VOCATIONAL STUDENTS' ENGAGEMENT AND CAREER OBJECTIVES: ASSESSMENT OF ENGAGEMENT PROCESSES IN NEW VOCATIONAL STUDENTS
The case-study was designed to identify the processes of engagement in learning of students when they first transferred from their academic schools to a vocational school. The students were periodically assessed over the course of a school year to determine whether their processes of engagement were affected by their placements in the vocational program and the students' selected 'career choices'. Researchers indicated the necessity for student engagement in to ensure a positive learning environment. There were strong correlations in the literature between the students' academic successes and their higher levels of student-initiated, active engagement.
Two objectives were obtained in the study. The first objective was to understand what processes of engagement students have from their perspectives as learners, and specifically, what the term 'student engagement' meant to them. The second objective was to determine if there was a correlation between the students' processes of engagement and their placements in the vocational schools.
There had been increased placements of students in vocational schools who have educationally disadvantages, learning disabilities, or students who were classified as /'at-risk' for graduation from high school. The interviews of the new vocational students provided information about the reasons for the students' placements in vocational programs, the students' interests and career goals, and how hands on learning and work-based experiences affected the students' academic achievements and career preparations.
Interviews of the vocational teachers from the study school contained the teachers' perceptions about the students' processes of engagement and other relevant issues about the backgrounds of students who entered the vocational education school. Synergistic and antagonistic perspectives were identified between the students' and the vocational teachers' about students' processes of engagement and other considerations related to current vocational education policies. These perspectives were considered relevant to the planning and implementation of vocational education initiatives in the future.
Advisor:Richard Secklinger, Emeritus Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies; Charles Gorman, Emeritus Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies; Maureen McClure, Associate Professor, Adminstrative and Policy Studies
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:administrative and policy studies
Date of Publication:06/27/2007