STUDENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF A PROGRAM FOR EXPLORING POSTSECONDARY OPTIONS by ProQuest

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									               AmericAn secondAry educAtion 38(3) summer 2010



  students’ PercePtions oF A ProgrAm For
     exPloring PostsecondAry oPtions

Author

   sAndrA A. deemer, Ph.d., is an Associate Professor at Millersville Univer-
   sity in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

   melissA ostrowski is a School Counselor with Penn Manor School District
   in Millersville, Pennsylvania.



ABstrAct
   This paper focuses on findings from the first wave of a longitudinal study in-
   vestigating high school students’ perceptions and behaviors as they engage
   in a graduation project focused on exploring postsecondary options. Stu-
   dents (n=157) completed surveys regarding their achievement goals, sense
   of belongingness and career exploration endeavors. A subsample of these
   students (n=45) also participated in focus group interviews. Results indi-
   cate that students’ goal emphases reflect attributes associated with mastery
   and performance goal orientations. In addition, students reported feeling
   favorably about the school and being engaged in the graduation project
   in meaningful ways, yet identified a need for additional explanation and
   support. Implications for secondary teachers and school counselors are
   discussed.




introduction
   Many educators in secondary settings understand the need to help students
   engage in meaningful career exploration and to foster positive beliefs and
   behaviors in students that will lead to success in future workplace and/or
   college settings. Not only do educators perceive these needs, they often feel
   the intense pressure to meet these demands because mandates related to
   them are implied in the accountability measures stipulated in the No Child
   Left Behind Act.


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                   AmericAn secondAry educAtion 38(3) summer 2010
students’ PercePtions oF A ProgrAm For exPloring PostsecondAry oPtions   deemer, ostrowski


           For example, in Pennsylvania and many other states, educators are ex-
     pected to not only have students meet adequate yearly progress on state
     assessments, but they are also now expected by state requirements to en-
     gage students in long-term graduation projects that demonstrate students’
     capabilities to use critical thinking and problem solving skills as they plan
     for their future. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education
     (2006), the economic future of the state depends on having citizens who
     can contribute to a “…rapidly changing workplace and the demand for con-
     tinuous learning and innovation…” (p.3). In order to help develop this civic
     responsibility and capacity in today’s students, high school personnel must
     work together and respo
								
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