: (a) the Career Maturity Inventory (Crites, 1978), and (b) the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External control scale (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973).

This study included one independent variable, the developmental guidance unit or experimental intervention. A control group was also designated. Independent Variable: The Guidance Unit

The developmental guidance unit about career development for middle school students included eight sessions which focused on self-assessment, knowledge of the world of work, career decision making, and educational planning. Selected sections of a commercial program designed for delivery over the Internet, called Career Explorer 98, were used. The unit was developed to enable, interest, and engage students in the process of creating their futures. The unit was outlined in a trainer/facilitator manual (see Appendix B); for an overview of this unit see Figure 3.1.

Career Explorer 98 (CX98) was created to provide up-to-date information for students and professionals via Internet delivery of activities, interviews, employment data, and self-assessments. An important component of Career Explorer is the potential for students and professionals to request further information or ask questions of researchers and experts. In this sense, it is a service rather than a static product and truly embraces the interactive potential of the Internet.









Figure 3.1. Guidance Unit Overview Session #* Name of Session Purpose

1 "What's Out There?" To develop a better understanding of oneself
and how interests, values, and skills relate to career choice.
Tasks: Fill out self-assessments, generate list of jobs that meet each individual's interests, values, and skills, and print out list.


2 "The Fortune Teller" To examine the benefits and problems of leaving life decisions to chance. Tasks: Print "Getting Whatever You Get" Worksheet, visit the fortune teller, fill out worksheet.


3 "Paths of Life" To look at the impact of snap decisions on a life.
Tasks: Read, print Snap Decisions Worksheet, do Path of Life activity, complete worksheet.


4 "Life's Little Scenarios" To examine the process of considering others before making life decisions. Tasks: Complete two sets of practice decision making scenarios, fill in worksheet about one's own scenario.


5 "Paths of Life II-- To learn how to consider the future when The Big Picture" making decisions. Tasks: Do Path of Life II activity, complete Path of Life II worksheet.


6 "Decisions Decisions" To look at when to make responsible decisions.
Tasks: Complete Decisions Decisions worksheet.


7 "Druthers--Yer Little To practice responsible decision making.
Town of Decisions"
Tasks: Read and respond to 4 out of 8 decision making scenarios, assess and evaluate decisions reached.


8 "The Future is Now" To develop an understanding of the information necessary to the career decision making process.
Tasks: Choose 3 careers that interest you from your list from session
1 and research the education and training requirements for each of those careers using the search function of the Career Explorer toolbar.


* Each session is designed to take approximately 30 minutes.








Bridges Initiatives, Incorporated, began developing the Career Explorer in 1992 and piloted the program in 11 school districts in Canada in 1994. In 1995 it was again piloted in 26 school districts with additional activities and graphic capabilities, based on feedback and requests from the original pilot study. It was introduced in the United States in 1996. The growth of the program has been rapid in response to market demand, and it is currently in use in over 2500 schools in the United States and Canada. Marion County, Florida has recently leased Career Explorer for all seven of its high schools and Orange County, Florida has already implemented CX98 in all of its middle schools.

The student section of the Career Explorer program is composed of five sections: the Career Research Tool, the Career Planning Guide, the Decision Making Guide, College Databases, and the Student Survey. In addition, the tool bar includes links to search engines, browsers, daily news articles, e-mail for requests or comments, and a locker to store personal selections and activities.

In the current study, students in the experimental group spent one 30 to 40 minute session completing the Career Research Tool assessments and generating a list of possible careers that might meet their needs and interests. The assessments include values, skills, interests, and personal style measures. The lists generated after completion of these measures are designed to be comprehensive and diverse in an effort to encourage students to think creatively and broadly about their futures, according to Bridges, Inc., Founder and CEO, Doug Manning (personal correspondence, 1998). Every career on the list is linked to descriptions, interviews with people in that field, decision making exercises, and employment and educational prospects.








The students then spent six 30 to 40 minute sessions completing the Decision Making Guide. This section consists of an introduction to responsible decision making followed by six task cards or activities designed to teach students about the need for responsible decision making and the steps of responsible decision making, and then to provide practice scenarios. Each session was preceded by a brief description of the purpose of the activity, as well as any review or background information that might be relevant to the current task.

The final session of the study was a culminating activity in which the students used the generated list of career possibilities to explore the educational and training requirements of at least three occupations of interest to them from their list. The students therefore reviewed their assessments and list from the first session, applied the decision making principles of the Decision Making Guide, and planned options for their vocational futures.

Leader Training

The CX98 guidance unit was delivered to the experimental group by an Alabama state-certified middle school teacher with seven years of teaching experience in the Tuscaloosa City School System. She is also a counselor-in-training at the University of Alabama who has a strong background in school developmental guidance theory and practice.

The guidance intervention leader spent three one-hour sessions with the principle researcher exploring the Career Explorer program in general and learning the eightsession unit. She also delivered the unit in a pilot study to fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students to familiarize herself with the program. She and the principle researcher made








minor adjustments to the program in response to the pilot participants' observations, comments, and suggestions.

Dependent Variables: The Instruments

The instruments used were the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (Crites, 1995), and the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973).

The Career Maturity Inventory

The Career Maturity Inventory (CMI) (Crites, 1995) measures career choice

attitudes and competence of adolescents in grades 6-12. It was constructed with a reading level between fifth and sixth grades (Crites, 1995). It is divided into an Attitude Scale and a Competence Test with five subtests. The recommended uses of the CMI are in studying career development, screening for career immaturity, evaluating career education, assessing guidance needs, and testing in career counseling for work with individuals (Crites, 1995). For the purposes of the current study, only the Attitude Scale was used.

The Attitude Scale consists of 25 questions which are presented in a dichotomous format, with responses of "agree" or "disagree". It requires approximately 10 minutes to complete. Group norms are provided by grade level, with raw scores being converted to either standard scores or percentile rank.

Research support for the use of the CMI is voluminous. Crites (1978) reported internal consistency reliabilities (Kuder-Richardson 20) ranging from .73 to .90, and an estimated test-retest reliability of .71 for earlier versions of the CMI Attitude Scale. The Attitude Scale scores rise with grade level and are somewhat correlated with intelligence








measures and classroom performance. The recent revision of the Attitude Scale of the CMI was intended to reduce administration and testing time as well as to eliminate subscales (Levinson, Ohler, Caswell, & Kiewa, 1998). No new reliability or validity data are provided for the 1995 revision of the CMI, but Crites (1995) reported that reliability is the same for the revision as for the previous versions of the CMI because the items were directly selected from the earlier versions.

Several studies conducted in the middle and high schools have demonstrated that career maturity, as measured by the CMI Attitude Scale, can be affected by career interventions. Omvig, Tulloch, and Thomas (1975) found significant improvement in the CMI results of students in grades 6 and 8 after a career education program, as did Yates, Johnson, and Johnson (1979) in their work with junior high students, and Flake, Roach, and Stenning's (1975) high school population. Yates, et al. (1979) found that students in an experimental group improved significantly in the development of positive attitudes regarding exploration of career choices and entering the world of work.

Palmo (1983) found that three subscales of the WAIS, vocabulary, information and similarities, accounted for a significant amount of variance in the CMI in a study done with disadvantaged youth. Khan and Alvi (1983) worked with a sample of 272 students and reported that CMI scores correlated with educational and occupational aspirations, self-estimates of general ability and classroom performance, parents' educational level, and parents' aspirations for their children. The researchers suggested that a close relationship exists between educational development and vocational development (Alvi & Khan, 1983).








In addition to intelligence test scores and grade level, gender has also been found to be a significant predictor of CMI Attitude Scale scores (Adelstein & Webster, 1979; Neely, 1980; Chodzinsky, 1983). Adelstein and Webster (1979) conducted a longitudinal study from 1964 to 1969 of all the junior and senior high schools in Cedar Rapids and found a significant main effect for sex, while Neely (1980) concluded that girls' attitudes toward the process of career choice matures at a faster rate than that of their male counterparts every year after seventh grade.

Additional research is needed to clarify this issue, but the usefulness of the Attitude Scale of the CMI has been demonstrated repeatedly for a full two decades. While there is disagreement about the validity of the competence subtests of the CMI, the Attitude Scale is widely held to serve its purpose effectively and to be of great use in the study and assessment of adolescent career development, as well as in the evaluation of career guidance interventions.

The Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale

The Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE) was designed to measure locus of control as a construct based on measurements of individuals' perceptions of behavioral reinforcement being either external or internal (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). The instrument consists of 40 items which are answered by responding "yes" or "no" to the given statement. The items describe reinforcement situations in both interpersonal and motivational areas. The items are readable at a fifth grade level (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973).

Estimates of internal consistency for the CNSIE were reported as .68 for grades six through eight, using the split-half method corrected by the Spearman-Brown formula








(Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). Test-retest reliability was measured as .66 at the seventh grade level, with retesting occurring six weeks after the initial administration of the measure (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973).

Nowicki and Strickland also reported (1973) that several studies had found significant correlations between an internal locus of control and various measures of achievement, but not between an internal locus of control and intelligence. Gifted children have been found to have higher internal locus of control than do nongifted children (McLaughlin & Saccuzzo, 1997). In addition, for subjects of low socioeconomic status, higher externality was noted. Davis and Jordan (1994) researched social influences on the locus of control of African American male eighth grade students, and discovered that student absences, grade retention, socioeconomic background, and prior learning all had a significant effect upon locus of control levels. A recent literature review of current locus of control research (Marks, 1998) concluded that sociocultural influences, cultural differences, socioeconomic status, and cultural identity all impact locus of control measures, and the author cautions readers against assuming that an internal locus of control is more desirable or more mature than an external locus of control. Bernhard and Siegel (1994) discovered that a computer intervention with children did increase internality of both males and females, but did not increase the internality of females more than of males, as the researchers had predicted.

The CNSIE has been extensively used in locus of control research for more than two decades, and has remained one of the most consistently utilized instruments in the field. While valid concerns have been raised about interpretation of locus of control








measures as they relate to race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, the CNSIE has contributed greatly to the growing body of knowledge regarding these pressing issues.

Research Procedures

The researcher conducted a review of professional literature to elucidate relevant variables and precedents in previous research studies. After securing permission from the Westlawn Middle School and the University of Florida, the training manual was produced, the training procedures were developed and implemented, and the students were invited to participate. Upon consultation with the staff at Westlawn and the guidance unit service provider, a timetable was determined and a schedule composed of five periods a day, twice a week, was designed.

The study began in November, 1998, continuing for six weeks of the school year which corresponds to one marking period, and was completed in December, 1998. The materials required participants to use a computer, read, assimilate information, and write. A statistical test of significance was used to determine whether the observed relationships were likely to have occurred by chance (Shavelson, 1988).








Table 3.2. Summary of Procedures and Time Table



Week Procedures

1 Selection Process:
Leader Training Call for subjects, obtain permission and informed consent Random selection from groups
2 Organize treatment groups
Administer pretests
3-6 Conduct sessions 1-8 of Internet Career Counseling Unit
Meet weekly with counselor/teacher
7 Administer posttests
Posttreatment:
Data collection and analysis Report to leaders, IRB, subjects














CHAPTER 4
RESEARCH FINDINGS

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a developmental

guidance unit on career counseling for sixth grade students. More specifically, the study examined the effects on career maturity and locus of control of a five-week career exploration program delivered over the Internet. Participants were sixth grade students in the public school system in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The career counseling unit was adapted from Career Explorer 98, a commercial program designed by Bridges, Inc. of Vancouver, Canada.

This chapter will examine the research findings by presenting the outcome testing for each research hypothesis featured in the study. Data were collected on 95 sixth grade students from one school, as Tuscaloosa City schools are organized into single grade middle school campuses. The experimental and control groups were examined on two variables, career maturity and locus of control, and the relationship between gender and treatment was investigated. Four separate analyses of variance were performed, one for each dependent variable and two for gender effects on the dependent variables. Each hypothesis was tested at the .05 level of confidence and used the F score and accompanying 2 value.

Career Maturity

Career maturity is defined as an individual's readiness and ability to make appropriate career choices, and the construct includes the concept that progressive,








positive change occurs as individuals explore various career opportunities in their lives (Levinson, Ohler, Caswell, & Kiewra, 1998). For the present study, the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI) was used (Crites, 1995), which consists of 25 items addressing one's perception of career opportunities and choices. The instrument is composed of dichotomous response choices (i.e., agree or disagree) with higher cumulative scores representing higher measures of career maturity. The highest possible score was 25, and the lowest possible score was 0.

HO1: There will be no statistically significant difference in career maturity

between the two experimental groups, as measured by the Attitude Scale

of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI).

As illustrated in Table 4.1, within group means varied less than 1 point. Students in the control group achieved a group mean score of 12.89 on the pretest (SD=3.65) and 13.00 on the posttest (SD=3.63). Students in the experimental group achieved a group mean score of 14.48 (SD=3.33) on the pretest and a group mean score of 14.83 (SD=3.75) on the posttest.

An examination of the pre- and posttest and group sources of variance resulting from the ANOVA for the CMI (Table 4.2) revealed a p value of .029 on the pretest with an F value of 4.94, and a p value of .027 on the posttest with an F value of 5.10. Because of the statistically significant difference between the control and experimental groups on the CMI pretest, an analysis of covariance was performed, with the CMI pretest serving as the covariate (Table 4.3). The ANCOVA examination of CMI pretest covariance resulted in a p value of 0.00 and an F value of 58.30, indicating that the covariate relationship between pretest and posttest results of the CMI was significant, while the









Table 4.1. Mean Scores by Group and by Gender


Experimental
VARLABLE Control Group Group Females Males

N X SD N X SD N X SD N X SD Career Maturity
Inventory

Pretest 45 12.89 3.65 50 14.48 3.33 51 14.47 2.97 44 12.86 3.99



Posttest 42 13.00 3.63 41 14.83 3.75 47 14.68 3.66 36 12.89 3.75



Difference +0.11 +0.35 +0.21 +0.03 Nowicki-Strickland
Scale

Pretest 45 15.98 4.47 50 15.58 4.49 51 15.63 4.65 44 15.93 4.28



Posttest 42 14.76 4.42 43 16.12 5.02 47 15.23 4.36 38 15.71 5.24



Difference -1.22 +0.54 -0.40 -0.22


between group results of the ANCOVA revealed a pvalue of 0.33 with an F value of.94. These findings suggest that there was no statistically significant group effect at the .05 level of confidence. Therefore, the null hypothesis relating to differences in career maturity between groups was not rejected.









Table 4.2. Summary Table for Analyses of Variance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Group (N=95)

Source of Variance df SS Mean F P Square
CMI Pretest (N=95)
Between groups 1 59.96 59.96 4.94 .029* Within groups 93 1128.92 12.14 CMI Posttest (N=83)
Between groups 1 69.42 69.42 5.09 .027* Within groups 81 1103.80 13.62
*Statistically significant at the .05 level.

Table 4.3. Summary Table for Analysis of Covariance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Group (N=83)

Source of Variance df Type III Mean F P SS Square
CMI Pretest 1 465.32 267.37 58.32 .00 Between groups 1 7.53 7.53 .94 .33 Within groups 80 638.49 7.98


Locus of Control

Locus of control refers to feelings about personal control over events and

outcomes in one's life (Rotter, 1975). This construct was defined by the researcher for the purposes of this study as the perception that choice and action on the part of the individual affect desired outcomes (internal locus of control) or do not affect desired outcomes (external locus of control). Control may be attributed to chance, luck, more powerful others, or peers and family members in the case of more externally focused individuals.

Locus of control was measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal External Scale (CNSIE) (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). The CNSIE consists of 40 statements requiring a response of "agree" or "disagree." A lower score on the CNSIE








indicated a more internal locus of control on the part of the participant, while a higher score indicated a greater external locus of control. The maximum possible score (indicating the highest level of externality) was 40; the minimum possible score (indicating the highest level of internality) was 0.

HO2: There will be no statistically significant difference in locus of control

between the control group and the experimental group as measured by the

Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE).

As illustrated in Table 4.1, group means between pre- and posttests demonstrated little variation. Students in the control group achieved a group mean score of 15.98 on the pretest (SD-4.47) and 14.76 on the posttest (SD=4.42). Students in the experimental group achieved a pretest group mean score of 15.58 (SD=4.49) and a posttest score of 16.12 (SD=5.02).

An examination of the pre- and posttest sources of variance and F (1.74) and p (.19) values suggested that there was no statistically significant group effect at the .05 level of confidence (Table 4.4). Therefore, the null hypothesis regarding differences between groups in locus of control was not rejected.

Gender and Career Maturity

The interaction between gender and career maturity is one that has been only superficially examined for the age group of participants of this study. While gender is being increasingly scrutinized as a factor of various measures of maturity, little attention has been paid to differential effects of career guidance programs on students by gender. The current study was composed of 95 students, 50 in the experimental group and 45 in the control group. Of the 50 students in the experimental group, 26 were female and 24









Table 4.4. Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for the Children's NowickiStrickland Internal-External Scale by Group (N=85) Source of Variance df SS Mean F P Square
Between groups 1 38.97 38.97 1.74 .19 Within groups 83 1858.04 22.39



were male (Table 4.1), while the control group was composed of 25 females and 20 males.

HO3: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in

the career maturity of participants, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the

Career Maturity Inventory (CMI).

Gender means for the pretest of the CMI, as illustrated in Table 4.1, evidenced a 1.61 point difference between females and males, with female students achieving a mean score of 14.47 (SD=2.97) and males achieving a mean score of 12.86 (SD=3.99). Gender means for the CMI posttest results revealed means of 14.68 (SD=3.66) for female participants and 12.89 (SD=3.75) for males in the study.

Results of a one-way analysis of variance indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between males and females on the pre- and posttest group means for the CMI. The CMI pretest resulted in an F value of 5.03, with a p value of .03 (Table

4.5), and the posttest resulted in an F value of 4.78 with a p value of .03. For both preand posttest group means, females scored significantly higher on career maturity than did males. Therefore the null hypothesis relating to variance in CMI scores based on gender was rejected.








Table 4.5. Summary Table for Analyses of Variance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Gender

Source of Variance df SS Mean F P Square
CMI Pretest (N=95)
Between groups 1 60.99 60.99 5.03 .027* Within groups 93 1127.89 12.13 CMI Posttest (N=83)
Between groups 1 65.46 65.46 4.78 .032* Within groups 81 1107.77 13.68


Further investigation using a factorial analysis of variance was performed in order to determine whether a secondary interaction effect existed between group and gender on the CMI pre- and posttest results. For the CMI Attitude Scale pretest, an F value of 0.00 resulted, with a p value of .97 (Table 4.6) and for the CMI, posttest results were an F value of 0.10, with a p value of .75. Therefore, neither finding was significant, and no interaction effect between group and gender for the CMI Attitude Scale was discovered.

Gender and Locus of Control

The norming groups for the CNSIE locus of control scale have been reported as being composed of 45 males and 43 females at the sixth grade level (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). In the current study, the gender composition was 26 females and 24 males in the experimental group, with 25 females and 20 males in the control group. Group means by gender (Table 4.1) differed from the norming group on both the pre- and posttest measures. The norming group achieved mean scores of 13.73 for males and 13.32 for females, while the participants in the current study achieved mean scores of 15.93 (pretest) and 15.71 (posttest) for males and 15.62 (pretest) and 15.23 (posttest) for








Table 4.6. Summary Table for Factorial Analyses of Variance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Group and Gender

Source of Variance df Type III Mean F P SS Square
CMI Pretest (N=95)
Group 1 64.18 64.18 5.41 .021* Gender 1 65.35 65.35 5.59 .020* Group*Gender 1 1.23 1.23 .001 .974 Error 91 1063.45 11.69 CMI Posttest (N=83)
Group 1 67.07 67.07 5.12 .026* Gender 1 67.07 67.07 5.12 .026* Group*Gender 1 1.36 1.36 .10 .75 Error 79 1035.55 13.11
*Statistically significant at the .05 level.


females. This finding indicates the possibility that the participants in the current study were more externally focused in their perception of behavior reinforcements than were the original group used to establish norms.

HO4: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in locus

of control of participants as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland

Internal-External Scale.

As shown in Table 4.1, there was a differential of less than one point between females and males on gender means for both pretest and posttests of the CNSIE in the current study. The pretest mean for females was 15.63 (SD=4.65) and for males was 15.93 (SD=4.28). In the posttest results, very little change had occurred, with females achieving a mean score of 15.23 (SD=4.36) and males achieving a mean score of 15.71 (SD=5.23).

Results of a one-way analysis of variance indicated that the F value for the gender means on the CNSIE pretest was 0.11, with a p value of .74 (Table 4.7), and the ANOVA








results for the posttest were an F value of 0.21 and a p value of .65. Therefore, the hypothesis concerning the difference between genders on the Children's NowickiStrickland Internal-External Scale was not rejected.

Analyses of group mean scores for the experimental and control conditions were conducted. No significant differences were found between groups in career maturity or in locus of control. Further analyses were performed to ascertain whether gender contributed to differential results for career maturity and locus of control. Significant differences were found between males and females in career maturity, both on the pretest and posttest mean achievement levels, with female participants receiving higher scores.

Based on these analyses of data, null hypotheses relating differential changes in career maturity, (HOI), and locus of control, (HO2), to experimental group were not rejected. Null hypotheses relating to differential gender means on career maturity (H03) and locus of control (HO4) scales were also tested, with HO3 being rejected as the female mean was significantly higher than the mean for males on both the pretest and the posttest for career maturity. No significant interaction effect for gender by group was observed, however. Chapter 5 contains the summary, conclusions, limitations, and recommendations for the present study.








Table 4.7. Summary Table for Analyses of Variance for the Children's NowickiStrickland Internal-External Scale by Gender


Source of Variance df


Mean


Square
CNSIE Pretest (N=95)
Between groups 1 2.19 2.19 .11 .74 Within groups 93 1870.72 20.12 CNSIE Posttest (N=85)
Between groups 1 4.77 4.77 .21 .65 Within groups 81 1107.77 13.68














CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Summary
This study was designed to investigate the effects of a career guidance unit

delivered over the Internet. More specifically, the researcher investigated the effects of a guidance unit on the career maturity and locus of control of sixth grade students. Ninetyfive students were randomly selected from two groups, one of which was scheduled for daily computer classes using the Internet, and one of which was scheduled for another enrichment class. The control group was selected because they were scheduled to be assigned to the computer classes in the next marking term, and therefore would be able to participate in the Internet career unit as a delayed treatment condition. Approximately 87% of participants completed all pre- and posttest assessments.

The career counseling unit was adapted from Career Explorer 98, a commercial service available to schools on a yearly lease basis. Career Explorer 98 (CX98) is a comprehensive service composed of classroom lessons, individual exploration programs, professional development programs in career counseling for school guidance personnel and teachers, responsive services for individuals, and links to career information, colleges, technical training programs, and scholarships in the World Wide Web. The unit presented in this study was composed of individual interest assessments and self-


F- N








evaluation, career decision making activities, exploration of potential careers and educational opportunities, and, finally, a narrowing down of options to three areas of particular interest for each individual participant.

A pre- and posttest randomized control group design was used. Instruments

administered consisted of the Career Maturity Inventory Attitude Scale (Crites, 1995), and the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). In addition, a survey designed to assess participant satisfaction and perception of usefulness was administered to the experimental group at the conclusion of the intervention.

Data analyses consisting of analyses of variance were used to test the four

hypotheses, and further investigation of results included factorial ANOVAs designed to assess potential interaction effects, and an ANCOVA designed to control for differences between control and experimental group results on pretests.

No significant differences in career maturity or locus of control were found

between the experimental and control groups based on participation in the intervention. Consequently, this on-line career guidance unit is not recommended for use with the current population.

Results

The four major hypotheses were tested using analyses of variance. No

statistically significant differences were found for main treatment effect based on group data on either of the dependent variables. While significant differences were found








between genders on one of the dependent variables, further investigation did not support the possibility of an interaction effect between gender and group.

HO1: There will be no statistically significant difference in career maturity

between the two experimental groups, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the

Career Maturity Inventory (CMI).

The results of data analyses for the pre- and posttest results on the Career Maturity Inventory Attitude Scale indicated significant differences between groups on the pretest and posttest assessments of career maturity of participants. Because the control and experimental groups were significantly different on the pretest results of the CMI, the use of an analysis of covariance using the pretest CMI results as a covariant for the posttest between group results was indicated. No statistically significant differences were found between control and experimental groups based on the ANCOVA results, indicating that there was no differential career maturity change based on program participation. The first null hypothesis was not rejected.

HO2: There will be no statistically significant difference in locus of control

between the control group and the experimental group as measured by the

Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE).

An analysis of variance was performed to assess change over time in locus of control for the control and experimental groups. No statistically significant differences were found to have occurred in between-group comparison based on the ANOVA of Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale results. Locus of control was not found to have changed differentially based on participation in the intervention. The results failed to support a rejection of Hypothesis 2.








HO3: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in the

career maturity of participants, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the Career

Maturity Inventory.

Initial examination of the two groups by gender indicated that female students scored significantly higher on the CMI Attitude scale than did male students. This was true for both the pretest and posttest results. Hypothesis 3 was therefore rejected. Further investigation into potential interaction effects of gender X treatment group using a factorial ANOVA did not indicate a statistically significant interaction between gender and group for career maturity.

HO4: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in locus

of control of participants as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland

Internal-External Scale.

An analysis of variance between groups for locus of control, as measured by the CNSIE, did not indicate significant differences between genders on either the pretest or the posttest. There was very little variation between genders in the results of pre- and posttest scores by group. Consequently, hypothesis 4 was not rejected.

Limitations

Several limitations to the current study were evident in an examination of the procedures used and in the treatment conditions. While every attempt was made to ensure equality of comparison groups given the fact that random assignment to groups was not possible, significant differences between groups in regard to career maturity were evident in the pretest results. It is difficult to ascertain how this might have affected intervention effects.








In addition, there was variation between class sections of the experimental group in numbers of participants per period. This meant that in some classes the students had access to their own computers while, in others, students had to share computers. As locus of control theory indicates computers are most potentially useful in that individuals feel that they are personally taking charge and finding relevant information for themselves (Bernhard & Siegal, 1994), having individual control over the computer and over information sought could be an important factor in locus of control development. As students were randomly chosen from the five sections which completed the intervention, there was no attempt made to control for individual versus shared computer use as a potential threat to experimental outcomes.

There were some unplanned schedule changes on the part of the participating school as well. The initial research design was based on a five-week administration of the eight counseling sessions and the pre- and posttest data collection, with the program being administered twice a week. The computer lab being used in the study was just being connected to the Internet, however, and technical problems forced the delay of the intervention by one week. In addition, there was a school-wide field trip in the last week of the program which had not been on the academic schedule, with the result that the final guidance session and the posttest administration took place two days before the students had final exams, and four days before school went on vacation. Proximity to exams and to vacation might have proven to be a distracting factor on the posttest performance of the experimental group. A further complicating factor is the fact that the control group posttest administration took place the end of the week before, and this might have been a source of variance between the groups.








A fourth limitation to the study was the fact that the reading level of the CX98

program had been designed and determined to be for the sixth grade, yet students and the computer teacher both mentioned that the reading involved in the program seemed to be more challenging than the students were used to encountering. As a result, they frequently requested help and interpretation from the program administrator, which might have lessened the effect of finding and using information from the Internet which would be geared to their own personal needs. Participants' experience of regulating their own learning and controlling the flow and scope of information might have been hampered by this need for more adult input than had been anticipated by the researcher. It is possible that exploration of the dependent variable locus of control was confounded by the need for more support and interaction between participants and adults based on the vocabulary used in the intervention.

Implications

The current study provided little support for using this particular adaptation of CX98 with sixth grade students. The lack of statistically significant differential change between groups indicated that students did not benefit substantially in terms of the dependent variable constructs of career maturity and locus of control based on their participation in the intervention. Several important points, however, emerged from the research process.

Continuing emphasis on the use of computers in the schools indicates that there is a growing need for this type of research. Computers are being integrated into the curricula throughout the country, and guidance programs are no exception. Specifying








the procedures and quantifying results from this study have helped to point the way for future research in Internet applications in school guidance programs.

Several problems emerged in the research process, primarily revolving around the technology. Internet access went down several times in the course of the study, and support mechanisms were often found to be wanting in terms of response time. This problem was not unique to this school or this lab, but pointed to the need for addition resources to be allocated to the training of school personnel on site. The fact that the computer lab was in its first days meant that problems which were actually rather minor required support at the district level, and therefore necessitated lengthy delays for repair. While this is not a problem specific to the current study, guidance staff needs to receive additional training in computer use if computers are going to play an important part in the provision of counseling services.

The successful completion of the CX98 unit during the course of this study was an example of responsiveness to government mandates regarding career development and regarding computers in the schools. President Clinton has made computer provision, training, and integration a priority for his administration, and the School-to-Work Initiative Act of 1992 emphasizes the need for students to receive practical instruction that is consistently related to future job skills and career awareness. Accountability in school guidance and counseling is an additional priority both in the profession and in the community. The Career Explorer program is currently being used in over 2,500 schools in the United States and Canada, but no research had been done on its effectiveness. In addition, no efforts have been made to systematically ascertain how the program is being used in various settings and with various constituencies. Given the comprehensive scope








of the offerings of CX, it was important to provide concrete structure and definition in terms of creating and evaluating a focused guidance unit. The recent changes in expectation for developmental school guidance and counseling regarding career guidance, accountability, and computer services necessitate a move to more clearly delineated and evaluated programs of this sort.

It is important to note that the use of the Internet to deliver a career counseling intervention involved the successful integration of personnel not traditionally associated with guidance services. Developmental guidance and counseling theory stresses the fact that all school employees should be involved in the provision of guidance interventions (Myrick, 1995), and that guidance should be incorporated into the classroom and into all subject matter. In the case of this experiment, guidance lessons were integrated into the computer classroom, were used as a mechanism for teaching computer skills, and have been continued by the computer instructor after the end of the study.

Other Findings

A survey was completed by students in the experimental group upon completion of the career exploration unit (see Appendix C). Students completed a 10-question assessment which was composed of eight statements regarding the guidance unit. The response format was a 5 point Likert-type scale in which I corresponded to "strongly agree" and 5 corresponded to "strongly disagree." The final two questions were of an open-response format in which students were asked to provide information concerning what they liked and did not like about CX98. Seventy-seven students completed the survey, and students were informed that their responses were anonymous.








The mean score of responses to the first question ("Career Explorer helped me learn about different jobs") was 1.93, with 66% of students reporting that they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, while only 5% responded with disagree or strongly disagree. The statements with the next highest mean responses (2.09 and 2.13, respectively) were "Career Explorer helped me learn about what I need to do to enter specific jobs," and "Career Explorer helped me decide what kinds ofjobs I might be good at." The mean results to other items were in the 2.19 to 2.56 range, with the lowest mean of 2.56 in response to the fifth statement, "Career Explorer was enjoyable." Participant responses to the survey, therefore, can be considered to be quite positive in terms of general information regarding vocations and in terms of gaining knowledge about personally or individually relevant factors in career exploration.

Responses to the open ended questions varied a great deal. They ranged from "I loved it all," to "It did not help me decide what I wanted to do or anything about jobs I like." The majority of written replies were favorable about the program and focused on learning about specific jobs of interest to individual participants. Examples included: "We could pick different jobs that we want to do [and] because of that I really know what to do to get that job;" "it taught me about jobs and what the future would be like if I took one of the jobs;" and "we got to make our own decisions."

Negative responses tended to focus on the fact that students did not find it very

exciting, it took away time from other things they wanted to work on, or they did not find the jobs about which they wanted to know. Some examples include: "It was boring and didn't have the job I wanted;" "it took up time I needed to use doing my essay;" and "we didn't do enough research on jobs and that's what I thought it would be."








Overall, the surveys provide support for the fact that the career exploration intervention was positively received in many ways. While the data analyses of experimental results indicated that no significant changes occurred in the career maturity or locus of control of participating students, the students themselves found the program to be useful in terms of learning about specific jobs, about entry requirements for specific occupations, and about how their own interests and skills help define the careers that might be appropriate for them.

Recommendations

While the results of this study did not produce evidence of change in participants' career maturity or locus of control, several fruitful avenues for additional research emerged from the project. The addition of a third experimental group that could complete the career intervention independently from home or school computers might emphasize the potential for locus of control to be affected by the CX98 intervention. Locus of control has been shown to be positively affected by computer interventions, and a third treatment condition in which students take part in the intervention independently, as opposed to this study's classroom, counselor-led situation, might allow for more personal exploration and relevance. A similar CX98 intervention is currently being implemented by the Florida High School, an on-line high school which serves the needs of high school students throughout the State of Florida. No research has been performed to date on the efficacy of the intervention with the Florida High School's independent learners, but the process indicates that the capability exists for students to complete the CX98 career guidance unit under less directive circumstances. Replicating the current study with a third treatment group could shed light on the potential differential effects of




Full Text

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AN ON-LINE CAREER DEVELOPMENT GUIDANCE UNIT FOR SIXTH-GRADE STUDENTS By LAURA SPIRSTONE PEDERSEN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1999

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am profoundly grateful to my supervisory committee members, Dr. Larry Loesch, Dr. Harry Daniels, Dr. David Miller, and especially Dr. Robert Myrick, my committee chair, for their encouragement, patience, and support throughout the duration of this study. Dr. Myrick very generously contributed his wisdom and creativity in addition to tirelessly encouraging my professional development. I am also grateful to the good people of Tuscaloosa who assisted me in the implementation of this project. Dr. Allen Wilcoxon provided endless support and practical assistance. Denise Perry worked diligently at program delivery. Sharon Clanton and Shannon Hamner supported the school-based implementation with grace. My thanks also go to Doug Manning of Bridges Initiatives for permission to use the CX program in this study. Finally, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the family and friends who stood by me, particularly my parents, Norman and Isabel, my siblings, and friends, Evelyn Smith and Harold Bamberg, all of whom put up with so much. ii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABSTRACT CHAPTERS 1 INTRODUCTION Employment Projections Need for the Study Theoretical Rationale Purpose of the Study Definition of Terms Research Questions Organization of the Remainder of the Study 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Developmental Career Counseling in the Schools Computer Technology— Possibilities and Pitfalls Applications of Computers in Career Counseling Career Development Constructs Career Development Theory as Applied to Adolescence. ......... ... Summary 3 RESEARCH DESIGN, METHODOLOGY, AND PROCEDURES Population and Sample Research Design Hypotheses Relevant Variables Dependent Variables: The Instruments Research Procedures iii

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4 RESEARCH FINDINGS 75 Career Maturity 75 Locus of Control 7g Gender and Career Maturity 79 Gender and Locus of Control 81 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 85 Summary 85 Results 86 Limitations 88 Implications 90 Other Findings 92 Recommendations 94 APPENDICES A PERMISSION 97 B GUIDANCE UNIT MANUAL 100 C POSTASSESSMENT SURVEY 123 REFERENCES I25 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I34 iv

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy AN ON-LINE CAREER DEVELOPMENTAL GUIDANCE UNIT FOR SIXTH-GRADE STUDENTS By Laura Spirstone Pedersen May 1999 Chairperson: Robert Myrick Major Department: Counselor Education The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a developmental guidance unit on sixth-grade students. More specifically, the study examined how the on-line unit affected career maturity and locus of control. A pretest-posttest control group design was used with 95 students fi-om the sixth grade middle school of an urban school district in central Alabama. The students were randomly selected fi-om 185 who were eligible to participate based on their access to the Internet-connected computer lab. The unit was delivered by a middle school teacher who is also a counselor-in-training. Data were analyzed using an analysis of variance on two dependent variables. Four null hypotheses were tested. No significant differences (a=.05) were found between groups in changes fi-om pretest to posttest in career maturity (HO,), in locus of control (HO2), or in gende ler

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differences on locus of control (HO4). A significant mean difference (a=.05) resulted between genders in career maturity (HO3) on both pretest and posttest measures, but further analysis using a factorial analysis of variance did not fmd significant differences in gender by group interaction. The data did not provide support for the eight-session on-line career exploration unit with sixth grade students. Qualitative data taken from students, however, indicated that the unit was perceived as useful and challenging. Middle school students are at a critical time in their development of vocational identity and career aspirations as they begin to explore their own strengths and interests. The unit had limited success in affecting career maturity and locus of control, but provides a starting point for designing research in this crucial area. vi

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION It is important that students receive comprehensive career guidance as part of an overall guidance curriculum in our schools. The current economic situation in the United States is one of transition and turbulence, with the result that students must be prepared in new ways to plan for their futures. Today's students will change jobs an average of eight times during their careers (VonVillas, 1995), and many of these changes will entail movement between different fields. Students must leave high school with a clear understanding of themselves and their goals if they are to prosper under these demanding circumstances. Most students perceive a college education as being essential for career mobility and growth, but recent changes in our economy have led to a need to reassess this assumption. While a college education can be vital in maximizing future earnings for individuals, the decision to attend college must be based on sound information and careful planning. A majority of young Americans expect to have high status jobs and high salaries (Olson, 1996), but have an unrealistic view of how this can be achieved. Merely matriculating at a college is no guarantee of financial success. Only 24.8% of students who begin a four-year degree program have completed it six years later (Olson, 1996). A great many students, therefore, are wasting time and tuition money.

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2 Employment Projections "Making informed career decisions requires reliable information about opportunities that should be available in any field" (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996, p. 1). Students in school today must have a clear sense of what options are likely to be available to them when they finish their education and training before they commit themselves to a course of action. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1996), the coming decade will be a time of change and uncertainty in the labor force. The fastest growing occupational fields will reflect the continuing expansion of the computer technology and health care sectors. Service-producing fields will account for most new jobs, particularly in health care, business, and educational services. Health care service jobs alone will account for one-fifth of all job growth during the years 1994 to 2005 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996), partially due to the aging of the American population. While jobs with higher educational requirements and higher salaries will show the most growth in number of new positions, and jobs requiring bachelor's degrees will average almost twice the growth predicted for jobs with lower education and training requirements, there will be a number of areas of rapid expansion that will not require entry-level applicants to have four-year degrees. Nurses, carpenters, electrical technicians, and police officers will all be in much demand and these fields are wellpaying relative to the amount of education they require (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1996). Students who know where to find current information and fixture projections will

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3 be at a distinct advantage in matching their interests and aspirations with appropriate educational planning. It is equally important that students be aware of which fields are declining in number of predicted openings. The fastest declining jobs markets between 1994 and 2005 will be in agriculture, typing, word processing, bookkeeping, child-care, and janitorial services (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996; Drummond & Ryan, 1995). These have traditionally been favored positions for students with a high school degree and little further training. Projections are grim for students with a high school education or less, because there will be openings for these individuals, but they will be at the lowest salary levels and will offer the least chance for advancement. A further concern regarding employment projections for the coming decade is the inequity between the number of minority ethnic and racial group members who will be entering the work force and the opportunities which will be available to them. The proportion of Hispanics, Asians, and other minority races in the population will increase in relation to African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites, and African-Americans will increase in number more quickly than non-Hispanic whites. Therefore, the labor force will become increasingly diverse as well. Hispanics and Afi-ican-Americans, however, had lower than average educational attainment in 1994 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996), and thus will have an increasingly difficult time finding well-paying jobs in the coming decade. It is essential that career guidance programs which link interests, abilities, aspirations, and educational planning reach these segments of our population which are

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4 most at risk for being undereducated or xmdertrained in today's demanding economic climate. Need for the Study Technological Development The State of Alabama has traditionally been ranked near or at the bottom of national rankings on all educational benchmarks (Alabama Education News, 1998). State Superintendent of Education, Ed Richardson, has overseen the development of major educational initiatives during the past four years, as reported in the Alabama Education News (1998): "We've implemented a lot and we've done it at a fast pace because for too long Alabama has been in last place in many educational rankings, and we've done a disservice to our students. We allowed them to graduate with a diploma based on an average curriculum and an eighth grade level graduation exam, neither of which prepared them for the workplace of the future" (p.l). Among these initiatives were provisions for standards, additional funding, and training for teachers in the use of technology for instruction. The school initiatives also included five components for career and technical education programs which were centered around the need for offering a career discovery course and the direct application of career majors and pathways to academic content areas. The emphasis on technology applications and career exploration as important educational components to be integrated into curricular content highlights the need for investigation of Internet developmental guidance units in the Alabama schools. In addition, federal government support has grown increasingly strong for implementation of technology in the classroom, as evidenced by President Clinton's

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5 stated goal of having every eighth grade student be able to log on to the Internet (Roache, 1997). Congress approved allocations this year of 425 million dollars to help states get their schools wired, money which is distributed among states which in turn control its distribution among school districts. The emphasis in this program is upon helping poorer students and school districts access technological developments. Utilization of Available Resources While there are valid concerns about the equity of access to computers and to their applications, equal attention needs to be paid to how computers are being used. In addition to providing access to computers, it is essential that government and district resources be provided for staff training, program development, and evaluation. School counselors are in a position to revolutionize the ways in which many aspects of their jobs are performed, but they must take the lead in program development, implementation, and evaluation. Career counseling as part of a comprehensive developmental guidance program in the schools is perfectly placed to take advantage of technological developments. There is a relatively long history of computer use in school counseling in regard to information management, word processing, and record keeping. Career guidance programs have been in the forefront of program development in terms of dissemination of information and online assessments. Software programs have helped counselors organize and maintain huge amounts of information, and present this information to students in an appropriate, timely manner. "Computerized approaches to helping the career counselors do not make the job

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6 any easier, but they make it possible for the job to be done better" (Kxumbohz, 1990, p. 135). As early as 1970, theorists in career counseling were speculating upon the advantages to be gained through computerized information management and dissemination: The system should enable the counselor to work at a higher level of individualized and diagnostic problem-solving with each student, since the student should be aware of and better prepared to deal with the personal problems of educational and vocational planning. The system should help the counselor identify students who may need more immediate personalized attention because of unrealistic planning. The counselor should therefore be able to devote more of his [sic] time to professional counseling activities and less time to maintaining and operating a general educationaloccupational information library. (Minor, in Super, 1970, p.45) Computerized aids to career counseling did indeed live up to this early prediction. Their widespread use has been essential in allowing career counselors to maximize their efforts and to provide effective and efficient interventions. More recently, however, career guidance in the schools has been undergoing a significant shift from occupational choice to life planning. The reality of economic uncertainty and the need for flexibility in career paths have led to an evolving change in career counseling theory and practice. "The early, straightforward procedures used in helping individuals choose occupations have evolved into diverse strategies, incorporating career decision making and life-planning" (Zunker, 1994, p. 17). The combination of a paradigm shift in vocational guidance with new and exciting technological innovations in the schools have created an opportunity for developmental school counselors, one that has not yet been met.

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7 School Counseling and the Internet Several advantages to using the Internet in vocational education have been investigated recently (Imel, 1996; Wagner, 1995), and include arousal of student interest, ease of communication between students and teachers, availability of new resources and current information, and the development of relationships throughout the world with the possibility of communication with experts in any field. The use of computers to access personally relevant career information has been found to be empowering to youths and adults alike (hnel, 1996). It is a necessity for school counselors to become involved in the development of career interventions that take advantage of computerized networks. Until very recently, only large corporations and governments had the resources to develop such programs (Carson & Cartwright, 1997), but the burgeoning of the Internet and access to it have opened the door for individuals to show initiative in the creation of Internet applications in vocational guidance. School counselors have the opportunity to explore new horizons in career interventions, and the responsibility to participate in the development of programs that will meet their students' needs and allow for the most effective use of counselor time and resources. Theoretical Rationale Developm ental Guidance and Counselinf r Developmental guidance and counseling theory is based on the understanding that human growth and development is a lifelong process in which genetic and environmental factors interact. This interaction normally results in a predictable transition through

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8 identifiable stages, but the process can be altered by the appearance of disruptive factors (Myrick, 1995). Developmental guidance involves designing educational programs which take into account the expected stages and tasks in which individuals are engaged. Developmental guidance is organized as a series of large group, small group and individual interventions within the educational setting which have a set of specific goals. These goals include understanding the school environment, understanding self and others, understanding behaviors and attitudes, decision-making and problem solving, interpersonal and communication skills, school success skills, career awareness and educational planning, and community involvement (Myrick, 1995). The interventions designed for specific groups or individuals take into account the developmental stages and associated tasks which are appropriate for that age. Career development is an integral part of a developmental guidance program at all grade levels. The consideration of cognitive, behavioral, social, and affective processes of students is designed to complement and enhance the learning process and the school environment. The common experiences of human development, including stage transition and associated tasks of the maturation process (Havighurst, 1972), are integrated into the educational setting, and career development is one essential aspect of a complete developmental guidance program. Developm ental Career Counselinp; The work of Donald Super has focused on the theoretical basis that career development, like human development in general, passes through a series of identifiable stages with associated tasks and processes. In order to develop a career guidance program

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9 that will meet the needs of students, counselors must be cognizant of the developmental levels of their target populations. Only by tailoring information and activities to the appropriate stages can growth and development be efficiently fostered. Students at the middle school level are in a period of exploration and discovery (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). The exploratory stage is a fertile time for catching student's attention, but it is also a time of unrest and uncertainty. The self-concept is undergoing major upheaval (Erikson, 1963; Super 1974; Myrick, 1995), and students have behavioral characteristics which reflect this. It is essential at this period that individuals have the opportunity to explore their own values as well as exploring the world of work and career choices (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). Students in this stage are often egocentric and extremely concerned with the reactions of their peers. At the exploratory level, therefore, small group activities are well-received and it is important for students to understand not only what their tasks are but why these tasks are important. Middle and high school students gain confidence and a sense of identity from positive growth, positive results, and the sharing of both (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). Adolescents at these ages must be convinced of the relevance and importance of developmental career guidance interventions in order to benefit most frilly from them, but when they have been convinced, the potential for timely teaching (Havighurst, 1972) is almost unparalleled. Counselors at this level are far more than purveyors of vocational information, therefore, but must also be facilitators, coordinators, teachers, and consultants. In addition to providing information, they must also teach problem-solving and decision making skills, encourage personal exploration of values and goals, and foster a readiness for

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10 lifelong planning. The goals of the exploratory stage in a general sense are to master the developmental tasks of the stage and to develop career maturity (Drummond & Ryan, 1995) but the undertaking can be challenging due to the limited experience and selfcentered worldview of students at this age. Specific career guidance curriculums have been proposed by a number of theorists in the past twenty years (Maddy-Bemstein & Cunanan, 1995; Passow, in Super, 1974; Drummond & Ryan, 1995). Generally, such educational plans are broken down into the areas of self-knowledge, educational and occupational exploration, and career planning (Maddy-Bemstein & Cunanan, 1995). Career indecision is quite common at this stage and can often be traced to lack of research, lack of appropriate options or selection of inappropriate options, and lack of follow-through on related tasks. While this confluence of theory and practice has been applied diligently in developmental school guidance programs for many years, recent technological developments and computer applications are changing the way school coimselors see their jobs and the way they utilize resources in their schools. There is a pressing need for additional insight into the way that integration of computer technology into career guidance alters the traditional balance of theory and practice in our schools. Computers in Career Guidance As economic and cultural forces in the United States have necessitated a more complex approach to career guidance, counselors have struggled to find a way to meet changing individual needs. Rather than assisting students and clients to arrive at a single career choice, counselors must shift focus to include complete life-planning and decision

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11 making skills (Zunker, 1994). While the goals have become more complex, additional technological support has kept pace with changing demands to ensure that the end resuh is attainable. Computers in career counseling do not simplify the process, but when used appropriately, they do allow the counselors to do more and to be more thorough (Krumboltz, 1990). As technology has become more sophisticated, methods of integrating computer programs into a developmental career guidance program have also become more complex. No longer are they perceived as delivering information about vocational alternatives while a counselor concentrates on helping students with the decision making process. There is an increasing emphasis on utilizing computers to teach information processing skills, to administer interest and value inventories, and to assess the likelihood that aspirations might be attained or compromises considered (Gati & Fassa, 1997). Clearly, computers are being used for much more than data dissemination as their applications have ventured into the terrain of cognitive and psychological development. Theory has not caught up with these developments, however. While computers are being used in new and exciting ways, there is a lack of theory to connect counselors, students and software (Sampson, Peterson, & Reardon, 1989). Virtually all software development has been undertaken by large corporations, and has concentrated on the relationship between client and software. "In the past, theories focused on traits and factors, developmental stages, and roles, hi the ftiture theories will tend to be more holistic and reflect a worldview. With technological advances and artificial intelligence, the computer can become more apart [sic] of model and theory building" (Drummond &

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12 Ryan, 1995, p. 356). As counselor roles change to reflect the growing contributions computer technology can make to career guidance, there are two related challenges before the counseling profession. Counseling practitioners must become more active in the design of computer applications and software, but they must also address the triad of counselor, client, and computer in theory so that the changing roles may be more completely understood and more effectively integrated. The ultimate aim of computer-assisted career guidance systems is to foster independence and responsibility in users in regard to problem-solving and decision making (Sampson, Peterson & Reardon, 1989). Recent research has indicated that the ability to use computers to access personally relevant career information can be empowering for computer users (Imel, 1996). Computer assisted career guidance systems allow individuals to explore interests and abilities, learn about the worid of work, investigate specific interest areas, and understand requirements and educational backgrounds necessary in a given field. The process is individualized, self-paced, and student-centered. In the classroom setting, a computer intervention has been shown to be positively related to a more internal locus of control (Swan, 1990), with students perceiving that they were more in control of their own learning with the inclusion of the computer. While theory regarding computer use in career guidance is in a nascent form, it is a field with unlimited potential. Computer-assisted career guidance systems allow counselors to do more with their clients through selective use of developmentally appropriate activities and information, but the mere fact of allowing students to be in

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13 control of some aspects of their own learning and exploration can be facilitative and growth-engendering. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a developmental guidance unit for middle school students that focused on career maturity and decision making. More specifically, the goal of the study was to investigate the effects of a career exploration unit, delivered via the Internet, on the career maturity and locus of control of early adolescents. An experimental design was used that involved experimental and control groups and hypotheses were tested. Definition of Terms The following terms are useful in understanding this study: Career is the lifelong pattern of a person's vocational behavior and aspirations. Career decision making is a process by which one evaluates vocational choices and arrives at a conclusion regarding a career. Career maturity is the ability to master the developmental career-related tasks of a specific stage of life relative to one's peer group. Career information deliv erv systems rCIDS) are computer programs designed to sort, organize, and present large amounts of vocational information based on an individual's specifications. Computer-assisted career g uidance systems (CACGs't refer to computer programs which combine information about career decision-making with the delivery of vocational information and data.

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14 Developmental guidance unit is a specific educational experience designed to address common issues of growth and development which is integrated into the overall school curriculum. Internet is a worldwide network of computer links which allow people to communicate, share, and learn rapidly and inexpensively, regardless of geographic location. Locus of Control concerns feelings of control over events in one's life or taking responsibility for one's life. Research Questions The following questions received particular attention in the implementation of the current study on an Internet career coimseling developmental guidance unit: 1. Does participation in an hitemet-delivered career guidance unit affect the career matmty of middle school students? 2. Does participation in the career intervention affect the locus of control of middle school students? 3. Are there any differential effects in career maturity and locus of control among middle school students when gender is considered? Organization of the Remainder of the Studv The remainder of the study is presented in four chapters. In Chapter 2, the related literature was reviewed and analyzed. A discussion of the methodology is contained in Chapter 3. The results of the study will be presented in Chapter 4, and a discussion of the resuhs and their implications will follow in Chapter 5.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Developmental Career Counseling in Schools The history of debate about the need for vocational guidance within schools is a lengthy one. As early as 1972, Havighurst was specifying certain tasks and objectives that schools should address in the area of career development. While Frank Parsons pioneered work in vocational guidance as long ago as the turn of the century, Havighurst broke ground more recently in terms of seeing it as a part of an overall developmental guidance program in the schools. Havighurst (1972) proposed that schools should become involved in the development and fostering of work-study programs for high school and college students, and that liberal arts and general studies should be tied in with vocational instruction at all age levels. Students might choose to follow a premedical plan of study, but they should take philosophy as well, for example. This concept becomes particularly relevant when one considers the frequency with which today's youth are expected to change jobs and career paths throughout the course of their lives. Developmental school guidance and counseling is predicated upon the idea that human beings are compelled by their very nature to move sequentially and positively toward self-enhancement (Myrick, 1995). All people are engaged in a struggle to grow and develop that is never-ending. Interaction between the individual and the environment is a lifelong process that fosters change in the individual, and these changes essentially 15

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16 take place in a forward, linear manner. While there are personal variations in the timing of the evolution, all people are assumed to follow a similar pattern. Human development, therefore, encompasses biological, social, and psychological growth. All of these elements must be considered in a developmental school guidance program. Career development, in particular, can be both an end in and of itself and an impetus for intrapsychic growth. "[I]f students are taught to master certain tasks and skills that coincide with the different stages, perhaps learning lifelong skills and attitudes, then they are more likely to feel a sense of control and success in their lives" (Myrick, 1995, p.31). The developmental stages that people pass through have been clearly delineated by many different theorists in relation to physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and psychosexual growth. The main purpose of these theories is to allow for a conceptual understanding of what can be expected of children at different ages, and of how their needs can best be met in terms of a developmental guidance and counseling program. It is vital, however, that school counselors be alert and responsive to the uniqueness of individuals and to try to meet the varying needs of each student. Career awareness and its connection to educational and life planning is one of the primary goals of developmental guidance and counseling (Myrick, 1995). It is essential that students have exposure to the world of work and all that is entailed therein if they are to have a vision of their future to complement their view of the present. They need to be encouraged to focus on career exploration that is related to their understanding of their own personal skills, interests, and talents. In this regard, schools need to provide comprehensive information about the knowledge and abilities required in a broad range of occupations, and they need to integrate this information into the regular curriculum

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17 (Olson, 1996). Students also need to be prepared for adaptability. To this end, counselors must become more career-focused in their orientation to their own work, and schools must allot more resources to career guidance interventions (VonVillas, 1995). Counselors must redefine their roles to include an emphasis on career development, and this reconceptualization must be supported by the school population and the community at large. "[School counselors] have been called upon to act in the capacity of confidant, disciplinarian, consultant, scheduler, politician, administrator, and psychological helper. This ambiguity regarding counselors' roles and expectations has created conftision among teachers, support staff, parents, and students" (Maddy-Bemstein (feCunanan, 1995, p.95). At the middle and high school levels it is important to remember that developmental guidance and counseling is for all students, and that vocational counseling has equal relevance for the college-bound student and for those entering the work force directly. All students share the same developmental needs, and college-bound students are no more likely to have definite career goals than are those who are going directly to work (VonVillas, 1995). The School-ToWork Opportunities Initiative of 1994 The consideration of a need for enhanced career guidance in the schools was highlighted by the recent government commitment to the School-To-Work Opportunities Initiative. The basic principle is that all school-based learning and all work-based learning should be linked through connecting activities in the schools. In other words, what is done in the classroom must be made relevant to the workplace and to ftiture vocational aspirations. No longer can classroom learning be considered as a separate

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18 process that is a valuable end in and of itself. Therefore, the three basic components of a school-to-work program must be classroom learning, workplace learning, and the essential connecting activities (United States Department of Education, 1992). There are several important ramifications of the school-to-work initiative. The first is that all teachers must be considered career educators because the work of the classroom must be tied directly to the future work environment. Students can be expected to change jobs eight times during their lives (VonVillas, 1995) and therefore must be educated for job skills that allow for adaptation and flexibility as opposed to learning one set of competencies for a particular career path. These job changes will not always be voluntary, nor are they always in the same field, so teachers must concentrate on fostering career exploration and self-knowledge in addition to teaching specific skills. Havighurst's (1972) recognition that formal education must be tied to adult occupational roles emphasizes the fact that students do not need to make a firm commitment to a particular field, but they need to consider how the skills taught in a class might be utilized in a variety of occupational settings. The United States Department of Education (1992) composed a list of essential school-to-work program components which included: 1 . direct and active involvement of local employers, 2. training of all guidance personnel in career counseling, 3. classroom lessons showing how school work applies to the world of work, 4. a commitment to helping all students develop personal career plans, 5. competency-based learning in which students learn at their own rates, 6. focus schools with vocational themes within the high school, 7. tech-prep programs which combine two-year college technical training with high school academic and vocational work, and 8. job placement services within the school setting.

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19 These guidelines are very consistent with the principles of developmental guidance and counseling in terms of reaching all students, being integrated into the total educational process, involving all school personnel while providing counselors who offer specialized interventions, and being based on an organized, sequential curriculum (Myrick, 1995). Two particular types of career development infusion into the curriculum of K-12 education are particularly important: courses which focus directly upon career development concepts and skills; and courses which tie their subject matter to appropriate career development information and activities (Mariani, 1995-96). The former would focus on the provision of separate, discrete career development interventions provided by occupational resource specialists, guidance counselors, or trained teacher-advisors. The latter is based on the consistent, daily integration of academic activities and occupational information. The vocational exploration would therefore be conducted, at least in part, by classroom teachers in conjunction with their particular subject matters. While the second approach is currently in favor, the first is a more traditional approach in terms of developmental guidance and counseling and they should be seen as complementary procedures, rather than disparate ones. Evolving Objectives of School-Based Career Guidance and Counseling While the definition of school-based career guidance programs is currently in a state of flux because of societal and educational policy changes, several important goals have emerged recently. Career counselors should focus on helping studems narrow their interests and goals rather than encouraging them to commit to one specific career path at an early age. These individual interests should then be used as the foundation for designing a high school and college curriculum which would keep multiple options open

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20 for students (VonVillas, 1995). The rapidly changing economy and the likelihood that individuals will change jobs repeatedly as adults make this a vital concern. This emphasis on individual planning and goal-setting will necessitate changes in studentcounselor ratios in the schools as well. It is difficult, if not impossible, for one counselor to assist 300 to 500 students in such an undertaking with any degree of effectiveness. Career counseling programs share similar goals of assisting clients in making career decisions, fostering the acquisition the decision-making skills, and improving the general adjustment status of the individual (Crites, 1976). All three of these goals can be applied to career counseling in the schools today. Within the school context, particular care must be exercised to ensure that students' levels of uncertainty regarding vocational and educational plans are reduced, and to ensure that the two are appropriately related (Minor, in Super, 1970). Drummond and Ryan (1995) addressed the particular developmental and career guidance needs of middle school and high school-aged students in their efforts to develop an appropriate set of goals for school guidance programs. The primary objective for this age group is to engage them in planning their own vocational development. The focus should be on fostering decision-making skills and on teaching them to use available resources. It is also essential for the family to be involved in the exploration process and to support the objectives. Specific goals for this age group include the development of an understanding of the minimal educational competencies required to function in the job market, the knowledge to find and evaluate information about career options, and the understanding that personal values, abilities and skills are related to occupational choices.

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21 By the time students have reached the high school level, they need to have achieved these goals in order to think about themselves in relation to the world-of work. It is important that they understand how societal needs and variations influence the structure and demands of work roles, that they master the skills necessary to seek, obtain and maintain jobs, that they understand the importance of a positive self-concept, that they understand the relationships between work roles and all other life roles, and that they have developed the skills to make appropriate decisions (the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee & Oklahoma State Department of Education, 1991). The role of school counselors in career guidance is, therefore, a complex and demanding one. They must take the lead in program development, staff training, implementation of programming, the cultivation of administrative and community support, and direct services to students individually and in groups. Maddy-Bemstein and Cunanan (1995) recommended a tripartite approach to career guidance programs which can be broken down into counseling interventions, collaboration and communication, and institutional support and leadership. Primary objectives of the interventions include increasing self-knowledge, educational and career exploration, and life long career planning. Equally important considerations, however, are the needs of diverse populations and the definition and provision of program support services. Collaboration and communication for such services requires that counselors utilize all resources in the community, including social service agencies and businesses, as well as involving the parents and families of students in the program as much as possible (Maddy-Bemstein, 1995). She also stressed the need to involve all teachers and staff in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the career guidance program. Finally, the

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22 counselor must be responsible for engendering support for the program at the administrative level, district level, and community level. This comprehensive approach provides a starting point for school counselors to meet the demands of a changing society as well as a changing set of expectations of what a school career guidance program should be. Current hmovations in Career Guidance Programs School counselors and counselor educators have responded to the need for innovation and development in many creative ways. Drunmiond and Ryan (1995) support portfolio use as an essential tool in the vocational guidance process. Portfolios consisting of assessment results allow students to begin developing a clear understanding of their own learning styles, competencies, interests, values, and goals, but portfolios also may include academic evaluations, work experiences, family contributions, resumes, and examples of writing or artistic achievements. The compilation of such information is useful in and of itself, but the subsequent step is the evaluation of the portfolio contents order to make decisions and set long-term goals. This also allows students to identify areas of weakness that they might want to remediate prior to entering the job market. The involvement and training of teachers and advisors is a crucial area for the future of career guidance programs. While many schools currently have "Career Day" programs, very few involve the teachers directly in the planning, preparation of students, and implementation of such interventions. Teachers at all class levels can integrate academic lessons with information about careers in their academic field, as well as including research and assignments about these topics into the course immediately prior to a career day program. The input and evaluations of teachers are vital in assessing the m

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23 implementation of such programs, and their follow-up in the classroom can be an important reinforcement of the students' experiences (Vocational Curriculum Resource Center of Maine, 1995). A Teacher Advisor Program (Myrick, 1995) can be the cornerstone of a career guidance program, one which allows each student to receive personal attention and support. Counselors can train teacher participants to work with small groups of students in an organized curriculum of vocational guidance. Maddy-Bemstein and Cunanan (1995) suggested that a one-hour session each month be devoted to career development. The advisor would implement a program of assessment, exploration, and decision-making with students and meet with each family once a year to plan educational goals and to design an appropriate curriculum for the student. In eighth grade, all students would take a one-semester course which could include assessments, the initiation of the portfolio process, evaluation of grades and standardized test scores, and the first family meeting with the advisor. In ninth grade students focus on teamwork and conflict resolution in their guidance activities, tenth grade sees a renewed emphasis on planning the high school curriculum and picking a focus area or major, and eleventh grade includes opportunities for work-based learning, career shadowing, and community service. Finally, twelfth grade guidance sessions concentrate on expanding the portfolio and the use of computer programs to explore career areas of interest. During senior year many representatives should be brought to campus from the military services, colleges, and community businesses with whom students may meet. An important component of Maddy-Bemstein and Cunanan's program is the Career Resource Center, which is open all day to parents and guardians as well as to students.

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24 While a comprehensive, thorough program such as the one just described is ideal, many practicing school counselors have designed more limited interventions which can be implemented with fewer resources. A school district in Pennsylvania (Gool, 1991) brought students from each subject area at a vocational high school to the middle schools to describe and perform the actual job tasks they were learning. These high school students then led smaller discussion groups with interested middle school students, and the middle school students made choices about career related field trips based on the high school presentations. A program for ninth grade students which was implemented by Wood (1990) was based on only four sessions. The students completed an interest inventory during the first session. During the course of the second session the students received the results of the interest inventory, participated in a discussion of work-related concepts such as work settings, education requirements, and salary considerations, then were given a homework assignment to discover at least two career choices of interest. The third session was devoted to individual research of chosen fields. The final step was to encourage students to apply what they had learned about their careers of interest to their educational planning for high school, and the students then designed their curricula for the remainder of high school. In this way, a relatively simple program about career planning was integrated into an overall educational experience. While the variety of programs described here provides evidence regarding the transitional state of career guidance in the schools, very little research has been done in this area. There is a demonstrable need for systematic examination of such programs in

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25 order to determine the level of efficacy that can be expected from such creative programming. Computer Technoloev-Possibilities and Pitfalls While it is widely accepted that the integration of computers into school guidance programs can save counselors time and allow them to provide more services and interventions to students (Hardesty & Utesch, 1994), few counselors have been able to consistently implement computers in providing direct interventions. As computer technology becomes increasingly more prevalent in the classroom and in the home, counselors must respond to evolving norms. "If today's students have changed the way they learn, then today's counselors must change the way they communicate" (Casey, 1994, p.34). Technology must facilitate and reflect curricular goals for counselors as well as for teachers in the school environment. Gerler (1995a) emphasized the need for school guidance personnel to become involved in the development of multimedia programs which combine counseling theories with computer-assisted guidance services. "The day is not far away when interactive, developmental school counseling activities will be on-line for students to use" (Gerler, 1995b, p.3). As counselors anticipate that day, the profession must address the issue of how to realistically apply technological developments to a comprehensive school guidance program. Current and Future Trends i n Computer U se for School Conn^iPlnrg According to a national survey conducted in 1994 (Hardesty & Utesch), computers are being used by virtually all school counselors for record-keeping functions and for word-processing. In addition, middle and junior high school counselors often use

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26 computers to deliver career information and for remedial work with students. High school counselors reported that they also use them regularly for provision of information and exploration of post-secondary educational opportunities. Many researchers and writers in the field consider them necessary to any effective career guidance program (Mariani, 1995-96). It has been frequently noted that the hardware and software for comprehensive computer career guidance programs can be very expensive and, unfortunately, it may therefore be difficult to engender support or approval from administrators or school boards. It is essential to note, however, that such costs remain significantly less than the costs of additional staff that might be required to meet the needs of students (Hardesty & Utesch, 1994). As students become more adept with and accustomed to computers in educational settings, counselors can further their impact by utilizing new opportunities for working with students. "Successful motivation of students by school counselors can be enhanced through strategic use of interactive edutainment [a combination of education and entertainment strategies] technologies" (Casey, 1995, p.26). Counselors need to use technology to motivate and stimulate students, but also to demonstrate that school counselors are involved with innovation and educational reform. It is necessary to effectively serve the student body, but also to demonstrate professionalism and vision to the community. Increased integration of computer technology into school guidance curricula means, however, that counselors need continuing education and professional development opportunities regarding the potentials and pitfalls that accompany such innovation. There has been little focus on computer competence in school counselor

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27 training programs, or in counselor education programs in general (Wagner, 1995), although Sonoma State University instituted a course in 1992 entitled "Computer Applications to School Counseling" and the University of Florida School Counseling program has been noted for requiring that students participate in an e-mail network and use the World Wide Web for research and for up-to-date information (Wagner, 1995). Some of the advantages found in using the Internet in school educational programs are to arouse student interest, to allow for rapid and efficient communication among students and teachers, to make available the most current information and resources, to foster the development of relationships with people all over the world, and to facilitate access to experts in all fields through Internet communications (Wagner, 1995). Additional support for the use of computers in educational programs was provided by Casey (1995), who studied the effects of participation in Apple Computer's Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT). He found that the infusion of computer technology mto a high school curriculum led to reduced dropout rates, increased numbers of students attending college, and an increase in the number of full scholarships awarded to participants in the program. Specifically, seniors who participated in the program in 1991 had a 0% dropout rate (as opposed to 30% for nonparticipants), 90% college matriculation (rather than 15% for others), and 33% received full scholarships (compared to a 6% rate for the control group) (Casey, 1995, p.27). New challenges accompany computer utilization in counseling and in the schools. While they may be particularly efficacious in career counseling, several potential problems need to be resolved prior to any implementation. "We cannot afford to turn over any of the personal dimensions of our personal and professional relationships with

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28 clients to machines and fancy tools. Rather, we must find new ways to take advantage of technology in order to have more supportive, insightful, private time with our clients" (Drier, 1990, p.l 1). In order to best serve the needs of our clients and students, we must carefully consider the role computers play in our practices. Several major concerns have been identified regarding computer use in counseling. Carson and Cartwright (1997) have identified three major obstacles to evolving computer systems: the possible resistance of practitioners, confidentiality, and lack of training in counselor education programs. Computer phobia can often be a problem with school counselors who feel undertrained or unfamiliar with computers in general (Lindsay, 1988). Counselors need to involve staff members in planning and implementing new computer fimctions in order to ensure that all staff members have an opportunity to express concerns, requirements, and expectations. It is also essential that the administration provides requisite support and training for new computer utilization, and that administrators share a positive view of the potential of the computer usage. Counselors also have an obligation to maintain contact with those who are using the computer programs, such as students who are exploring college and career options, for the purpose of understanding how the program works and if there are any potentials for misuse or misinterpretation. The problems of staff anxiety and counselor training were recently highlighted by a survey of users of the Florida CHOICES program. CHOICES is a comprehensive computer assisted career guidance (CACG) program which was developed by the State of Florida and is made available to all public schools in the state. Sampson and Norris (1997) discovered a number of problems in the use of CHOICES, including integrating it

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29 into existing career services, training in appropriate use of the program, and staff anxiety and resistance. The survey showed that use of CHOICES varied widely from school to school based on counselor training and attitude as well as factors such as accessibility (the physical location of the computers), perceived strengths and weaknesses of the particular program, and the perception of CACGs in general. Drier (1990) and Lindsay (1988) have also explored ethical and legal issues relating to computer use in counseling and in school guidance in particular. School counselors must be vigilant in their continuing assessment and evaluation of programs in use and of students' interpretations of results. Specifically, covmselors must be aware of individual issues such as personal familiarity with the program, appropriate training in its use, comfort vAth recognizing and resolving conflicts between computer resuhs and counselor guidance, and the ability to assess student readiness to interpret and integrate results into an action plan. In addition, broader ethical issues have yet to be resolved in regard to computer use in school counseling. Confidentiality is of major concern when office computers are used to collect, store, and analyze data about students (Lindsay, 1988). Career, college, and scholarship programs often request personal or financial information from students which could be impossible to protect from others when there is open access to computers. Computer program results are often discussed in a small group setting within the schools, and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in this situation. The crucial conflict between providing easy access to computer programs so that everyone has an opportunity to use them and the consequent inability to ensure confidentiality is yet to be resolved.

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30 The assessment of individual student objectives and maturity is another ethical issue which is complicated by computer use. Counselors must be careful to evaluate the needs of individual students in regard to computer programs rather than encouraging all students to attempt to use the same program. Students must have levels of cognitive functioning, computer literacy, maturity, and evaluative competence that are appropriate for a particular computer experience, and they must have appropriate expectations about what they will learn from the experience. Finally, all students will need opportunities to discuss results with a counselor, preferably in an individual session, and many counselors are concerned that insufficient time will be allotted for this and an over reliance upon computer printouts will take the place of personal contact (Drier, 1990). The ethical problems of integrating computers into school counseling programs are large but not insurmountable. The potential benefits of computerized services as part of a comprehensive guidance program far outweigh the concerns (Lindsay, 1988; Wagner, 1990; Casey, 1995; Edwards, 1995). The crucial task ahead is for school counselors to evaluate their implementation of computer programs on the basis of individual students, the guidance program, and the school community. Gender and Computer Usage Considerable attention has been focused on gender differences in computer use. Hypothesized differences in amount of time spent using computers, interest in using computers, encouragement for computer use, and role models are all areas of concern for females in the schools. Research in computer-based instruction has found lower achievemem for females than for males (Clariana, 1993), and that this might be due to gender-related motivational effects. Nelson and Watson (1990-91) found that there were

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31 no significant sex-typed differences in computer use and attitude in preschool and early elementary years, but that by the third or fourth grade girls were showing less motivation. Computer usage for females continued to decrease throughout high school. Males spend more time in computing activities than do females from preschool on (Nelson & Watson, 1990-91), and this inequity leads to higher achievement for males in computer-based settings and to males having more highly developed skills to take to the job market. By adolescence, girls have been discovered to actually develop a dislike for computer use, while boys continue to increase in computer enjoyment and skills (Nelson & Watson, 1990-91). Females generally do not perceive technological careers as being in their future (Bemhard & Siegal, 1994). A literature review performed by Roblyer, Castine, and King (1988) found little evidence to support the notion that computer applications are more effective with boys than with girls. Females, however, did have less experience in computer applications and less desire for such experience. It is important that females be exposed to computer applications in the schools at an early age if inequities in interest, and consequent inequities in skills brought to the job market in later years, are to be ameliorated (Bemhard & Siegal, 1994). The potential for computer applications at the middle school level is vast in terms of reaching girls when they are developmentally at-risk of retreating from technological opportimities. Applications of Computers in Career Counseling The use of Computer Assisted Career Counseling systems (CACGs) is widespread in many school and university career resource centers. CACGs can substitute for some of counselors' traditional roles such as the assessment of vocational interests, identifying

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32 preferences and alternatives, and providing information, which allows counselors to devote more of their time to helping students and clients resolve conflicting or unrealistic goals, reach decisions, deal with the influence of others, and explore the transition from goals to actual employment (Gati & Fassa, 1997). In short, CACGs can free up counselors' time and energy by taking over some of the routine aspects of career counseling so that they might focus on the personal struggles of individuals trying to make decisions. Career centers are adopting technology in order to help more students more efficiently. General information can be conveyed on-line so that counselors may spend their time with students who need personal attention. Mariani (1995-96) has proposed that computer information delivery systems should be introduced early in the schooling process if the goals of a developmental school guidance program are to be met. They must be integrated into the guidance curriculum prior to high school because student career development commences with awareness, then progresses to planning and preparation, and only then can students begin to focus on the transition to the work place. When students are introduced to CACGs in later high school years, early learning and growth opportunities are lost. Research regarding the effectiveness of CACGs is in school guidance programs is in a seminal state. CACGs have been found to be most usefiil with counselor support and with clients who have high vocational maturity as well as above average intelligence (Palmer & Rowland, 1997), but this study was conducted with adult clients. The research of Sampson, Peterson, and Reardon (1989) suggested that providing counselor intervention before computer use prepares the user for effective and appropriate use of the system, and perhaps allows the counselor to tailor the program to the individual client

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33 needs. Counselor interactions with clients between sections of a CACG provide the opportunity to process information as it is presented, to prepare for future sessions, and to interpret printouts. Post-use interventions allow processing of the experience, and assistance in developing strategies for the future. Niles (1993) conducted a study addressing the question of timing of counselor interventions when CACGs are used. The results indicated that computer use does help in the acquisition of information about self and about career decision making. Students who met with the counselor after computer use experienced less career indecision than the control group, but students who met with the counselor in between computer sessions enjoyed the computer experience more. Counselor intervention at every step is the ideal, but in efforts to conserve counseling resources, intervention after the completion of a CACG program appears to be most beneficial. A literature review conducted by Imel (1996) indicated that the ability to access computer information about careers has been empowering to youth and to adults. A sense of control and self-determination accompanies CACG use which is not necessarily present when individuals receive information in a passive manner. Current Trends in Computer Usage in Career Guidance The earliest computerized career guidance programs were focused on the delivery of information and the matching of careers to stated preferences of the user (Bohn & Super, 1 969). Lists were generated by the computer which paired potential jobs with the user profile. Today's systems have much more to offer, and reach far more people. Over 40 states reported using an official state CIDS (Computer Information Delivery System) and more than 9 million people used these systems at approximately 20,000 sites

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34 throughout the United States in 1994 (Mariani, 1995-96). CIDS generally include an assessment of values, skills and interests, an occupational search, information about specific career paths, and educational information related to career paths. Additional options are being added to reflect changing technology and theory such as on-line orientation to the system, instruction in the career decision-making process, guidance in overcoming barriers to career choice, information on scholarships and financial aid, the capacity to add information specific to a geographic location, and user evaluations of the system. Mariani (1995-96) stressed the need for counselors to be thoroughly conversant with the system they implement and to be cognizant of all its options. It is also beneficial to involve parents and teachers in order to gamer support for system use and expansion. CIDS have been used with virtually all age levels, and approximately 1,250 sites reported their implementation at the elementary school level in 1994 (Mariani, 1995-96). CIDS have also been shown to be an efficient use of counseling center resources because trained volunteers can be involved in overseeing their use. Trained peer helpers have been widely employed in schools and community centers. In Iowa, one school counselor trains 15 to 25 students annually to conduct four one-hour sessions with individuals on a CIDS program, and the training coordinator for the state of Maryland found that in a six month period, 500 of the 1,050 people he instructed were students being trained to serve as peer tutors on the system (Mariani, 1995-96). Adult volunteers can also be utilized effectively for this purpose in school resource centers to allow for extended hours or evening access to CIDS. In 1988, Bloch and Kinnison surveyed principals, coimselors, students, and parents in New York State about uses and perceptions of the state CIDS. All groups

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35 sampled responded favorably to the CIDS process and reported that it was a beneficial experience. "Students were positive about the experiences they had using CIDS. The only difference that emerged by grade level, whether the computerized system helped them learn about making a career decision, may reflect the students' varying degrees of openness to this kind of activity as they move through the high school with the most fertile period for awareness activities being the beginning of high school" (p. 98). This conclusion highlights the continuing importance of counselor evaluation in the implementation of CIDS, as the need for timely teaching and most effective use of these programs require professional judgment on the counselor's part. Bloch and Kinnison (1988) also found that parents were strong sources of support for counseling programs that were involved in soliciting funding for the addition of CIDS to school programs, and that these systems contributed to the familiarity and comfort users felt with computers in general. It is clear from this survey that while CIDS can serve many valuable functions, counselors must be intimately involved at all stages of system implementation, from needs assessment and planning, through evaluation of appropriateness of use, to judgments of effectiveness and public perception. An additional role for counselors in the implementation of CIDS is the consideration of human developmental stages in the use of CIDS. Hedricks and McDaniels (1987) found that the huge amounts of information presented in CIDS can be overwhelming to users, and therefore, the experience and information needed to be broken down into small segments that were more easily accessible to the populations using the programs. For state-based CIDS programs, the primary concerns remain information management, user skills, access to systems, and equity of information and

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36 opportunities (Imel, 1996). Hedricks and McDaniels (1987) presented practical guidelines for addressing these issues and recommended that counselors concentrate on using guidance activities to break CIDS information into smaller segments, educate parents about the systems, use peer counselors, do inservice presentations for teachers regarding integration of career experiences into the classroom, continually assess effectiveness of CIDS for the specific population, and promote the services in schools, youth organizations, community centers, and religious institutions. While there has been a significant amount of discussion about the effectiveness of CACGs and CIDS, the subject of counselor roles in interventions has been relatively neglected. It has been difficult for practitioners to coherently define their place in the provision of these services. Sampson, Peterson, and Reardon (1989) noted that there was a lack of substantive theory to connect counselors, clients, and software in the process of career guidance. If the ultimate aim of CACGs is to foster independence and responsibility in regard to career problem-solving and decision making, CACG designers and implementers must unite the components of student, counselor, and computer. The challenge, therefore, is laid before coimselors. They must prepare more and plan more in order to be effective because they need to evaluate the relationship between counselor skill, student needs and expectations, and system potentials (Sampson, Peterson, and Reardon, 1989). This glaring omission provides an opportunity for today's theorists and practitioners in the field of career counseling, and the situation must be rectified before significant progress can be made.

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37 A Call for Change Sampson and Norris (1997) have identified five patterns of poor CACG use which must be addressed: 1 . using systems as substitute for needed services, 2. failing to connect system use with the counseling process, 3. using systems indiscriminately without attending to the varying needs of clients, 4. allowing systems to proliferate to the point that the staff cannot stay current, and 5. overusing the system as a universal solution to client problems. Further problems become apparent when current and future applications on the Internet are considered. The Internet must be used in educationally appropriate ways, a concerted effort must be made to ensure that software and hardware are kept up-to-date, technological and curricular support must be easily accessible, and problems with the lack of stability, documentation, training, censorship, and quality control must all be monitored (Wagner, 1995). Access to the Internet is a grave concern as well, both for users and counselors. Women are less likely to use the Internet than men, school systems have widely varying resource bases for providing hardware and software for Internet access, and many counselors are in a position of having to train themselves in order to keep up with the rapidly changing medium (Levenson, 1995). Practitioners are entering the field with extremely diverse ranges of comfort, familiarity, and competence in computer use in general, and use of the Internet in particular. Carson and Cartwright (1997) have defined six roles for counselors who use CACGs in order to rectify some of the current deterrents to the implementation of Internet applications in career counseling: 1 . create computerized applications.

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38 2. work with organizations creating computerized applications, 3. collect data for developers of Internet applications and collaborate with them, 4. work with Internet service providers to host on-line forums for real-time interaction with counselors, 5. critique and review Internet-based career interventions, and 6. assess Internet service in relation to minorities. These guidelines are a starting point in efforts to utilize the most advanced technology in the provision of career guidance interventions. If counselors do not become directly involved in the development and implementation of hitemet services, they cannot be confident that innovations will meet the needs of their clients and of the profession as a whole. Hinkelman and Luzzo (1997) have emphasized the need for research and accountability in the implementation of computer applications in career counseling in order to counteract such concerns but, until these needs are met, counselors must struggle to adhere to the limited guidelines which have been delineated thus far. The American Counseling Association (1995) has outlined four specific functions for counselors in regard to computer use. The first is that counselors have an obligation to assess the intellectual, emotional, and physical capability of clients to use the computer system. Counselors must assess the skills that are required of those who would use a particular system. Secondly, the practitioner must ensure that the computer program is appropriate for the needs of the client and will help the client move towards his or her goals. Thirdly, the client must be cognizant of the purpose as well as the operation of the computer application. Finally, the counselor must provide follow-up services which address potential misconceptions, assess subsequent needs, and ascertain whether there was any inappropriate use of the computer program.

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39 It is essential that clients and students be well informed about the limitations of computer programs, and that counselors maintain personal contact throughout the process. Counselors provide the essential step of helping clients to see beyond the printout and to integrate resuhs into personal goals and action plans (Palmer & Rowland, 1997). Computers can gather information and administer and interpret assessments, but most of the real work in coimseling takes place between individuals. The computer is a extension of the counseling relationship, not a replacement for it. Empathy and warmth cannot be delivered by hardware. Career Development Constructs Vocational Self-Concept Holland and Gottfredson (1976) defined a career as a person's vocational aspirations and work history from birth to death. From this definition, it is clear that vocational self-concept is closely tied to, and an integral part of, a person's total selfconcept. Vocational self-concept develops throughout life as a process of mental and physical growth, observations of work, identification with adults at work, and the environment. These are all tempered by an individual's general experiences (Zunker, 1994) and combine to establish a career path which is followed throughout the life span. The majority of individuals have developed the skills and awareness to deal with their vocational problems while maturing, and also have access to environmental resources which will allow them to attain their career goals (Holland, 1974). Most people, therefore, are able to resolve conflicts regarding vocational self-concept with little help beyond accessing accurate information.

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40 Career counseling is often focused on the delivery of accurate, appropriate information. There is a great deal of fact-finding in career guidance, which is appropriate for the majority of students because in this field both facts and feelings are important. The understanding of self and the understanding of vocational opportunities are both based on experience and information. "Choice making is not impulsive; it is the sequential narrowing and specifying of choice options as one translates various psychological and occupational information, whether accurate or not, into a self-concept system and a set of images of how certain educational and occupational alternatives will permit one to implement the self-concept" (Super, 1980, p.20). The process of making choices is founded on receiving and evaluating information from the environment and from personal experience, and on interpreting that information in such a way that vocational self-concept meshes with and reflects total self-concept. Career Maturity Career maturity is a lifelong developmental process which has been defined as an individual's ability to make appropriate, realistic vocational choices ( Levinson, Ohler, Caswell, & Kiewra, 1998). It occurs in stages which are influenced by environmental factors. The stages of career development each have a specific set of tasks, successfial completion of which lead to the development of career maturity (Zunker, 1994). Super conceptualized career maturity as a measure of growth in which an individual is compared to his or her peer group. Career maturity is "the repertoire of coping behavior leading to outcomes, compared with the behavioral repertoire of the peer group, thus making it a developmental rather than an outcome construct" (Super, 1974, p.l 1). At every stage of development, a peer group is dealing with similar tasks and the

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41 individual's appropriate responses to these tasks, when compared to the responses developed by peers, are an indication of vocational maturity. Career assessment and career guidance programs in the school are directly related to this definition. If career maturity is a developmental construct, then assessment can help identify where an individual stands in terms of grov^ when compared to his or her peers. "Following the models, developmental career assessment ascertains the client's knowledge of the stages of occupational careers, of the structure and functioning of the world of work (its opportimities and requirements), and of the principles, processes and data of career decision making. These constitute vital aspects of career maturity" (Super, Osborne, Walsh, Brown, «& Niles, 1992, p.75). Assessment is an integral step in determining the vocational counseling needs of students. Vocational maturity assessment serves two major functions. It has been, and continues to be, a necessary step in providing normative understanding of what to expect from a certain age group, but it also serves a diagnostic function. Both have particular relevance for work in all levels of educational institutions. A comprehensive developmental guidance program must be designed to meet the needs of all students (Myrick, 1995), and normative understanding is essential to appropriate program design at various grade levels. In addition, vocational maturity assessment is used to delineate areas of deficiency in individuals so that remedial services might be provided to them. Research has shown that career maturity can be significantly affected by counseling interventions in the schools. Super and Thompson (1979) found support in early evaluative studies on Super's Career Development Inventory (CDI) which indicated that significant differences did exist between control and experimental groups after

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42 participation in career guidance and counseling programs. They concluded that the CDI was effective in a diagnostic function in that was useful for planning group interventions. Crites' Career Maturity Inventory Attitude Scale (CMI)(1973) has also been widely relied upon in research. Flake, Roach, and Stenning (1975) studied the effects of a career counseling intervention on tenth grade students and found that the intervention provided to students who scored below the mean on the CMI had a significant effect on their level of vocational maturity. "Results indicated that career maturity as a developmental process can be measured and facilitated through counseling" (Flake et al., 1975, p.73). Similar results have been found in a preliminary study on interventions with minority students (Dunn & Veltman, 1989), and a college study focusing on the relationship between goal instability and different modes of presentation of information in relation to career maturity (Robbins & Tucker, 1986). This research indicates that career maturity as a construct has useful applications in school vocational guidance. People must be ready to receive career-related information for effective outcomes of interventions (Butcher, 1982; Super, 1983; Robbins & Tucker, 1986). Earlier work of Super's (1963) suggested that junior high school was the critical time to reach students because choices made at this point could have significant impact on where a student eventually entered the occupational hierarchy. It has been widely assumed that career maturity is heavily influenced by gender, race, and socioeconomic status (Super & Neville, 1984), and research results have been inconclusive in regard to at least one of these attributes. Super and Neville (1984) found little correlation between socioeconomic status and career maturity, as measured by the CDI, and the CDI manual reported negligible differences between genders in grades 9 and

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43 10 and differences significant only on one subscale in grades 1 1 and 12. Westbrook (1991), however, conducted a study of 83 black and 239 white high school students using the CMI and concluded that that there is a need for separate racial and ethnic analyses of career maturity assessment results. Further research is required to shed light on this area of concern. Locus of Control Locus of control is defined as a personality attribute which is based upon an individual's expectancy that reinforcements follow behavior (Rotter, 1975; Marks, 1998). The extent to which a person believes that his or her behavior will bring about desired results is a means of describing their locus of control. People with an internal locus of control believe that their personal efforts will bring them desired reinforcements, while individuals with an external locus of control believe that events which occur in their lives are largely based on outside forces. In other words, individuals with an external locus of control are more likely to attribute events to luck, chance, more powerful others, or other factors in the environment. Locus of control theory is heavily based on social learning theory, in that individuals develop expectancies of reward based on previous experience, perceived similarities with other situations, and observed events in their environments. Rotter (1975, 1990) emphasized the importance of reinforcement or expected reinforcement as a determinant of behavior because the expected results of an action must be valued by the actor. The outcome must be perceived as beneficial if it is to motivate the individual, and if it is to be used to predict behavior. People with an internal locus of control are more likely to change their behavior following negative or positive reinforcement than are

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44 people with an external locus of control, because they believe that their behavior contributed directly to the reinforcement experience. Individuals with an external locus of control, in contrast, are less likely to modify their behavior because they ascribe reinforcement to outside forces such as luck, chance, or other people. Locus of control, therefore, can have a significant effect on how individuals behave. If they expect that their actions or behaviors will lead to a desired response, they are more likely to exert themselves and to succeed at the given task. Individuals who are more externally focused, however, are likely to put forth less effort because results of effort are not seen as being tied to rewards or to reinforcements. In addition, people with an internal locus of control are likely to demonstrate more mature and adaptive vocational identity (Luzzo, Funk, & Strang, 1996). In a study of college students, Luzzo et al. (1996) found that attributional retraining involving a videotaped presentation of college graduates relating career success to persistence increased the career maturity of students with an external locus of control but did not affect those with an internal locus of control. A study involving 200 male high school students found that individuals with an internal locus of control were likely to choose an occupation based on intrinsic influences, while those with an external locus of control were more influenced by chance or good fortune (Cabral & Salomone, 1990). In the academic arena, locus of control can be an important variable in predicting academic achievement. Correlational studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between internal locus of control and academic achievement (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973; McLaughlin & Saccuzzo, 1994; Benham, 1995). Nowicki and Strickland (1973) found that for students in grades 3-12, as achievement scores went up

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45 external scores went down. Students who believe that they are personally responsible for their own success have been found to spend more time on homework, to try longer to solve complex problems, and to get higher grades than do students who are think that reinforcements are beyond their control (Benham, 1995), Many different approaches have been utilized in efforts to affect the locus of control of individuals. If an internal locus of control can be shown to be correlated with higher achievement levels in schools, for example, then interventions designed to move individuals toward a more internal locus of control must be investigated as potential areas for application of locus of control theory. Approaches attempted to date with a variety of populations include those based on reality therapy, rational-emotive therapy, group work, behavior modification, social skills training, and outdoor experiences (Elliott, 1997). Few studies done in school settings have been designed to directly measure effects of counseling interventions or other school programs on locus of control. One computer intervention which was designed to foster increased intemality in elementary school female students was found to increase intemality in equally in males and females, indicating that locus of control can indeed be affected by planned interventions (Bemhard & Siegal, 1994). Another school-based intervention designed to address locus of control was that of Omizo and Omizo (1988). The researchers designed a group counseling intervention for children of divorced families and results of the study indicated that the ten week intervention led to a significantly more internal locus of control in program participants. Locus of control, however, has been criticized as a construct because of potential gender, ethnic, and racial biases in the construct and in instruments designed to measure

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46 it. Culturally different people often feel a greater lack of control over their environment than do culturally dominant people (Dean, 1984). Nowicki and Strickland (1973) address the issue of bias in their initial presentation of the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal External Scale (CNSIE): "Obviously there are a number of complicating variables to consider, including age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status, when investigating a generalized expectancy of reinforcement with children" (p. 12). Research on the correlations between locus of control, ethnicity, gender, and at-risk status has presented inconclusive results. "Individuals reared in a culture that values independence, uniqueness, self-reliant individualism, and personal output of energy are likely to be more internally oriented than individuals fi-om a culture that tends to emphasize a different set of values" (McLaughlin & Saccuzzo, 1997). Locus of control of AfricanAmerican middle school males was found to be affected by class size, whether students had ever been retained a grade, and by socioeconomic status (Davis & Jordan, 1994), while Levin (1992) found no significant relationship between locus of control and gender and ethnicity, but did discover a very significant relationship between being at-risk and an external locus of control. It is difficuh to draw firm conclusions from the research on locus of control. It appears that locus of confrol in children and adolescents is significantly correlated with achievement, and that interventions can be designed to foster a more internal orientation in individuals, but that a more tentative interpretation is needed when factors of race, ethnicity, and gender are considered as well.

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47 Career Decision Making Choosing an occupation is an expression of personal aspirations and values (Havighurst, 1972), and there are three components which are essential to the process. The predictive system is founded upon a person's aptitudes and alternatives, the valuing system is a reflection of one's interests and values, and the decisional system fosters the conversion of choices to a plan of action (Mastie, 1988). There is also an element of chance involved in which the timing of an event, the context of the event, and the individual's developmental status combine to make a chance occurrence relevant or irrelevant in the decisional process (Cabal, 1990). Individuals are most likely to be affected by chance events early in their career paths. Career indecision is often a problem for adolescents because it is correlated with anxiety and identity formation. During adolescence, individuals are struggling with the formation of a personal value system, and career decision making often includes the need to resolve value conflicts. In recent studies, value conflicts were found in one third of people making career decisions (Cochran, 1995), and the values regarding fi-eedom, security, leisure, challenge, and salary were frequently cited by participants. Value conflicts, and the anxiety they provoke, can be instrumental in prompting decision making, however, and are therefore a natural part of human growth and development. Value conflicts can encourage people to gather information, weigh priorities, and strive for a solution. Such conflicts must be acknowledged, understood, and resolved for successful decision making to occur. Research regarding career decision making has demonstrated that growth and development in career maturity can be fostered and enhanced through counseling

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48 interventions. Holland, Gottfredson, and Nafziger (1975) discovered that consistency and differentiation on typology indicators (using the Self Directed Search) predicted scores on a decision making assessment (the Career Maturity Inventory) better than other measurements did. "These outcomes support what most counselors have assumed for many years-people with sharp, well-defined profiles appear to cope with their vocational problems more effectively than people with ill-defined or flat profiles" (Holland et al., 1975, p. 418). The challenge for counselors, in this case, is to encourage self-awareness and exploration of career opportunities in the school setting. Jones (1993) utilized the Career Key (Jones, 1993), which is based on Holland's typology system, and the Career Decision-Making System (Harrington & O'Shea, 1982) with a sample of high school students. While neither instrument was found to significantly increase career exploration behavior, the students reported having gained knowledge about occupations and about themselves, and that they had a clearer vision of possible careers for themselves, hi another study of high school students, King (1989) found that there were gender differences in career decision making factors. For males, career attitudes were related to age in that older students were more ready to make decisions regarding career choices. Females were also affected by chronological mattirity, but more powerful effects were related to the value of family cohesion and to intemal locus of control. This sttidy has important implications for the design of school vocational guidance programs and raises the possibility that readiness for career decision making may be different for males and females. McGowan (1977) performed a study designed to test the effectiveness of the Self Directed Search (SDS) in reducing career anxiety with high school students. Participants

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49 were assessed for anxiety and vocational maturity, using the CMI in a pre/posttest format wdth the resuh that the SDS was found to reduce career indecision for both genders. A similar study performed with college students also used the SDS as an intervention. The predictors employed were the Career Decision Scale (CDS) (Osipow, 1976), the Vocational Identity Scale (VIS)(Holland et al., 1980), and the CMI (Crites, 1978). The results indicated that there was considerable overlap between the CDS and the VIS (correlations of -.65 for men and -.67 for women), and that there was a lack of predictability for men but not for women (Fretz & Leong, 1982). After using the SDS, the greatest change occurred for women who were high in vocational identity. These findings are consistent with a more recent study which found that aduh clients with lowlevel career indecision and low goal instability prefer self-directed inventories (Drummond & Ryan, 1995). The relationship between gender and career decision making is an area that needs to explored through additional research, but findings to date would indicate that career decision making can be affected through coimseling interventions, and that career decision making is an important component of overall career maturity. Career Development Theory as Applied to Adolescence Two major schools of thought about career development are developmental theory, as represented by the work of Donald Super, and differentialist theory, as proposed by John Holland. Super's theory is based on the concept that career development is a life long growth process in which people pass through stages in their definition and practice of a continuous career path. Holland, on the other hand, perceives career development to be an expression of fit between the individual's personality and the

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50 vocational environment. As such, it is an extension of the personality and is affected by continuing incoming information about the self and the workplace. Developmental Theory Super proposed that a career is a sequence of things an individual does throughout the life span which includes preoccupational, occupational, and postoccupational roles, as well as avocational interests and behaviors (Super et al., 1992). A developmental process takes people through specific stages as the self-concept is shaped in each phase of life, and this self-concept affects all behavior, including vocational behavior. A career role is defined by three different components which are the affective aspect of commitment to a vocation, the behavioral aspect of participation in a vocational field, and the cognitive aspect of knowledge and awareness of what a career role entails (Super et al., 1992). In adolescence, these three components can be independent of each other in that students may be committed to an occupation they know little about or have done little to access. Career maturity is a state in which a person has reached a peak of development appropriate for his or her stage of life. Super's developmental theory is broken down into five separate stages (Zunker, 1994): 1. Growth (ages 0-14): growth is characterized by the development of abilities, interests, aptitudes and needs which all contribute to a self-concept. 2. Exploration (15-24): exploration is a tentative phase where occupational choices are narrowed down but not finalized. 3. Establishment (25-44): during this stage the career path is tried and established through work experience. 4. Maintenance (45-64): this is a period of adjustment and improvement of the working position and situation. 5. Decline (65+): decline encompasses preretirement, reduction of the work functions, and retirement.

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51 While everyone passes through these stages in a linear manner, it is clear that career maturity has many different coimotations, depending upon the particular stage in which an individual is situated. For adolescents, Super has identified several important ftmctions and criteria (Super, 1974). Orientation to vocational choice is an attitude of concern and interest in vocational choice. This is an important component of vocational maturity in terms of counseling interventions because students must demonstrate a readiness to explore career issues. Information and planning is a competence dimension of adolescent development because students must possess the skills to find, evaluate, and sort data about potential career paths. Maturity is also characterized by consistency in vocational preference and a narrowing down of options. Crystallization of traits occurs when progress is made towards forming a stable self-concept which is "a cognitive-process period of formulating a general vocational goal through awareness of resources, contingencies, interests, values, and planning for the preferred occupation" (Zunker, 1994, p. 31). Work experience and experimentation lead to vocational independence, and also contribute to reality testing and the assessment of wisdom regarding vocational preferences. Developmental career assessment plays a vital role in Super's theory (Super et al., 1992). It is effective in identifying the focus of a student's career concerns and the developmental tasks which are being confronted. Assessment also identifies the values of importance to the individual in regard to occupations, education, family life, and other roles which impact the vocational decision making process. The evaluation of career maturity and readiness to address career planning and exploration plays another important

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52 role in school career guidance programs because it is essential to the design of appropriate interventions for each developmental stage. Early adolescence is a time of exploration, so much of the vocational guidance process should be designed to foster exploration rather than focusing on the development of specific vocational skills (Super, 1974). This belief is echoed by the work of Havighurst, who stressed that the major developmental task of adolescence is the formation of a healthy identity. This developmental task is determined by a combination of physical maturity and the cultural pressure of societal expectations, as well as by personal values and aspirations (Havighurst, 1972). The interaction of organic and environmental influences lead to the definition of self-concept, and one of the components of self-concept as it is forming during adolescence is the vocational identity. Havighurst stressed the importance of the teachable moment, which is the awareness that there are sensitive or optimal times to master certain developmental tasks (Havighurst, 1972). The concept of an optimal moment for teaching has particular relevance in career counseling with early adolescents, and again highlights the need for assessment of vocational maturity and a thorough understanding of career development theory in order for counselors to be able to work effectively with students. Differentialist Theory Holland's differentialist theory is predicated on the concept that people and work environments can be classified into types. People seek work environments that allow them to express their skills, values, and aptitudes, and allow them to take on roles that are agreeable to them. A person's behavior, therefore, is determined by the interaction between his or her personality and the environment. In this sense, Holland's model is an

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53 organizational one in that people receive and process information about themselves and their envirorunents, but it is also developmental in that people change and grow in their understanding of what they want and what they must do in order to meet their needs (Holland, 1974). Holland perceives people as being active participants in their interactions with their environments. They are motivated by the need to find a comfortable fit in the working world. A person with a relatively stable sense of identity has a clear vision of his or her goals, interests, skills, and potential occupation (Holland, 1996). When this is true, an individual is more likely to find employment that is congruent with his or her personal characteristics. Career choice is a reflection of the personality and a projection of the personality into the work place. The primary purposes of typology theory are to organize, explain, and remediate career difficulties (Holland & Gottfredson, 1976). These goals are particularly relevant in today's changing society. [L]arge proportions of the population must learn to cope with transient and unpredictable work opportimities. Among other things, the need for a sense of personal identity will greatly increase, for the stable employment pictures of the past have greatly reduced the need for personal identity and independent planning. Many people will have to create their own structure for combining incompatible work with a more satisfying social and recreational life. To deal with this need, what has been seen as career counseling may become life counseling, in which work is an important facet of creating a more satisfying life. (Holland, 1996, p.404) More people will be struggling with their career choices as increasing uncertainty in the job market requires increasing adaptability and compromise. Accurate fit in career choice requires knowledge of self and the work environment, and Holland's typology theory categorizes all people into six different

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54 types: realistic, investigative, social, enterprising, and conventional. Work environments also fall into the same categories. The counseling process therefore, usually consists of ascertaining individual characteristics, learning about careers which are an appropriate match and basing the career decision making process on this knowledge. Drummond and Ryan (1995) summarized Holland's six basic principles: 1 . Choice of vocation is an expression of personality. 2. Interest inventories are personality inventories. 3. Vocational stereotypes have important and consistent psychological and sociological meanings. 4. Workers within a vocational field have similar histories of personal development. 5. People within a vocational group react and respond to their environments in similar ways. 6. Vocational satisfaction, stability, and achievement depend on congruence between the individual's personality and the environment in which he or she works. People, therefore, are attracted to a given career by both their individual personalities and their backgrounds. Holland's theory emphasizes the importance of individuals having or finding accurate knowledge about themselves and about the worid of work in order to make satisfying career decisions. Career counseling interventions are clearly important in terms of providing information about self and environment through assessments and in terms of providing resources for exploration of potential fit. School counselors have the opportunity to encourage the development of students through interventions which can stimulate the process of evaluation of self and environment through assessments which have been shown to be effective. Differential theory and developmental theory can be used together to great effect in the school guidance arena. While Holland's theory is primarily descriptive as opposed

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55 to causal or stage-related, it can be an effective underpinning for career interventions and, when appropriately timed to reach students at their moments of peak readiness, can be a powerful stimulant in the developmental process. Social Influences on Adolescent Career Choices Recent research has indicated that adolescents today are in drastic need of gmdance in the career counseling arena. The University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center conducted a five-year study with high school students and discovered that adolescents are often extremely imrealistic about their career aspirations (Olson, 1996). Most young Americans expect to obtain jobs that are both high salary and high status positions. Approximately one-third of the study participants expected to have a professional career. Olson also found that most participants were considering three or four different occupational paths simultaneously, but that these considerations were based on little actual knowledge about the requirements or tasks involved in specific occupations. Although there was an apparent lack of direction about the future among the high school students, those going to college were less affected by a lack of coherent vision of their vocational goals. The students who planned to attend college were not seriously hampered by lack of planning or information, except as course selection in high school had the potential to limit college options. There were some exceptions to the results of this study, and these exceptions point the way to potential solutions to the problem. Students who had been involved in internships during their high school years were much more realistic about their futures. They were well informed about the career paths they were considering and about the requirements of those vocations. In addition, families played a vital role in general

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56 contributing factors of the career decision making process. Families who were supportive and challenging of their offspring produced adolescents who were more secure at school, had higher self-esteem, and who did more homework. These students also were found to have higher grades and to perceive schoolwork as relevant to their future (Olson, 1996). The results of this study clearly reinforce the need for a comprehensive career guidance program in the schools which reaches all students with the information and skill development opportunities necessary to plan effectively for vocational success. Adolescents are strongly influenced by their environment as they learn about themselves and make decisions about their futures. The interface of skills and preferences with cultural, social, and economic influences lead to occupational entry behaviors (Krumboltz, 1976), and a thorough understanding of this interface is necessary to design appropriate learning experiences for developmental career guidance in the schools. The social influences of family, peers, school, religious and cultural organizations, and the extended family can all be important factors in shaping the beliefs, behaviors, and aspirations of teenagers. "The importance of these groups for adolescent career decision making lies in the intermittent powerful messages they send to the adolescent conveying aspects of a general expectation to take the actions necessary to enter productive work roles" (Jepsen, 1989, p.73). Adolescents respond both overtly, with their behavior and verbalizations, and covertly, through private thought and feelings, to the many cues they receive from their environments. It is essential, therefore, that the career guidance process include consideration of the environmental messages students receive, and that students be encouraged to focus on their covert responses as well as their overt reactions. The conflict between external demands and internal personal goals can

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57 be a major cause of career indecision in adolescents, and the analysis of these conflicts may be a powerful learning process that frees the way for resolution and action. The counseling process can be utilized to help students assess their own resources for decision making in terms of information, support, time, and initiative, as well as assessment of how to acquire these things if they are not present. Only through awareness of the multitude of influences on the individual can potential blocks to career development be resolved or averted. The involvement of the parents or guardians in the career exploration process can have great effect on the outcomes. As Olson (1996) noted, supportive and challenging family environments produced individuals who have higher self-esteem, do more homework, and understand the connection between schoolwork and lifework. The importance of parents in providing support for program development and resource acquisition in career guidance in the schools has also been demonstrated (Bloch & Kinnison, 1988), but involving parents or guardians in the actual career decision making process has been shown to be productive as well. "Activities that are planned to inform [parents] of occupational and educational information materials, trends in the world-ofwork, and nontraditional career options for their children will enhance both career development and relationship between home and school" (Hedricks & McDaniels, 1987, p.39). While the process of educating parents and guardians through direct presentations or publications is the norm, using CACGs has been shown to have a powerful effect in the stimulation of dialogue between parents and students. Hedricks and McDaniels (1987) found that 83.9% of students who used Virginia's state CIDS system (Virginia VIEW) were motivated to discuss career opportunities with their parents. This indicates

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58 that a powerful force in the career development process of adolescents has been underestimated, and that further study needs to be done in the area of parent/child dialogue as a result of computer assisted career guidance programs. An essential component of social influence in the career decision making process has been underutilized for too long. It is important to recognize, in addition, that comprehensive career guidance must address issues of stereotype and discrimination in career development. Gender, type of occupation, and prestige continue to be important criteria for decision making in adolescents (Lapan &. Jingeleski, 1992), but career counselors have the opportunity to challenge traditional views of career choice and to stimulate students to think beyond socially defined mores. While barriers to career aspirations exist in many areas, a realistic assessment of these barriers and consideration of strategies to overcome them provide students with the chance to find the best fit between their own skills, values, and goals, and the work environment. Summary With the increasing emphasis being placed on career guidance in the school setting, it is essential that practitioners utilize all potential resources in their efforts to foster development of vocational maturity and decision making skills in students. Career interventions as part of a comprehensive school guidance program have been shown to be effective in promoting growth in young adolescents, and provide an opportunity to explore the world of work as well as to develop personal knowledge and insight. A clear understanding of societal forces and changes are essential to realistic goal setting, and are also essential to long term educational planning. Career guidance interventions can be

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59 invaluable in helping students keep options open for future careers and in developing a sense of vocational identity. These interventions have been supported and facilitated by advances in the technological field. While it is common for school guidance personnel to utilize computers for record-keeping, word processing, and dissemination of career information, new developments in computer applications now make it possible for individuals to access data and take assessments in their free time through guidance centers and through home access on the Internet. School guidance counselors have not, as yet, taken full advantage of this new medium, but the development of distance learning has opened up new opportunities and challenges for the use of the Internet. Theorists have begun exploring the relationship between clients, counselors, and computers, but little progress has been made in terms of a paradigm for practitioners or for researchers. The combination of the developmental school counseling model, career development theory, and recent technological advances on the Internet have yet to be combined in a coherent manner. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a developmental school guidance unit about career development as delivered over the Internet. More specifically, the study examined how a unit delivered over the Internet affected career maturity and locus of control in middle school students.

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN, METHODOLOGY, AND PROCEDURES The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an Intemet-dehvered developmental guidance unit about career exploration on early adolescents. More specifically, the study examined how the unit affected the career maturity and locus of control of sixth grade students. The population and sample, relevant variables, instruments, research design, hypotheses, participant training, developmental guidance unit, procedures, data analyses, and methodological limitations are described in this chapter. Population and Sample The population of the study consisted of all students enrolled in V/estlawn Middle School, a public middle school in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Westlawn is composed of approximately 760 students, all of whom are enrolled in the sixth grade. The Tuscaloosa City School District has been under federal jurisdiction for nearly two decades because of the need for a court-ordered desegregation plan within the city (Elliot, 1999). Westlawn Middle school, therefore, serves as a center for all sixth grade students within the city limits. Population The city of Tuscaloosa is located in west-central Alabama and has a population of approximately 78,000 people. Tuscaloosa County encompasses an area of 1,340 square 60

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61 miles. Tuscaloosa County has a total of 150,000 people, and is composed primarily of the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport (Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce, 1999). The two cities are divided by the Black Warrior River, but are often regarded as a single metropolitan area in terms of economic development. Education, manufacturing, and health care are the primary industries in the county, with the University of Alabama, Goodrich Tire Company, and Mercedes-Benz as the three largest employers in the area (Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Association, 1997). The Tuscaloosa City School District serves a population that is 100% urban, 63% white, and 35% African American (Government Information Sharing Project, 1990). The school district is composed of 1 1 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools which serve a total of 10,133 students in grades K-12 (Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). Approximately 30% of the students enrolled in the city schools live below the poverty level (Government Information Sharing Project, 1990). The racial representation of students in the Tuscaloosa City School District is approximately 32% white, and 68% nonwhite (Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). This disparity between the general population of the city and the racial composition within the city schools is indicative of a "white flight" phenomenon which supports seven independent schools within the county. Westlawn Middle School's student population is approximately 763 students (Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). The student body is composed of 217 white students and 546 nonwhite students, and the students are relatively evenly balanced in terms of gender (49% female and 51% male)(Alabama State Department of Education, 1998). The students at Westlawn are randomly assigned into six teams of equal size.

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62 These teams are then divided into five classes each, and students in each class follow the same daily schedule. The population for the study consisted of all 760 sixth grade students in the Tuscaloosa City School District, all of whom were enrolled at Westlawn Middle School during the 1998-99 school year. These students are primarily urban and primarily racial minority group members, but are evenly split between genders. Sample Students in two of the academic teams were invited to participate in the study. Westlawn' s computer lab was newly equipped with hitemet access as of November 1, 1998. The academic teams invited to participate were those that were scheduled to attend classes in the computer lab during the third six-week marking period of the fall semester of 1998 and the first marking period of the spring semester of 1999. Of the approximately 220 students invited to participate, 1 68 students returned the required parental permission forms and gave their verbal consent, 89 from the experimental group, and 79 from the control group. While random assignment to treatment groups was not possible due to scheduling of the computer lab, random samples were drawn from the students who agreed to participate from the two teams. Fifty students were randomly selected from the experimental group, and 45 students were randomly selected from the control group. Students completed the preand posttest instruments, as well as the eightsession guidance unit for the experimental group, during regularly scheduled class time. Data collection was conducted after obtaining research and participant approval from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (University of Florida Institutional Review Board), the school site principal, counselor, teachers, students, and

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63 Students' parent(s) or legal guardian(s) (see Appendix A for Informed Parental Consent for Study Participation and Student Informed Consent,). Research Design The hypotheses were tested based on the data derived from a randomized pretestposttest control group design (Borg and Gall, 1989), and the method is shown in Table 3.1. The pretest-posttest control group design is appropriate because of its research advantages in terms of minimizing threats to internal validity, including maturation, history, differential selection of subjects, experimental mortality, statistical regression, and interaction (Borg and Gall, 1989). After data collection, hypotheses were tested using an analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA was used to test for significant differences between experimental and control groups, and significant differences between pretest and posttest data. In addition, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to control for differences between control and experimental groups on the pretest of one of the instruments. The group effect was the effect of primary interest, indicating a differential amount of change from the pretest to the posttest between the two groups. Hypotheses There were two dependent measures in this study: career maturity and locus of control. An appropriate test of significance (confidence level of .05) was used to determine whether any measured differences were greater than those attributable to chance alone.

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64 Table 3.1. Summary of Research Design Counselor-Guided Internet Unit (El) R 01,02 XI 03,04 Control Group (E2) R 01,02 X2 03,04 Key to design items R= Random Selection of Students from Groups 01= Pretest of Career Maturity 02= Pretest of Locus of Control 03= Posttest of Career Maturity 04= Posttest of Locus of Control Xl=Counselor-Guided Unit X2= Control Group The following null hypotheses were tested: HOi : There will be no statistically significant difference in career maturity between the two experimental groups, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI). HO2: There will be no statistically significant difference in locus of control between the control group and the experimental group as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE). HO3: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in the career maturity of participants, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the CMI. HO4: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in locus of control of participants as measured by the CNSIE.

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65 Relevant Variables This section describes the independent and dependent variables. Two instruments were delivered both preand postintervention by the researcher: (a) the Career Maturity Inventory (Crites, 1978), and (b) the Children's Nowicki-Strickland hitemal-Extemal control scale (Nowicki 8c Strickland, 1973). This study included one independent variable, the developmental guidance unit or experimental intervention. A control group was also designated. hidependent Variable: The Guidance Unit The developmental guidance unit about career development for middle school students included eight sessions which focused on self-assessment, knowledge of the world of work, career decision making, and educational planning. Selected sections of a commercial program designed for delivery over the Internet, called Career Explorer 98, were used. The unit was developed to enable, interest, and engage students in the process of creating their futures. The imit was outlined in a trainer/facilitator manual (see Appendix B); for an overview of this unit see Figure 3.1. Career Explorer 98 (CX98) was created to provide up-to-date information for students and professionals via Internet delivery of activities, interviews, employment data, and self-assessments. An important component of Career Explorer is the potential for students and professionals to request further information or ask questions of researchers and experts. In this sense, it is a service rather than a static product and truly embraces the interactive potential of the Internet.

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66 Figure 3.1. Session #* Guidance Unit Overview Name of Session Purpose 1 "What's Out There?" To develop a better understanding of oneself and how interests, values, and skills relate to career choice. Tasks: Fill out self-assessments, generate list of jobs that meet each individual's interests, values, and skills, and print out list. 2 "The Fortune Teller" To examine the benefits and problems of leaving life decisions to chance. Tasks: Print "Getting Whatever You Get" Worksheet, visit the fortune teller, fill out worksheet. 3 "Paths of Life" To look at the impact of snap decisions on a life. Tasks: Read, print Snap Decisions Worksheet, do Path of Life activity, complete worksheet. 4 "Life's Little Scenarios" To examine the process of considering others before making life decisions. Tasks: Complete two sets of practice decision making scenarios, fill in worksheet about one's own scenario. 5 "Paths of Life II~ To learn how to consider the future when The Big Picture" making decisions. Tasks: Do Path of Life II activity, complete Path of Life II woiicsheet. 6 "Decisions Decisions" To look at when to make responsible decisions. Tasks: Complete Decisions Decisions worksheet. 7 "Druthers~Yer Little To practice responsible decision making. Town of Decisions" Tasks: Read and respond to 4 out of 8 decision making scenarios, assess and evaluate decisions reached. 8 "The Future is Now" To develop an understanding of the information necessary to the career decision making process. Tasks: Choose 3 careers that interest you from your list from session 1 and research the education and training requirements for each of those careers using the search function of the Career Explorer toolbar. * Each session is designed to take approximately 30 minutes.

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67 Bridges Initiatives, Incorporated, began developing the Career Explorer in 1992 and piloted the program in 1 1 school districts in Canada in 1994. In 1995 it was again piloted in 26 school districts with additional activities and graphic capabilities, based on feedback and requests from the original pilot study. It was introduced in the United States in 1996. The growth of the program has been rapid in response to market demand, and it is currently in use in over 2500 schools in the United States and Canada. Marion County, Florida has recently leased Career Explorer for all seven of its high schools and Orange County, Florida has already implemented CX98 in all of its middle schools. The student section of the Career Explorer program is composed of five sections: the Career Research Tool, the Career Planning Guide, the Decision Making Guide, College Databases, and the Student Survey. In addition, the tool bar includes links to search engines, browsers, daily news articles, e-mail for requests or comments, and a locker to store personal selections and activities. In the current study, students in the experimental group spent one 30 to 40 minute session completing the Career Research Tool assessments and generating a list of possible careers that might meet their needs and interests. The assessments include values, skills, interests, and personal style measures. The lists generated after completion of these measures are designed to be comprehensive and diverse in an effort to encourage students to think creatively and broadly about their fiitures, according to Bridges, Inc., Founder and CEO, Doug Manning (personal correspondence, 1998). Every career on the list is linked to descriptions, interviews with people in that field, decision making exercises, and employment and educational prospects.

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68 The students then spent six 30 to 40 minute sessions completing the Decision Making Guide. This section consists of an introduction to responsible decision making followed by six task cards or activities designed to teach students about the need for responsible decision making and the steps of responsible decision making, and then to provide practice scenarios. Each session was preceded by a brief description of the purpose of the activity, as well as any review or backgroimd information that might be relevant to the current task. The final session of the study was a culminating activity in which the students used the generated list of career possibilities to explore the educational and training requirements of at least three occupations of interest to them from their list. The students therefore reviewed their assessments and list from the first session, applied the decision making principles of the Decision Making Guide, and planned options for their vocational ftitures. Leader Training The CX98 guidance unit was delivered to the experimental group by an Alabama state-certified middle school teacher with seven years of teaching experience in the Tuscaloosa City School System. She is also a counselor-in-training at the University of Alabama who has a strong background in school developmental guidance theory and practice. The guidance intervention leader spent three one-hour sessions with the principle researcher exploring the Career Explorer program in general and learning the eightsession unit. She also delivered the unit in a pilot study to fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students to familiarize herself with the program. She and the principle researcher made

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69 minor adjustments to the program in response to the pilot participants' observations, comments, and suggestions. Dependent Variables: The Instruments The instruments used were the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (Crites, 1995), and the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). The Career Maturity Inventory The Career Maturity Inventory (CMI) (Crites, 1995) measures career choice attitudes and competence of adolescents in grades 6-12. It was constructed with a reading level between fifth and sixth grades (Crites, 1995). It is divided into an Attitude Scale and a Competence Test with five subtests. The recommended uses of the CMI are in studying career development, screening for career immaturity, evaluating career education, assessing guidance needs, and testing in career counseling for work with individuals (Crites, 1995). For the purposes of the current study, only the Attitude Scale was used. The Attitude Scale consists of 25 questions which are presented in a dichotomous format, with responses of "agree" or "disagree". It requires approximately 10 minutes to complete. Group norms are provided by grade level, with raw scores being converted to either standard scores or percentile rank. Research support for the use of the CMI is voluminous. Crites (1978) reported internal consistency reliabilities (Kuder-Richardson 20) ranging fi'om .73 to .90, and an estimated test-retest reliability of .71 for earlier versions of the CMI Attitude Scale. The Attitude Scale scores rise with grade level and are somewhat correlated with intelligence

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70 measures and classroom performance. The recent revision of the Attitude Scale of the CMI was intended to reduce administration and testing time as well as to eliminate subscales (Levinson, Ohler, Caswell, & Kiewa, 1998). No new reliability or validity data are provided for the 1995 revision of the CMI, but Crites (1995) reported that reliability is the same for the revision as for the previous versions of the CMI because the items were directly selected from the earlier versions. Several studies conducted in the middle and high schools have demonstrated that career maturity, as measured by the CMI Attitude Scale, can be affected by career interventions. Omvig, Tulloch, and Thomas (1975) found significant improvement in the CMI results of students in grades 6 and 8 after a career education program, as did Yates, Johnson, and Johnson (1979) in their work with junior high students, and Flake, Roach, and Stenning's (1975) high school population. Yates, et al. (1979) found that students in an experimental group improved significantly in the development of positive attitudes regarding exploration of career choices and entering the world of work. Palmo (1983) found that three subscales of the WAIS, vocabulary, information and similarities, accounted for a significant amovmt of variance in the CMI in a study done with disadvantaged youth. Khan and Alvi (1983) worked with a sample of 272 students and reported that CMI scores correlated with educational and occupational aspirations, self-estimates of general ability and classroom performance, parents' educational level, and parents' aspirations for their children. The researchers suggested that a close relationship exists between educational development and vocational development (Alvi & Khan, 1983).

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71 In addition to intelligence test scores and grade level, gender has also been found to be a significant predictor of CMI Attitude Scale scores (Adelstein & Webster, 1979; Neely, 1980; Chodzinsky, 1983). Adelstein and Webster (1979) conducted a longitudinal study from 1964 to 1969 of all the junior and senior high schools in Cedar Rapids and found a significant main effect for sex, while Neely (1980) concluded that girls' attitudes toward the process of career choice matures at a faster rate than that of their male counterparts every year after seventh grade. Additional research is needed to clarify this issue, but the usefiilness of the Attitude Scale of the CMI has been demonstrated repeatedly for a full two decades. While there is disagreement about the validity of the competence subtests of the CMI, the Attitude Scale is widely held to serve its purpose effectively and to be of great use in the study and assessment of adolescent career development, as well as in the evaluation of career guidance interventions. The Children's Nowicki-Strickland Intemal-Extemal Scale The Children's Nowicki-Strickland Intemal-Extemal Scale (CNSIE) was designed to measure locus of control as a construct based on measurements of individuals' perceptions of behavioral reinforcement being either extemal or internal (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). The instrument consists of 40 items which are answered by responding "yes" or "no" to the given statement. The items describe reinforcement situations in both interpersonal and motivational areas. The items are readable at a fifth grade level (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). Estimates of intemal consistency for the CNSIE were reported as .68 for grades six through eight, using the split-half method corrected by the Spearman-Brown formula

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72 (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). Test-retest reliability was measured as .66 at the seventh grade level, with retesting occurring six weeks after the initial administration of the measure (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). Nowicki and Strickland also reported (1973) that several studies had found significant correlations between an internal locus of control and various measures of achievement, but not between an internal locus of control and intelligence. Gifted children have been found to have higher internal locus of control than do nongifted children (McLaughlin & Saccuzzo, 1997). In addition, for subjects of low socioeconomic status, higher externality was noted. Davis and Jordan (1994) researched social influences on the locus of control of African American male eighth grade students, and discovered that student absences, grade retention, socioeconomic backgroimd, and prior learning all had a significant effect upon locus of control levels. A recent literature review of current locus of control research (Marks, 1998) concluded that sociocultural influences, cultural differences, socioeconomic status, and cultural identity all impact locus of control measures, and the author cautions readers against assuming that an internal locus of control is more desirable or more mature than an external locus of control. Bemhard and Siegel (1994) discovered that a computer intervention with children did increase intemality of both males and females, but did not increase the intemality of females more than of males, as the researchers had predicted. The CNSIE has been extensively used in locus of control research for more than two decades, and has remained one of the most consistently utilized instruments in the field. While valid concerns have been raised about interpretation of locus of control

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73 measures as they relate to race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, the CNSIE has contributed greatly to the growing body of knowledge regarding these pressing issues. Research Procedures The researcher conducted a review of professional literature to elucidate relevant variables and precedents in previous research studies. After securing permission from the Westlawn Middle School and the University of Florida, the training manual was produced, the training procedures were developed and implemented, and the students were invited to participate. Upon consultation with the staff at Westlawn and the guidance unit service provider, a timetable was determined and a schedule composed of five periods a day, twice a week, was designed. The study began in November, 1998, continuing for six weeks of the school year which corresponds to one marking period, and was completed in December, 1998. The materials required participants to use a computer, read, assimilate information, and write. A statistical test of significance was used to determine whether the observed relationships were likely to have occurred by chance (Shavelson, 1988).

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74 Table 3.2. Summary of Procedures and Time Table Week Procedures 1 Selection Process: Leader Training Call for subjects, obtain permission and informed consent Random selection from groups 2 Organize treatment groups Administer pretests 3-6 Conduct sessions 1-8 of Internet Career Counseling Unit Meet weekly with counselor/teacher 7 Administer posttests Posttreatment: Data collection and analysis Report to leaders, IRB, subjects

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CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH FINDINGS The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a developmental guidance unit on career counseling for sixth grade students. More specifically, the study examined the effects on career maturity and locus of control of a five-week career exploration program delivered over the Internet. Participants were sixth grade students in the public school system in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The career counseling unit was adapted from Career Explorer 98, a commercial program designed by Bridges, Inc. of Vancouver, Canada. This chapter will examine the research findings by presenting the outcome testing for each research hypothesis featured in the study. Data were collected on 95 sixth grade students from one school, as Tuscaloosa City schools are organized into single grade middle school campuses. The experimental and control groups were examined on two variables, career maturity and locus of control, and the relationship between gender and treatment was investigated. Four separate analyses of variance were performed, one for each dependent variable and two for gender effects on the dependent variables. Each hypothesis was tested at the .05 level of confidence and used the F score and accompanying p value. Career Maturity Career maturity is defined as an individual's readiness and ability to make appropriate career choices, and the construct includes the concept that progressive, 75

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76 positive change occurs as individuals explore various career opportunities in their lives (Levinson, Ohler, Caswell, &, Kiewra, 1998). For the present study, the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI) was used (Crites, 1995), which consists of 25 items addressing one's perception of career opportunities and choices. The instrument is composed of dichotomous response choices (i.e., agree or disagree) with higher cumulative scores representing higher measures of career maturity. The highest possible score was 25, and the lowest possible score was 0. HOi : There will be no statistically significant difference in career maturity between the two experimental groups, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI). As illustrated in Table 4.1, within group means varied less than 1 point. Students in the control group achieved a group mean score of 12.89 on the pretest (SD=3.65) and 13.00 on the posttest (SD=3.63). Students in the experimental group achieved a group mean score of 14.48 (SD=3.33) on the pretest and a group mean score of 14.83 (SD=3.75) on the posttest. An examination of the preand posttest and group sources of variance resulting from the ANOVA for the CMI (Table 4.2) revealed a p value of .029 on the pretest with an F value of 4.94, and a p value of .027 on the posttest with an F value of 5. 1 0. Because of the statistically significant difference between the control and experimental groups on the CMI pretest, an analysis of covariance was performed, with the CMI pretest serving as the covariate (Table 4.3). The ANCOVA examination of CMI pretest covariance resulted in a p value of 0.00 and an F value of 58.30, indicating that the covariate relationship between pretest and posttest results of the CMI was significant, while the

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77 Table 4. 1 . Mean Scores by Group and by Gender VARIABLE Control Group N X SD Experimental Group N X SD Females N X SD Males N X SD Career Maturity Inventory Pretest 45 12.89 3.65 50 14.48 3.33 51 14.47 2.97 44 12.86 3.99 Posttest 42 13.00 3.63 41 14.83 3.75 47 14.68 3.66 36 12.89 3.75 Difference +0.11 +0.35 +0.21 +0.03 Nowicki-Strickland Scale Pretest 45 15.98 4.47 50 15.58 4.49 51 15.63 4.65 44 15.93 4.28 Posttest 42 14.76 4.42 43 16.12 5.02 47 15.23 4.36 38 15.71 5.24 Difference -1.22 +0.54 -0.40 -0.22 between group results of the ANCOVA revealed a E.value of 0.33 with an F value of .94. These findings suggest that there was no statistically significant group effect at the .05 level of confidence. Therefore, the null hypothesis relating to differences in career maturity between groups was not rejected.

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78 Table 4.2. Summary Table for Analyses of Variance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Group (N=95) Source of Variance df SS Mean Square F P CMI Pretest (N=95) Between groups 1 59.96 59.96 4.94 .029* Within groups 93 1128.92 12.14 CMI Posttest (N-83) Between groups 1 69.42 69.42 5.09 .027* Within groups 81 1103.80 13.62 * Statistically significant at the .05 level . Table 4.3. Summary Table for Analysis of Coyariance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Group (N=83) Source of Variance df Type III Mean F P SS Square CMI Pretest 1 465.32 267.37 58.32 .00 Between groups 1 7.53 7.53 .94 .33 Within groups 80 638.49 7,98 Locus of Control Locus of control refers to feelings about personal control over events and outcomes in one's life (Rotter, 1975). This construct was defined by the researcher for the purposes of this study as the perception that choice and action on the part of the individual affect desired outcomes (internal locus of control) or do not affect desired outcomes (external locus of control). Control may be attributed to chance, luck, more powerful others, or peers and family members in the case of more externally focused individuals. Locus of control was measured by the Children's Nowdcki-Strickland Internal External Scale (CNSIE) (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). The CNSIE consists of 40 statements requiring a response of "agree" or "disagree." A lower score on the CNSIE

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79 indicated a more internal locus of control on the part of the participant, while a higher score indicated a greater external locus of control. The maximum possible score (indicating the highest level of externality) was 40; the minimum possible score (indicating the highest level of intemality) was 0. HO2: There will be no statistically significant difference in locus of control between the control group and the experimental group as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE). As illustrated in Table 4.1, group means between preand posttests demonstrated little variation. Students in the control group achieved a group mean score of 15.98 on the pretest (SD=4.47) and 14.76 on the posttest (SD=^4.42). Students in the experimental group achieved a pretest group mean score of 15.58 (SD=4.49) and a posttest score of 16.12 (SD=5.02). An examination of the preand posttest sources of variance and F (1 .74) and g (.19) values suggested that there was no statistically significant group effect at the .05 level of confidence (Table 4.4). Therefore, the null hypothesis regarding differences between groups in locus of control was not rejected. Gender and Career Maturity The interaction between gender and career maturity is one that has been only superficially examined for the age group of participants of this study. While gender is being increasingly scrutinized as a factor of various measures of maturity, little attention has been paid to differential effects of career guidance programs on students by gender. The current study was composed of 95 students, 50 in the experimental group and 45 in the control group. Of the 50 students in the experimental group, 26 were female and 24

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80 Table 4.4. Summary Table for Analysis of Variance for the Children's NowickiStrickland Internal-External Scale by Group (N=85) Source of Variance df SS Mean F P Square Between groups 1 38.97 38.97 1.74 .19 Within groups 83 1858.04 22.39 were male (Table 4.1), while the control group was composed of 25 females and 20 males. HO3: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in the career maturity of participants, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inyentory (CMI). Gender means for the pretest of the CMI, as illustrated in Table 4.1, evidenced a 1.61 point difference between females and males, with female students achieying a mean score of 14.47 (SD=2.97) and males achieving a mean score of 12.86 (SD=3.99). Gender means for the CMI posttest results revealed means of 14.68 (SD=3.66) for female participants and 12.89 (SD=3.75) for males in the study. Resuhs of a one-way analysis of variance indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between males and females on the preand posttest group means for the CMI. The CMI pretest resulted in an F value of 5.03, with a p value of .03 (Table 4.5), and the posttest resulted in an F value of 4.78 with a p value of .03. For both preand posttest group means, females scored significantly higher on career maturity than did males. Therefore the null hypothesis relating to variance in CMI scores based on gender was rejected.

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81 bv Gender Source of Variance df SS Mean Square F P CMI Pretest (N=95) Between groups 1 60.99 60.99 5.03 .027* Within groups 93 1127.89 12.13 CMIPosttest (N=83) Between groups 1 Within groups 8 1 65.46 1107.77 65.46 13.68 4.78 .032* Further investigation using a factorial analysis of variance was performed in order to determine whether a secondary interaction effect existed between group and gender on the CMI preand posttest results. For the CMI Attitude Scale pretest, an F value of 0.00 resulted, with a p value of .97 (Table 4.6) and for the CMI, posttest results were an F value of 0. 1 0, with a p value of .75. Therefore, neither finding was significant, and no interaction effect between group and gender for the CMI Attitude Scale was discovered. Gender and Locus of Control The norming groups for the CNSIE locus of control scale have been reported as being composed of 45 males and 43 females at the sixth grade level (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). In the current study, the gender composition was 26 females and 24 males in the experimental group, with 25 females and 20 males in the control group. Group means by gender (Table 4. 1) differed fi-om the norming group on both the preand posttest measures. The norming group achieved mean scores of 13.73 for males and 13.32 for females, while the participants in the current study achieved mean scores of 15.93 (pretest) and 15.71 (posttest) for males and 15.62 (pretest) and 15.23 (posttest) for

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82 Table 4.6. Summary Table for Factorial Analyses of Variance for the Career Maturity Inventory by Group and Gender Source of Variance df Type III Mean F P SS Square CMI Pretest rN=95) Group 1 64.18 64.18 5.41 .021* Gender 1 65.35 65.35 5.59 .020* Group* Gender 1 1.23 1.23 .001 .974 Error 91 1063.45 11.69 CMI Posttest (N=83) Group 1 67.07 67.07 5.12 .026* Gender 1 67.07 67.07 5.12 .026* Group* Gender 1 1.36 1.36 .10 .75 Error 79 1035.55 13.11 * Statistically significant at the .05 level. females. This finding indicates the possibility that the participants in the current study were more externally focused in their perception of behavior reinforcements than were the original group used to establish norms. HO4: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in locus of control of participants as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale. As shown in Table 4. 1 , there was a differential of less than one point between females and males on gender means for both pretest and posttests of the CNSIE in the current study. The pretest mean for females was 15.63 (SD=4.65) and for males was 1 5.93 (SD=4.28). In the posttest resuhs, very little change had occurred, with females achieving a mean score of 15.23 (SD=4.36) and males achieving a mean score of 15.71 (SD=5.23). Results of a one-way analysis of variance indicated that the F value for the gender means on the CNSIE pretest was 0. 1 1 , with a e value of .74 (Table 4.7), and the ANOVA

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83 results for the posttest were an F value of 0.21 and a g value of .65. Therefore, the hypothesis concerning the difference between genders on the Children's NowickiStrickland Internal-External Scale was not rejected. Analyses of group mean scores for the experimental and control conditions were conducted. No significant differences were found between groups in career maturity or in locus of control. Further analyses were performed to ascertain whether gender contributed to differential results for career maturity and locus of control. Significant differences were found between males and females in career maturity, both on the pretest and posttest mean achievement levels, with female participants receiving higher scores. Based on these analyses of data, null hypotheses relating differential changes in career maturity, (HOi), and locus of control, (HO2), to experimental group were not rejected. Null hypotheses relating to differential gender means on career maturity (HO3) and locus of control (HO4) scales were also tested, with HO3 being rejected as the female mean was significantly higher than the mean for males on both the pretest and the posttest for career maturity. No significant interaction effect for gender by group was observed, however. Chapter 5 contains the summary, conclusions, limitations, and recommendations for the present study.

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84 Table 4.7. Summary Table for Analyses of Variance for the Children's NowickiStrickland Internal-External Scale by Gender OUUIvC Ui V allallCC U.X IViCall Square T7 r p CNSIE Pretest (N=95) Between groups 1 2.19 2.19 .11 .74 Within groups 93 1870.72 20.12 CNSIE Posttest (N=85) Between groups 1 Within groups 8 1 4.77 1107.77 4.77 13.68 .21 .65

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CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Summary This study was designed to investigate the effects of a career guidance unit delivered over the Internet. More specifically, the researcher investigated the effects of a guidance unit on the career maturity and locus of control of sixth grade students. Ninetyfive students were randomly selected from two groups, one of which was scheduled for daily computer classes using the Internet, and one of which was scheduled for another enrichment class. The control group was selected because they were scheduled to be assigned to the computer classes in the next marking term, and therefore would be able to participate in the Internet career unit as a delayed treatment condition. Approximately 87% of participants completed all preand posttest assessments. The career counseling unit was adapted from Career Explorer 98, a commercial service available to schools on a yearly lease basis. Career Explorer 98 (CX98) is a comprehensive service composed of classroom lessons, individual exploration programs, professional development programs in career counseling for school guidance personnel and teachers, responsive services for individuals, and links to career information, colleges, technical training programs, and scholarships in the World Wide Web. The unit presented in this study was composed of individual interest assessments and self85

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86 evaluation, career decision making activities, exploration of potential careers and educational opportunities, and, finally, a narrowing down of options to three areas of particular interest for each individual participant. A preand posttest randomized control group design was used. Instruments administered consisted of the Career Maturity Inventory Attitude Scale (Crites, 1995), and the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973). In addition, a survey designed to assess participant satisfaction and perception of usefulness was administered to the experimental group at the conclusion of the intervention. Data analyses consisting of analyses of variance were used to test the four hypotheses, and further investigation of results included factorial ANOVAs designed to assess potential interaction effects, and an ANCOVA designed to control for differences between control and experimental group results on pretests. No significant differences in career maturity or locus of control were found between the experimental and control groups based on participation in the intervention. Consequently, this on-line career guidance unit is not recommended for use with the current population. Results The four major hypotheses were tested using analyses of variance. No statistically significant differences were found for main treatment effect based on group data on either of the dependent variables. While significant differences were found

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87 between genders on one of the dependent variables, further investigation did not support the possibility of an interaction effect between gender and group. HOi : There will be no statistically significant difference in career maturity between the two experimental groups, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI). The results of data analyses for the preand posttest results on the Career Maturity Inventory Attitude Scale indicated significant differences between groups on the pretest and posttest assessments of career maturity of participants. Because the control and experimental groups were significantly different on the pretest results of the CMI, the use of an analysis of covariance using the pretest CMI results as a covariant for the posttest between group results was indicated. No statistically significant differences were found between control and experimental groups based on the ANCOVA results, indicating that there was no differential career maturity change based on program participation. The first null hypothesis was not rejected. HO2: There will be no statistically significant difference in locus of control between the control group and the experimental group as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale (CNSIE). An analysis of variance was performed to assess change over time in locus of control for the control and experimental groups. No statistically significant differences were found to have occurred in between-group comparison based on the ANOVA of Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale results. Locus of control was not found to have changed differentially based on participation in the intervention. The results failed to support a rejection of Hypothesis 2.

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88 HO3: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in the career maturity of participants, as measured by the Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory. Initial examination of the two groups by gender indicated that female students scored significantly higher on the CMI Attitude scale than did male students. This was true for both the pretest and posttest results. Hypothesis 3 was therefore rejected. Further investigation into potential interaction effects of gender X treatment group using a factorial ANOVA did not indicate a statistically significant interaction between gender and group for career maturity. HO4: There will be no statistically significant difference between genders in locus of control of participants as measured by the Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale. An analysis of variance between groups for locus of control, as measured by the CNSIE, did not indicate significant differences between genders on either the pretest or the posttest. There was very little variation between genders in the results of preand posttest scores by group. Consequently, hypothesis 4 was not rejected. Limitations Several limitations to the current study were evident in an examination of the procedures used and in the treatment conditions. While every attempt was made to ensure equality of comparison groups given the fact that random assignment to groups was not possible, significant differences between groups in regard to career maturity were evident in the pretest results. It is difficult to ascertain how this might have affected intervention effects.

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89 In addition, there was variation between class sections of the experimental group in numbers of participants per period. This meant that in some classes the students had access to their own computers while, in others, students had to share computers. As locus of control theory indicates computers are most potentially usetul in that individuals feel that they are personally taking charge and finding relevant information for themselves (Bemhard & Siegal, 1994), having individual control over the computer and over information sought could be an important factor in locus of control development. As students were randomly chosen from the five sections which completed the intervention, there was no attempt made to control for individual versus shared computer use as a potential threat to experimental outcomes. There were some unplanned schedule changes on the part of the participating school as well. The initial research design was based on a five-week administration of the eight counseling sessions and the preand posttest data collection, with the program being administered twice a week. The computer lab being used in the study was just being connected to the Internet, however, and technical problems forced the delay of the intervention by one week. In addition, there was a school-wide field trip in the last week of the program which had not been on the academic schedule, with the result that the final guidance session and the posttest administration took place two days before the students had final exams, and four days before school went on vacation. Proximity to exams and to vacation might have proven to be a distracting factor on the posttest performance of the experimental group. A further complicating factor is the fact that the control group posttest administration took place the end of the week before, and this might have been a source of variance between the groups.

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90 A fourth limitation to the study was the fact that the reading level of the CX98 program had been designed and determined to be for the sixth grade, yet students and the computer teacher both mentioned that the reading involved in the program seemed to be more challenging than the students were used to encountering. As a result, they frequently requested help and interpretation from the program administrator, which might have lessened the effect of finding and using information from the Internet which would be geared to their own personal needs. Participants' experience of regulating their own learning and controlling the flow and scope of information might have been hampered by this need for more adult input than had been anticipated by the researcher. It is possible that exploration of the dependent variable locus of control was confounded by the need for more support and interaction between participants and adults based on the vocabulary used in the intervention. Implications The current study provided little support for using this particular adaptation of CX98 with sixth grade students. The lack of statistically significant differential change between groups indicated that students did not benefit substantially in terms of the dependent variable constructs of career maturity and locus of control based on their participation in the intervention. Several important points, however, emerged from the research process. Continuing emphasis on the use of computers in the schools indicates that there is a growing need for this type of research. Computers are being integrated into the curricula throughout the country, and guidance programs are no exception. Specifying

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91 the procedures and quantifying results from this study have helped to point the way for future research in Internet applications in school guidance programs. Several problems emerged in the research process, primarily revolving around the technology. Internet access went dovm several times in the course of the study, and support mechanisms were often found to be wanting in terms of response time. This problem was not unique to this school or this lab, but pointed to the need for addition resources to be allocated to the training of school personnel on site. The fact that the computer lab was in its first days meant that problems which were actually rather minor required support at the district level, and therefore necessitated lengthy delays for repair. While this is not a problem specific to the current study, guidance staff needs to receive additional training in computer use if computers are going to play an important part in the provision of counseling services. The successfiil completion of the CX98 unit during the course of this study was an example of responsiveness to government mandates regarding career development and regarding computers in the schools. President Clinton has made computer provision, training, and integration a priority for his administration, and the School-toWork Initiative Act of 1992 emphasizes the need for students to receive practical instruction that is consistently related to future job skills and career awareness. Accountability in school guidance and counseling is an additional priority both in the profession and in the community. The Career Explorer program is currently being used in over 2,500 schools in the United States and Canada, but no research had been done on its effectiveness. In addition, no efforts have been made to systematically ascertain how the program is being used in various settings and with various constituencies. Given the comprehensive scope

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92 of the offerings of CX, it was important to provide concrete structure and definition in terms of creating and evaluating a focused guidance unit. The recent changes in expectation for developmental school guidance and counseling regarding career guidance, accountability, and computer services necessitate a move to more clearly delineated and evaluated programs of this sort. It is important to note that the use of the Internet to deliver a career counseling intervention involved the successful integration of personnel not traditionally associated with guidance services. Developmental guidance and counseling theory stresses the fact that all school employees should be involved in the provision of guidance interventions (Myrick, 1995), and that guidance should be incorporated into the classroom and into all subject matter. In the case of this experiment, guidance lessons were integrated into the computer classroom, were used as a mechanism for teaching computer skills, and have been continued by the computer instructor after the end of the study. Other Findings A survey was completed by students in the experimental group upon completion of the career exploration unit (see Appendix C). Students completed a 10-question assessment which was composed of eight statements regarding the guidance unit. The response format was a 5 point Likert-type scale in which 1 corresponded to "strongly agree" and 5 corresponded to "strongly disagree." The final two questions were of an open-response format in which students were asked to provide information concerning what they liked and did not like about CX98. Seventy-seven students completed the survey, and students were informed that their responses were anonymous.

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93 The mean score of responses to the first question ("Career Explorer helped me learn about different jobs") was 1.93, with 66% of students reporting that they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, while only 5% responded with disagree or strongly disagree. The statements with the next highest mean responses (2.09 and 2.13, respectively) were "Career Explorer helped me learn about what I need to do to enter specific jobs," and "Career Explorer helped me decide what kinds of jobs I might be good at." The mean results to other items were in the 2.19 to 2.56 range, with the lowest mean of 2.56 in response to the fifth statement, "Career Explorer was enjoyable." Participant responses to the survey, therefore, can be considered to be quite positive in terms of general information regarding vocations and in terms of gaining knowledge about personally or individually relevant factors in career exploration. Responses to the open ended questions varied a great deal. They ranged from "I loved it all," to "It did not help me decide what I wanted to do or anything about jobs I like." The majority of written replies were favorable about the program and focused on learning about specific jobs of interest to individual participants. Examples included: "We could pick different jobs that we want to do [and] because of that I really know what to do to get that job;" "it taught me about jobs and what the future would be like if I took one of the jobs;" and "we got to make our own decisions." Negative responses tended to focus on the fact that students did not find it very exciting, it took away time from other things they wanted to work on, or they did not find the jobs about which they wanted to know. Some examples include: "It was boring and didn't have the job I wanted;" "it took up time I needed to use doing my essay;" and "we didn't do enough research on jobs and that's what I thought it would be."

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94 Overall, the surveys provide support for the fact that the career exploration intervention was positively received in many ways. While the data analyses of experimental results indicated that no significant changes occurred in the career maturity or locus of control of participating students, the students themselves found the program to be useful in terms of learning about specific jobs, about entry requirements for specific occupations, and about how their ovm interests and skills help define the careers that might be appropriate for them. Recommendations While the results of this study did not produce evidence of change in participants' career maturity or locus of control, several fruitful avenues for additional research emerged from the project. The addition of a third experimental group that could complete the career intervention independently from home or school computers might emphasize the potential for locus of control to be affected by the CX98 intervention. Locus of control has been shown to be positively affected by computer interventions, and a third treatment condition in which students take part in the intervention independently, as opposed to this study's classroom, counselor-led situation, might allow for more personal exploration and relevance. A similar CX98 intervention is currently being implemented by the Florida High School, an on-line high school which serves the needs of high school students throughout the State of Florida. No research has been performed to date on the efficacy of the intervention with the Florida High School's independent learners, but the process indicates that the capability exists for students to complete the CX98 career guidance unit under less directive circumstances. Replicating the current study with a third treatment group could shed light on the potential differential effects of

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95 CX98 on students completing the unit under teacher-led conditions as compared to students who complete the unit independently. A second area that appears worthy of further investigation is the implementation of the current career guidance intervention with older grade levels. As indicated from the current study, significant direction, interpretation, and support was needed for the sixth grade participants to complete the unit despite the reported reading level. The process of conducting further research with eighth or ninth grade students might elicit evidence of more treatment effect if the more mature students have an opportunity to accomplish the intervention without as much direct assistance. Such students might benefit from the experience of creating and directing their own growth process as they explore career concerns and information utilizing the Internet. Another factor which might benefit from ftirther examination is the effect of an Internet-delivered career intervention when the students begin the program with the same level of computer and Internet familiarity and comfort. The students were at varying levels of skill in the current study, ranging from never having been on the Internet to several hours a day of surfing at home. Consequently, some students felt rushed or uncomfortable with the format of service provision while others were impatient with having to wait for instruction regarding the Internet. Future research might be able to better isolate the dependent variables if all participants have had a common level of computer training. The current study examined the effects of a career guidance intervention delivered over the Internet to sixth grade students. This topic is a vital area for exploration as technology continues to be integrated into the school setting with startling rapidity.

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While the contributions of computers in the classroom and in education in general have been widely documented, many current uses of the Internet as an educational tool have yet to be empirically supported as being pedagogically effective. In the counseling and guidance arena this is particularly true. Career guidance and school-to-work programs are receiving increasing attention at the local, state, and national levels, and there is a dire need for vocational services to be provided more efficiently and more effectively. All programs which allow for resources to be distributed evenly and widely will benefit our students and will allow counselors in the schools to design the most efficacious programs possible.

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APPENDIX A PERMISSION

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Dear Parent or Guardian, I am a faculty member at the University of Alabama and a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida. I am conducting a study of a career exploration program for Westlawn students. The purpose of this study is to compare the students' career maturity and decision making before and after participation in a career guidance unit delivered on the Internet. Students participating in the study may develop better understanding of career opportunities and how to achieve their career goals. In addition, the study may help educators learn to use the Internet in a way that will be most helpfiil to students. One half of the students who participate will have computer activities presented by a teacher and school counselor-in-training and one half will complete the career program at the beginning of the next semester. The guidance program consists of eight 30 minute sessions which have been drawn from Career Explorer 98, an Internet program designed to provide career counseling information and activities for students, counselors, and teachers. Career Explorer 98 is a commercial program that is being used in over 2000 schools in the United States and Canada. Students will be asked to complete the sessions in school during a six week period as part of regularly scheduled instruction in the computer laboratory. Students will also be asked to fill out two short forms at the beginning and at end of the study, each of which takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. All participants are free to skip any questions they do not want to answer. Students names will not be used in the study and results will be reported only for group data. We hope that all students choose to participate because the process should be both educational and ftin, but participation or non-participation in this project will not affect students' grades in any way. Students who do not participate will work independently on other material while the forms are being completed. You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your child's participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks to the participants. No compensation is offered for participation. Group results will be available in March upon request to the researcher. If you have any questions about this research project, please contact me at 348-2302 or my faculty supervisor. Dr. Myrick, at (352) 392-0731, ext. 233. Questions or concerns about research participants' rights may be directed to the UFIRB office. University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville FL 32611,(352)392-0433. Thank you, Laura S. Pedersen I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give consent for my child, , to participate in Laura Pedersen' s study of career guidance on the Internet. Parent / Guardian Date Second Parent / Witness Date 98

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99 Participant Assent Script My name is Laura Pedersen and I am a faculty member at the University of Alabama and a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida in the Counselor Education Department, working under the supervision of Dr. Bob Myrick. I am studying the effects of an on-line career exploration program for middle school students. Students participating in the study will be asked to spend 30 minutes, two days a week for six weeks completing the on-line program which consists of activities and information about career options and career decision making. If you agree to participate, you will be able to complete these activities in school during your regular class time. In addition, you will be asked to complete two short forms at the beginning and end of the program. Participation in this study will not affect your grade in any way and you are free to withdraw from the study or skip questions at any time. If you are willing to participate in this study, please raise your hand.

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APPENDIX B GUIDANCE UNIT MANUAL

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Lesson Plans Session 1-What's Out There? Purpose: To assess personal interests, values, and style. Outcomes: 1. Students will define personal characteristics. 2. Students will identify potential careers. Materials and Prep Access to a computer lab which features Bridges' Career Research Tool. A classroom set of What's Out There worksheet. Folder for each student to store worksheets throughout the module. Introductory Activity Lecture/Discussion: Explain that the purpose of career exploration is to identify possibilities and to begin planning what needs to be done to keep future options open, rather than to define and commit to one specific career path. Introduce CX98 as a tool to help students think about their futures while doing some fun activities. Development Activities Career Research Tool Take students through the self-assessments and generate personal lists of career options. Have them read the entire list, then fill out the worksheet. Career Exploration Let students read about various careers as they click on items on their lists to explore the range of information they can access with CX98. 101

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102 Name: What's Out There Worksheet Please write down five careers fi-om your list that look interesting to you, and give one reason that you like the sounds of each one. 1 . Career: It is interesting to me because 2. Career: It is interesting to me because 3. Career: It is interesting to me because 4. Career: It is interesting to me because 5. Career: . It is interesting to me because One career that I was surprised to find on my list was because

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103 Session 2~ Fortune Teller Purpose: To examine making No Decision about your future. Outcomes: 1 .Students will state an opinion about life with no choices — you never have to be responsible! 2. Students will define the four key aspects that must be managed in a • person's career. 3. Students will identify the advantages and disadvantages of having decisions about your life made for you. Materials and Prep Access to a computer lab, featuring Bridges' Decision Making Guide. A classroom set of the worksheet Getting Whatever You Get. Introductory Activity Lecture/Discussion: Tell students that the word 'career' doesn't mean what it used to. It used to mean 'work'; now it means anything you do in your life. Tell them there are four main aspects to a career. They are: Work Recreation Relationships Lifelong Learning ~ This is important! It is the source of vitality, energy, enthusiasm, personal growth Throughout life, you have to manage these four things, because you can't do all of them well. (You can probably do about two-and-a-half of them well!) Tell students that because we can't have everything we want in these four areas, we have to make decisions. Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to make decisions? If you never make any choices, you're not responsible for anything. Tell students that the next exercise is designed to see what it would be like if a Fortune Teller gave you your future and you wouldn't have to decide a thing! Development Activities Fortune Teller Take students through the Fortune Teller activity (Task Card 1). In a whole class discussion, ask students to identify good things about the lifestyle they've been given. Ask them to identify problems. Getting Whatever You Get Have students discuss the questions of this worksheet in class. Ask them how many are happy with the lifestyle that the Fortune Teller gave them. Once a group discussion is finished, have them complete their written answers on the worksheet. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Inifiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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Name: Getting Whatever You Get Worksheet 1 . Your life was decided for you in the Fortune Teller's room. Your life features are: 2. Identify at least three advantages to letting chance decide your life for you. 3. Identify at least three disadvantages to letting chance decide your life for you. 4. The first step in responsible decision-making is Identify Your Choices. The Fortune Teller did not let you consider options your choices were made for you. Would you rather make your own choices or have someone do it for you? Explain your answer. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges hiitiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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105 Session 3~Paths of Life Purpose: To examine the impact of Snap Decisions on a life. Outcomes: 1. Students will define several benefits of and problems with snap decisions. 2. Students will explain why snap decisions are more common than responsible decisions. 3. Students will relate personal needs, interests, and skills to the process of making decisions. Materials and Prep Access to a computer lab with Bridges Initiatives' Decision Making Guide. Look over the process of the Paths of Life exercise. Some students will have questions about some of the choices the SECOND time they go through it. If you have resources to help them get an answer, bring those resources to class. A classroom set of the worksheet Snap Decisions. Introductory Activity Tell students that last time we looked at the decision-making style of No Decision -a style that is preferred by some people who either don't want responsibility or don't care what happens to their life. Today, we will examine a second decision-making style Snap Decisions. Remind them of the definition. Ask students to identify snap decisions they made in the past 24 hours for example, what shirt to wear, what TV show to watch, what person to phone. Inform them that many life situafions are best dealt with by a snap decision. Today's acfivity will examine the benefits and problems of snap decision-making. Development Activities Paths of Life Let students play with Task Card 2 in the Decision Making Guide. Inform them there will be a class discussion today, after they have completed the Snap Decisions Worksheet. Class Discussion Ask each student which career they ended up with the FIRST time they went through the activity. Repeat the exercise with the SECOND career they ended up in ~ when they took a little time to think of their needs, interests and skills before they decided. Finally, ask who preferred their second to their first career. Ask why they preferred the one they did. Focus on student opinions from question four of the Snap Decisions Worksheet. Hopefiilly, they will conclude that snap decisions only satisfy immediate wants and needs, and that a different decision-making style is required for effective future planning' Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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106 Name: Snap Decisions Worksheet Snap Path: Self Path: 1 . What is good about making snap decisions? 2. What is good about taking time to make decisions that satisfy your needs, interests, and skills? 3. The second step in responsible decision-making is to think about what's best for you now. However, most people find snap decisions easier than taking time to think about what's best for them. Do you think it's better to plan your future with snap decisions? Explain your answer. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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107 Session 4~Life's Little Scenarios Purpose: To learn the process for considering others when you make a decision. Outcomes: 1. Students will be able to discuss how decisions can impact other people. 2. Students will be able to make decisions that take into consideration other people's points-of-view. 3. Students will use a personal example to demonstrate an understanding of the responsible decision-making process. Materials and Prep Access to a computer lab featuring the Bridges Initiatives' Decision Making Guide. Introductory Activity Review the four aspects of life work, recreation, relationships, learning -with your class. Remind them there are three ways we make decisions about these things in life: No Decision, Snap Decisions, and Responsible Decisions. In the past two lessons, we have examined no decision and snap decisions. In the next four lessons, we will examine responsible decision-making, the most difficult and most rewarding form of making choices. Outline the five steps of responsible decision-making: 1 . Identify your choices There are always more solutions than the obvious ones. Start by building yourself a good list of choices. 2. What's best for you now? If you only thought of yourself and 'right now', which of the choices is your favorite? 3. Consider others What point-of-view will other people have about your various decisions? 4. Consider your future What is the best choice for your future, or which one has the best possible future benefits? 5. Make a choice and go for it Once you have identified some choices, and considered the future and social implications of each choice, pick one and just do it. If you learn along the way that another choice would be better, it's okay to change your mind.

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108 Review each step briefly with your students, as outlined above. Development Activities Life's Little Scenarios ~ Part A Ask students to complete the first three scenarios, each time identifying the choice they would make and then looking at what really happened. You may choose to do these as a whole class activity, asking their opinions one scenario at a time. Life's Little Scenarios ~ Part B Ask students to use the first three steps of the responsible decision-making process to come up with solutions to the last three scenarios. You may choose to do these scenarios one at a time, working in small groups to develop choices, state personal pointsof-view, and predict the perspectives of others. Reflective Learning My Own Little Scenario Each student individually uses a personal example to demonstrate an understanding of the responsible decision-making process. Their assignment should be titled My Own Little Scenario. It should include a brief outline of a personal decision-making dilemma, at least five different solutions to the problem, a paragraph outlining a personal preference, a paragraph outlining the perspective of other important people in their life, and a final paragraph summarizing which decision they will ~ or did ~ choose, and why. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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109 Name: My Own Little Scenario My Personal Decision: Five Different Solutions to the Personal Decision 1. 2. 3.

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110 4. 5. My Preferred Solution The Perspective of Others What I Will Do (or Did) and Why Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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Ill Session 5Paths of Life II -The Big Picture Purpose: To learn the process of considering your future when making decisions. Outcomes: 1. Students will explain how future goals can make decisions easier. 2.Students will identify several ways to predict the future implications of important decisions. 3. Students will identify decisions they will make to achieve at least two future career goals. Materials and Prep You'll need access to the Paths of Life activity you used in Lesson Three. Each student will require a copy of the Paths of Life Map. Each student will need a Paths of Life II The Big Picture Worksheet. Introductory Activity Ask students to explain the phrase "I'm here for a good time, not a long time." Ask what the benefits and problems are to living your life like that. You may also want to use "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die." Tell an "It seemed like a good idea at the time" story, one from your own life where you made a decision -or non-decision -that turned out to be not-so-good down the road. Ask students if they have one to tell. Perhaps you'd like to recall the story of Pandora's Box. Explain that a responsible decision-maker thinks about the future implications of decisions before making them. Today's lesson deals with how to do that! Development Activities Paths of Life II The Map Inform students that we will be repeating the Paths of Life activity from a couple of lessons ago. The difference is, this time they'll have a map to help guide them. (Handout map). Do an overview of the 16 careers in the activity. Encourage them to make decisions this time with a map to guide them. Inform them they will be asked to comment on the differences they notice between decision-making with a map and decision-making with no direction at all. Paths of Life II ~ The Big Picture Let students take part in the Paths of Life activity again. Encourage them to explore around the different pathways they can see on the map. Paths of Life II ~ The Worksheet Distribute the worksheet and ask students to complete it. After 15 minutes, review student responses to questions 1 and 2. Be sure to emphasize that decisions are more hkely to have long-term gains if they are made with a future and a present perspective in mind. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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112 + Physics > Geophysicist + Bachelor of | I Science + Biology > Geneticist High School + Total Learning + 4Year I UniverIsity I Program + Bachelor of | + Psychology — > Child Psychologist Arts + 2-Year Technical Program + Computer + Computer | Systems I Tech I Diploma + English > News Reporter ~> Systems Analyst Management + Computer > Architectural I Assisted Technician I Drafting I I + Radiology — -> X-Ray Technician + Health Tech | Diploma + Medical > Lab Technician Lab Tech + Travel, > Travel Counselor + Work for | Tourism + Full Time | someone Full Pay I else Work I + Banking -> Cash Services Representative I + Start new — > Entrepreneur + Work for I business yourself + Invent > Inventor Something new + Work and | + Building — > Electrician Learning | + Apprentice1 + Combined | ship + Technology —> Automotive Work and | Program Technician Learning | I + Business > Tax Accountant + Cooperative | Admin. Education | + Environmental > Water Quality Studies Technologist Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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113 Name: Decision Making Guide 1 . Most people find it easier to make decisions when it is clear what the future results of your choices are. This is when some kind of life map is useful. Why does a future goal help people to make decisions? 2. Make a snap decision on each of the following choices. Then add a future goal that would cause you to change your mind. For example, should you study for a science test or watch TV? You choose to watch TV. A goal of becoming a veterinarian would change your decision. a. Enter an apprenticeship program or university? What future goal would change your decision? b. Travel to Europe after graduation or stay in town with your boyfriend or girlfriend? What future goal would change your decision? c. Take a full-time summer job at a fastfood restaurant or work 20 hours per week in the summer working at the hospital? What future goal would change your decision? d. Do work you love, living away from the ocean or do work you hate, living near the ocean? What future goal would change your decision?

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114 e. Make $40 an hour living in Japan or $8 an hour living in your own country? What future goal would change your decision? 3. Name two of your future goals ~ in work, recreation, relationships, and/or learning. List 10 decisions you will have to make to achieve those goals five for each one. Goal 1: Decision 1 : Decision 2: Decision 3 : Decision 4: Decision 5: Goal 2:

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115 Decision 1 : Decision 2: Decision 3: Decision 4: Decision 5: Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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116 Session 6 — Responsible Decision-Making — Getting Ready Purpose: To develop the ability to choose when to use skills for responsible decision-making. Outcomes: 1. Students will sort life decisions into three sections: No Decision, Snap Decision and Responsible Decision. 2. Students will identify situations ~ in work, recreation, relationships, and learning when good responsible decision-making skills will be an asset. Materials and Prep A copy of the worksheet Decisions, Decisions for every student. Introductory Activity Review the five steps of responsible decision-making with the students, and ensure they each understand the process. Inform them that you can't always be making RESPONSIBLE decisions ~ there's no time! Lots of decisions are small and just part of the day. No decision or snap decisions are perfect for many situations ~ either you don't care (go for a no decision) or you care but there's no real concerns about the future or others (use a snap decision). Today's lesson looks at being selective when you decide to make a big deal out of deciding. Development Activities Decisions Decisions Distribute a copy of Decisions Decisions to each student. Ask them to sort the 36 decision points into one of three categories: a No Decision, a Snap Decision or a Responsible Decision. When students complete the sorting individually, groups of four or five should complete the second half identifying life activities that they all agree should fit into a category. After 15 minutes of group work, ask students to summarize what they agreed to. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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117 Name: Decisions Decisions Worksheet A) Decision Points Who you will marry What time to wake up Buy a house or rent Oranges or apples Go on a blind date Quit school or stay Which movie to see What courses you take What to do on the weekend Whether to get a dog What bank to keep your $$$ in How many TVs in the house What type of work you will do Buy house or live in apartment When/where to do homework What time to get home at night Who you will vote for How many kids you will have Learn computer skills Lie to get out of trouble Route you take to school Spelling practice or watch TV What shoes to wear What city to live in How to cut your hair Start smoking with friends Get a tattoo When to do laundry Which shampoo to use Paper or plastic bags Take a second language Steal some money Go on a diet When to brush your teeth Type of post-secondary training Where and when you travel B) Individual Choices No Decision Snap Decision Responsible Decision Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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118 Session 7 Druthers ~ Yer Little Town of Decisions Purpose: To practice using the responsible decision-making process in a variety of life scenarios. Outcomes: 1 .Students will demonstrate responsible decision-making skills in at least four scenarios. 2. Students will assess the decision-making process followed by others in written scenarios. 3. Students will identify their strengths and weaknesses in the responsible decision-making process. Materials and Prep A copy of one Making Decisions situation, provided to each member of the class (from the Druthers exercise). Access to the Making Decisions articles that are part of the Druthers exercise, either in a computer lab or in text form. Two copies of the Decision Assessment for each student. Introductory Activitv Review the three types of decisions. Review the five steps of a responsible decision. As a classroom activity, hand out a sample Making Decisions situation. Read out the situation to the class. Take the class through the responsible decision-making process to come up with a class solution to the scenario. Development Activities Druthers Tell students there are millions of decisions made every day. Inform them that most require no great thought that simple No Decision or Snap Decisions will do. Others deserve more thought. The Druthers exercise will provide them with a variety of responsible decision-making scenarios. Tell them their job is to resolve each problem responsibly. Ask each student to read four Making Decisions scenarios from the Druthers exercise. In each case, they imagine what they would do, following the responsible decision-making process. Decision Assessment Each student selects two situations and evaluates them, according to the Decision Assessment worksheet. In the top comer, students identify the most responsible decision of the two they assessed. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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119 Druthers ~ Yer Little Town of Decisions Dane's World When Dane was 1 8-months-old, his mother was killed in a car accident. His father raised him with the help of his own mother, who lived with them for short periods of time while Dane was small. Robert, the dad, found himself not wanting to impose limits on Dane, not wanting to cause him added pain or unhappiness. When Dane appeared to lose interest in school and developed an abiding interest in the guitar, Robert let it ride. He was happy that Dane had found something important to him and glad the teenager devoted time to music classes and practice. Unfortunately, homework and assignments, hockey and soccer were no longer interesting. Rock and roll and his garage band buddies were all that compelled Dane. When he was 16 and doing Grade 10 again, he came to his dad and said he wanted to drop out of school, a place he rarely went anyway. He promised to keep up his music lessons and to look for part-time work. He was really a pretty good musician, who practiced and wrote his own songs. What would you do with the rock and roll kid? 1. Let him quit school and take up music full time? 2. Put your foot down and insist he finish school? 3. Other. To find out what Robert did, click here. Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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120 Decision Assessment Worksheet Set the scene: Describe the choice that has to be made. 1 . Identify at least three choices the person can make in forming their decision. 2. In your opinion, what is the best immediately-satisfying choice for the person? 3. How will the choices impact other important people in the situation? 4. How will the choices impact the person's future? 5. In your opinion, did the person make a responsible decision in the story that you read? If yes, why? If no, what was the most responsible decision that could have been made? Copyright © 1994-8 The Bridges Initiatives Inc. All rights reserved.

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121 Session 8~The Future is Now Purpose: To apply decision making skills to personal career lists from Session 1. Outcomes: 1. Students will identify the 5 steps of responsible decision making. 2. Students will be able to prioritize three careers of personal interest. 3. Students will define education, training, job outlook, and average salaries for their top three choices. Materials and Prep Access to CX98 Search Function. Completed What's Out There worksheet from Session 1. The Future is Now worksheet. Introductory Activity Brief review of responsible decision making process. Development Activities Search Have students use the Search function of the CX98 student toolbar to investigate careers that interest them from their list. Encourage them to follow the links to interviews, communication and math problems, and decision making examples for each career. Students should then fill out The Future is Now worksheet.

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The Future is Now Worksheet Name: First Choice Career: Education or Training: Outlook: Salary: Second Choice Career: Education or Training: Outlook: Salary: Third Choice Career: Education or Training: Outlook: Salary:

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APPENDIX C POSTASSESSMENT SURVEY

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Career Explorer Survey Please help us evaluate the Career Explorer Program by answering the following questions. Circle the number that shows your opinion. Strongly Not Agree Agree Sure Strongly Disagree Disagree 1 . Career Explorer helped me learn about different jobs. 2. Career Explorer helped me learn about what I need to do to enter specific jobs. 3. Career Explorer was enjoyable. 4. Career Explorer made me feel more comfortable using computers. 5. The information I got from Career Explorer was useful. 6. Using the Internet to find information about my ftiture was easy with Career Explorer. 7. I know more about what I need to do in school to prepare for future jobs. 8. Career Explorer helped me decide what kinds of jobs I might be good at. 2 2 4 4 5 5 9. What I liked about Career Explorer was: 10. What I didn't like about Career Explorer was: 124

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Laura Spirstone Pedersen was bom in Buffalo, New York, in 1 960, the daughter of Norman Amo Pedersen, Jr., and Isabel Braham Pedersen. Laura graduated in 1978 from Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut, before matriculating at Amherst College. She double majored in Psychology and Sociology, and earned her bachelor's degree in 1982. After three years of working as an admissions counselor and high school coach, she earned a M.Ed, in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University in 1986. The next eight years were spent working with middleand high-school students in a variety of roles, including teaching psychology, sociology, humanities, and world history, coaching lacrosse, termis, and basketball, and serving as a guidance counselor. Her final position before enrolling in the Ph.D. program in counselor education at the University Florida was director of guidance and college counseling at Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Florida. Laura is currently an instructor at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she is teaching in the counselor education program, teaching both core course requirements and school guidance and counseling specialty classes. 134

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I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fliUy adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Robert D. Myrick, Chait Professor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. ^ ^ Larry Q/Loesch Professor of Counselor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. M. Harry Dani^ Professor of Co\ms^lor Education I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. M. David Miller Professor of Foundations of Education This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. May 1999 Dean, College of ^ucation Dean, Graduate School