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Ecological factors affecting Hispanic urban middle school and high school adolescents' college and career aspirations

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Judy Ann Hostrup
Abstract:
This mixed methods study investigates how ecological factors influence the decisions urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents make concerning their college and career aspirations. I examine the academic aspirations, career aspirations, the influence of peers, teachers, and parents of seventh-, eighth-, ninth-, and tenth-grade urban Hispanic adolescents, and gender roles in college and career aspirations through the lens of Bronfenbrenner's ecological subsystems theory. Participants took the Student Career Assessment (SCA) survey consisting of Likert-type multiple choice questions and open-ended questions to assess their college and career aspirations. Quantitatively analyzed data examined the extent urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents were influenced by items on scales of encouragement, literacy, and education and whether there were differences by gender and grade level. Student responses as to why they chose a specific career were analyzed qualitatively. Combined results for urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents show a) both genders are interested in finishing high school and going to college, b) Hispanic females are encouraged more than males to pursue their college and career aspirations, c) more females than males know their career aspiration, but the majority of students do not know how to prepare for their chosen career, e) females have more confidence in their literacy skills than males. The more confidence Hispanic high school students have in their literacy skills, the more likely they are to graduate from high school. Implications for future research should involve conducting studies in the areas of college and career aspirations of urban Hispanic adolescents using random sampling. More gender studies involving the college and career aspirations of urban Hispanic adolescents would significantly add to the current body of knowledge.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page ABSTRACT.............................................................................................................. iii DEDICATION.......................................................................................................... v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS......................................................................................... vi TABLE OF CONTENTS.......................................................................................... vii LIST OF TABLES.................................................................................................... x CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION............................................................................. 1 Theoretical Framework..................................................................... 6 Bronfenbrenner’s Five Subsystems....................................... 7 Purpose of the Study......................................................................... 8 Research Questions........................................................................... 10 Definition of Terms........................................................................... 10 Summary........................................................................................... 11 Limitations of the Study.................................................................... 12

II REVIEW OF RESEARCH............................................................... 14

Discussion of Tables......................................................................... 14

III METHODS........................................................................................ 29

Participants........................................................................................ 29 Middle Schools.................................................................................. 30 Middle School A................................................................... 30 Middle School B.................................................................... 31 Middle School C.................................................................... 31 High Schools..................................................................................... 31 High School A....................................................................... 31 High School B....................................................................... 32 Middle School Students.................................................................... 32 High School Students........................................................................ 34

viii

CHAPTER Page

Instrument.......................................................................................... 35 Section on Student Demographics........................................ 36 Section on High School and College..................................... 36 Section on Career and Education.......................................... 37 Section on Open-Ended Questions........................................ 38 Procedure........................................................................................... 38 Data Collection...................................................................... 38 Scoring and Coding of Instrument........................................ 39 Factor Analysis...................................................................... 40 Score Reliability.................................................................... 40 Data Analysis.................................................................................... 42 Quantitative........................................................................... 42 Qualitative............................................................................. 43

IV RESULTS.......................................................................................... 44

Results Related to Middle School Students...................................... 44 Results Related to Research Question One....................................... 50 Results Related to Research Question Two...................................... 51 Results Related to Research Question Three.................................... 59 Results Related to Research Question Four...................................... 64 Results Related to Hispanic High School Students........................... 67 Results Related to Research Question One....................................... 71 Results Related to Research Question Two...................................... 72 Results Related to Research Question Three.................................... 80 Results Related to Research Question Four...................................... 83

V SUMMARY, IMPLICATIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS................ 86

Discussion of Findings for Urban Middle School

Hispanic Adolescents ............ ............................................................ 86 Discussion of Findings for Urban High School

Hispanic Adolescents ............ ............................................................ 89 Discussion of Findi ngs from Middle School

and High School Data ............ ........................................................... 90 Implications for Research Literature................................................. 94 Implications for Practice................................................................... 98 Implications for Future Research...................................................... 99 Conclusions.......................................................................................100

REFERENCES..........................................................................................................103

ix

Page

APPENDIX A...........................................................................................................108

APPENDIX B ...........................................................................................................111

VITA.........................................................................................................................113

x

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE Page

1 Summary of Studies on A cademic Aspirations, Career Aspirations, Parents, Peers, and Teachers’ Encouragement and Gender Roles in Career Aspirations........................................... 15

2 Comparison of College and Career Aspiration Studies of Hispanic Middle School a nd High School Adolescents.................... 18

3 Chronological Map of College & Career Aspiration Studies Based on Gender Differences of Hispanic Middle School and High School Adolescents.................................................................. 19

4 Reliabilities of Scale Scores.............................................................. 41

5 Demographics of Middle School Adolescents.................................. 45

6 Middle School Adolescent Ethnicity Demographics........................ 47

7 Demographics of Hispanic Middle School Adolescents................... 48

8 Hispanic Middle School Adol escent Program Enrollment............... 49

9 Hispanic Middle School Adoles cents’ College Aspirations............. 50

10 Hispanic Middle School Adol escents’ Common Career Choices (Percentages)..................................................................................... 52

11 Hispanic Male Middle School Adolescents’ Responses to “I like this career because . . .”.......................................................... 54

12 Hispanic Female Middle School Adolescents’ Responses to “I like this career because . . .”.......................................................... 55

13 Hispanic Middle School Adolescents’ Steps to Prepare for Career........................................................................................... 58

xi

TABLE Page

14 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelation Matrix (Middle School)................................................................................. 61

15 Multinomial Logistic Regression Hispanic Middle School Adolescents............................................... 62

16 MANOVA and ANOVA Results of Hispanic Middle School Adolescents’ College and Car eer Aspirations by Gender................. 65

17 MANOVA and ANOVA Results of Hispanic Middle School Adolescents’ College and Car eer Aspirations by Grade................... 66

18 Demographics of High School Adolescents...................................... 67

19 High School Adolescent Ethnicity Demographics............................ 69

20 Demographics of Hispanic High School Adolescents...................... 70

21 Hispanic High School Adolescent Program Enrollment................... 71

22 Hispanic High School Adolescents’ College Aspirations................. 72

23 Hispanic High School Adoles cents’ Common Career Choices (Percentages)..................................................................................... 74

24 Hispanic Male High School Adolescents’ Responses to “I like this career because . . .”.......................................................... 75

25 Hispanic Female High School Adolescents’ Responses to “I like this career because . . .”.......................................................... 77

26 Hispanic High School Adolescents’ Steps to Prepare for Career........................................................................................... 79

27 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelation Matrix (High School).................................................................................... 81

28 Multinomial Logistic Regression Hispanic High School Adolescents................................................... 82

29 MANOVA and ANOVA Results of Hispanic High School Adolescents’ College and Car eer Aspirations by Gender................. 84

xi

TABLE Page

30 MANOVA and ANOVA Results of Hispanic High School Adolescents’ College and Car eer Aspirations by Grade................... 85

31 Summary of SCA Data of Urban Hispanic Middle School and High School Adolescents........................................................... 87

1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION

In today’s technological and knowledge-bas ed global society, educated workers are needed to help our nation continue to be productive and competitive throughout the 21 st century and beyond. Recent research suggests that workers should be prepared to solve problems, collaborate, adapt, initiate, communicate effectively, analyze situations, and build on their imagination in the workplace (Partnership for 21 st Century Skills, 2008; Wagner, 2008). Ultimately, the job of hi gh schools and colleges is to prepare all students for competitive careers in the U.S. a nd internationally (Wagner, 2008). For most high school students, preparati on in learning these job ski lls will be completed with college graduation. On the other hand, preparing linguistical ly and culturally diverse Hispanic adolescents to be ready for college and a career can be challenging for even the most willing educators. According to Crawford (2004), several challenges faced by educators concerning Hispanic students are related to understanding the academic and social needs of English language learners (ELLs). Many school-age ELLs have different English language proficiency levels, live in low-in come ethnic neighborhoods where English is not spoken frequently, and their parents have limited education and high rates of illiteracy (Crawford, 2004; Garcia, 2003; Gottli eb, 2006; O’Malley & Pierce, 1996).

This dissertation follows the style of the American Educationa l Research Journal.

2 Another challenge to educators is ho w much schooling some ELLs have had before they entered U.S. schools. ELLs who enter U.S. schools at the elementary grades have a better chance of catching up with thei r peers linguistically and academically than ELLs who enter American schools in middle school or high school grades (Crawford, 2004; Garcia, 2003; Gottlieb, 2006; O’Malley & Pierce, 1996). ELLs can master social language in six months to a year after en tering U.S. schools, but mastering academic language in subject content areas can take up to five or seven years (Brisk, 2006; Crawford, 2004; Cummins, 1979; Garcia, 2003 ; Gottlieb, 2006; O’Malley & Pierce, 1996; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). Crawford ( 2004) suggests that ELLs entering the ninth grade may not master academic language by tw elfth grade in order to meet graduation requirements. This often leads to ELLs rema ining in high school longer than their same age peers and often dropping out of high school (Crawford, 2004). Not only do students of Hispanic descent c onstitute the largest ethnic enrollment in the first to the eighth grade, but ar ound the ninth and tenth grades, their drop-out numbers increase (Fry & Gonzales, 2008). About 42% of all Hispanic students drop out of high school every year compared to 22% White students dropping out (Diplomas Count, 2008; Fry & Gonzales, 2008 ; National Center for Educa tion Statistics, 2006). In Texas, which is one of the five states with the largest popu lation of Hispanics, the current trend has been a marked decrea se in high school enrollment of Hispanic students beginning in the nint h grade and continuing through the twelfth grade (Gottlieb, 2006; Texas Education Agency, 2007; 2008; 2009). This dichotomy results in Hispanic adolescents being the larges t ethnic group with the highest drop out numbers and the

3 lowest high school graduation rates (Fry & Gonzales, 2008; National Center for Education Statistics, 2006). Conversely, Hi spanic ELLs who graduate from high school and enroll in college find the challenges of the college environment to be too overwhelming for them to finish their degree (Fry, 2009). Less than 25% of Hispanic students enrolled in colleges and universities receive their diploma (Fry, 2009). Some of the lo w-college and university graduation rates for Hispanic students can be attributed to language proficiency barriers and lack of college readiness because they atte nded high schools in high-povert y areas which provided a low quality education, unqualified teachers, school climate of low expectations, or schools that offered little or no assistance in how to navigate college courses and class assignments (Crawford, 2004; Padrón, Waxma n, & Rivera, 2002; Gasbarra & Johnson, 2008; Valenzuela, 1999). To offset low hi gh school graduation rates and diminish the perceived challenges of a college environmen t, some high schools have created ways for teachers and administrators to promote college-going through activities such as a college newsletter or creating a “Wa ll of Honor” which shows the photos and names of students who are admitted to college (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). College-going activities in some high schools are connected with an overall college-going culture or a special colleg e-going program (Corwi n & Tierney, 2007). A college-going culture is an atmosphere of encouragement in a school beginning with a mission statement stating a plan of high expe ctations for all stude nts (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). When all stakeholders including parent s, teachers, and administrators create an atmosphere of high expectations, students ar e more likely to finish school and go to

4 college (Corwin & Tierney, 2007; Woolley, Ko l, & Bowen, 2009). Teachers who discuss their own college experiences with their stude nts and prepare them academically to enroll in college create an atmosphere of colle ge-going (Corwin & Tier ney, 2007). Teacher support and high expectations, along with pare ntal support and encouragement, motivates students to enroll in institutions of highe r education (Alfaro, Umana-Taylor, & Bamaca, 2006; Azmitia, Cooper, & Brown, 2009; Bullington & Arbonna, 2001; Plunkett, Henry, Houltberg, Sands, & Abarca-Mortensen, 2008; Woo lley et al., 2009; Zarate & Gallimore, 2005). A positive college-going culture is made up of teachers, administrators, and parents who collaborate to help students ma ke the difficult transition from high school to college (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). High sc hools with a college-going culture can influence and guide students on college and career preplanning and planning. Consequently, Hispanic students who do not ha ve the benefit of a college-going culture find it difficult to navigate a university sy stem without support from educators and parents (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). A college-going program often includes a college-going center inside the high school that has a room specifically dedicated to providing information on how to apply for college entrance, how to apply and rece ive financial aid assi stance, and activities involving college and career in terests (Corwin & Tierney, 200 7). Several urban middle schools and high schools in Texas have colleg e-going centers conveniently located for students inside the school. These centers, some privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates GO Cent ers) and others funded by the school district, are often

5 housed in a room in the school or on school pr operty. These centers also usually include computers that are available to assist stude nts applying for college, finding financial aid information, and conducting research about colleges and universities. Written information and pamphlets bearing informati on about different coll eges and universities also are included. Often but not always, these college-going centers are staffed by a person who can offer assistance and counsel ing to students who are interested in furthering their edu cation (Corwin & Tierney, 2007) . Research has found that significantly more Hispanic females than male s enrolled in college when they received college counseling help in high school (Zar ate & Gallimore, 2005). For many Hispanic students, they are the first in their family to consider going to college and their parents are unfamiliar with the college-going process. For this reason, the school community including parents, teachers, administrators, and school staff can stre ss the importance of going to college and provide the information in college-going centers (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). Several research studies on Hispanic middle school and high school students relate the importance of parents, peers, and teachers influence on an adolescents’ college and career aspirations (Alfaro et al., 2006; Azmitia et al., 2009; Bullington & Arbonna, 2001; Ceja, 2004; Hill, Ramirez, & Dumka, 2003; Keller & Whiston, 2008; Murray, 2009; Ojeda & Flores, 2008; Plunkett et al., 2008; Reyes, Kobus, & Gillock, 1999; Woolley et al., 2009; Zarate & Gallimore, 2005) . Even though Hispanic adolescents will aspire to reach a career which requires a grad uate school diploma, their decision to be motivated to achieve that education and career is larg ely dependent on the supportive

6 people in their environment (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 1994; Hill et al ., 2003; Reyes et al., 1999; Yowell, 2000). Along with the chal lenges educators have of preparing linguistically and culturally diverse Hispanic ELL students to graduate from high school and enroll in college, they must also find ways to connect with parents who influence their children’s college and car eer aspirations. Ecological factors such as family, school, and cultural beliefs can possibly affect a de veloping adolescent’s ch oices about college and a career (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 1994) . Urie Bronfenbr enner’s (1979; 1994) ecological theory suggests a ch ild’s development is influenced by “subsystems” in their environment. These “subsystems” or ecolo gical factors in a ch ild’s environment can possibly contribute to the decisions an adolescent makes conc erning finishing high school, going to college, and pursuing a caree r (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 1994; Hill et al., 2003; Reyes et al., 1999; Yowell, 2000). Joint collaborative effort between the school community and parents can possibly have a pos itive effect on infl uencing adolescent Hispanic ELLs to finish high school, enroll in college, and reach thei r career aspirations. The purpose of this study is to investigate how ecological factors affect the decisions urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents’ make concerning their college and career aspirations. Theoretical Framework Social development theorist, Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979; 1994) maintains that human development encompasses the envir onment or ecological system in which a developing child experiences emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. These environments or “subsystems” influence human growth. The five “subsystems” include

7 mircrosystems, mesosystems, exosystems, macrosystems, and chronosystems. Inside each of these “subsystems” are relationships w ith settings that include parents, peers, school, culture, chronolo gical time, and environmental ch anges. Bronfenbrenner (1979; 1994) suggests that all five subsystems ar e like a “nested arrangement” with each subsystem fitting inside the other. Followi ng are brief definitions of Bronfenbrenner’s subsystems. Bronfenbrenner’s Five Subsystems A (1) microsystem can be explained as relationships and experiences with the ecological environment settings of home a nd school where a devel oping adolescent can have personal intera ctions (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 1994). Hispanic middle school and high school students have face-to-face relations hips and experiences with their family, school community, and peer group. A (2) mesosystem refers to the “interrelations am ong two or more settings which the developing person actively participates ” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 39; 1994, p. 25). Mesosystems are comprised of microsystems and involve interconnections with the developing person and more than one micros ystem. A Hispanic middle school or high school student’s mesosystem can involve co mmunication between the home and school environments which can impact decisi ons made by a developing adolescent. An (3) exosystem refers to a subsystem that consis ts of two or mo re settings and their activities, but at least one of the setti ngs does not include the developing adolescent. The activities indirectly influence the setting in the developing adolescent’s life, such as the parents’ workplace. (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 1994). Hispanic adolescents can be

8 influenced by how their parents view their own jobs, whether their parents or a sibling went to college, and teacher’s perceptions of higher education for linguistically and culturally diverse students. A (4) macrosystem consists of the microsystems, mesosystems, and exosystems in a developing adolescent’s culture (Bronf enbrenner, 1979; 1994). The macrosystem consists of the beliefs and structures embedded in a specific culture. The Hispanic culture influences the way an adolescent feel s about their family, their friends, and their teachers. A (5) chronosystem involves consistencies over time in the developing adolescent and in their surrounding environment (Bronf enbrenner, 1979; 1994). Hispanic students experience changes in family structure, tr ansitioning from middle school to high school, and possibly the unemployment of a parent.

In general, each of these “subsystems” explains how a child’s growth and developm ent can be affected by interconnections and cultural beliefs in their environment. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to investig ate how ecological factors influence the decisions urban-middle school and high school Hispanic students make concerning their college and career aspirations. Ecological factors (i.e., human eco logy) are defined as parents, peers, teachers, gender roles, cultu ral beliefs, and other environmental factors within our changing global society (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 1994). I examine the academic aspirations, career aspirations, the infl uence of peers, teachers, and parents of

9 adolescent Hispanic students , and gender roles in college and career aspirations through the lens of Bronfenbrenner’s ( 1979; 1994) ecological theory. The aim of this study is to contribut e findings about ecological factors that influence the college and car eer aspirations of urban-middle school and high school Hispanic adolescents. Further, the study ex amined gender differences in the careers Hispanic adolescents chose, and whether they could list steps to prepare for this career while they were still in school. This study is different from previous studies because I examine college and career aspirations from both adolescent developm ent areas (a) middle school and (b) high school. Most studies have examined Hispanic adolescents’ college a nd career aspirations using samples from either middle school or high school. Included in the review of research are two previous studies that exam ined college and career aspirations of both high school and middle school students using a longitudinal approach (Azmitia et al., 2009; Zarate & Gallimore, 2005). Also, I will be analyzing the data quantitatively and qualitatively through the use of surveys from both, middle school and high school students. Data collected from a sample of students in survey form can help researchers infer generalizations about trends occurring in the population (Patten, 2007). Both of the longitudinal studies conducted interviews as a method of collecting data (Azmitia et al., 2009; Zarate & Gallimore, 2005). Few studies have researched how gender roles affect the college and career aspirations of Hispanic students. This is important because society tends to place females or males in certain st ereotypical college and career roles. Trends in choices students make by gender can be observed to determine future planning and

10 courses that would help student s reach their aspired goals. This study also examines the career paths the participating Hispanic adol escents have chosen beginning with seventh- grade students and ending with tenth-grade students. Research Questions The following questions were addressed in this study: 1. What are Hispanic students’ college aspirations? 2. What are Hispanic students’ career aspirations? 3. To what extent do ecological factors influence Hispanic students’ college

and career aspirations?

4. Are there differences by sex and grad e level (i.e., middle and high school)

with regards to ecological factors aff ecting Hispanic stud ents’ career and

college aspirations?

Definition of Terms The following definitions include terms as they are referred to within this study. Linguistically and culturally diverse student:

A school-aged child exposed to another language and culture other than E nglish in their home environment (Gottlieb, 2006). English language learner (ELL):

A subgroup of linguistic ally and culturally diverse students who have been assessed and qualify for support servic es because of their limited English proficienc y level (Gottlieb, 2006). Limited English proficient (LEP):

Federal legislation labe l for English language learner (ELL) used in prev ious years (Gottlieb, 2006).

11 Adolescents:

Middle and high school grade-level students who are approximately 10 to 18 years old (American Ps ychological Asso ciation, 2002). Middle School Students:

Usually grades seven and eight, but sometimes grade six is included. High School Students:

Usually grades nine to tw elve, but sometimes includes only grades ten to twelve. Aspirations:

Targeted college and career goals aimed for by students participating in this study. Summary The success of our knowledge-based ec onomy depends on citizens who have the workforce skills to be competitive (Wa gner, 2008). Middle school and high school teachers are facing challenges in preparing a ll students to be ready for college and a career. Some of the challenge s these teachers face are relatin g to the social and academic needs of Hispanic students who are English language learners. The older an ELL student is when they be gin their schooling in the U.S., the more difficult it is for them to catch up to their peers academically (Crawford, 2004). When students experience challenges in language proficiency it a ffects their success on large- scale assessments as well as success in the classroom and many students begin to drop out. From 1980-2007, Hispanic adolescents ha d the highest high school drop out rate in the U.S. The percentage of Hispanic stude nts between 16 and 24 years of age who were not enrolled in high school and who did not have a high school gr aduation credential was 21.4% compared to White students at 5.3% a nd Black students at 8.4% (National Center

12 for Education Statistics, 2009). Somewhere between the ninth and twelfth grade, the drop out rates in Texas high schools increase dramatically (Texas Education Agency, 2007; 2008). Hispanic adolescent drop out percen tages from seventh to the twelfth grade are all above 50% with ninth grade being th e grade with the highest percentage of Hispanic dropouts, 61.6% (Texas Education Agency, 2009). Limitations of the Study Every attempt was made to design this study to eliminate th reats to validity. Nevertheless, this study being part of a larg er study had characte ristics that created limitations. The first limitation concerns the sa mple. The issue with the sample was that it was not random. The Student Career A ssessment (SCA) pencil-and-paper survey was given to a large urban school di strict college and career coor dinator who then distributed the surveys to schools and principals who, at their discretion, passe d the surveys on to teachers and then students. This limitation is important because teachers decided who received the SCA survey and the data is onl y representative of the students who took the survey. A second limitation of the study was that Hispanic students w ho participated in the study were not identified by their language pr oficiency level. For the purposes of this study, ELL answers were not separated from Hispanic students who are native English speakers. Therefore, it is possible that st udents with low levels of English language proficiency did not fully understand the questions but answered them anyway. A third limitation of the study was that Hi spanic students who participated in the study were not identified as to whether they were foreign-born or born in the U.S.

13 Foreign-born Hispanic adolescents may have begun their schooling in the U.S. in middle school or high school which would possibly limit their English proficiency or the level of their understanding of the quest ions asked on the SCA survey. Therefore, the answers provided by the Hispanic middl e school and high school stud ents who took the Student Career Assessment (SCA) survey cannot be generalized to all st udents of Hispanic descent. This study explores trends in Hispanic adolescents’ college and career aspirations at five par ticipating urban schools.

14 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RESEARCH

This chapter reviews previous research on ecological factors that influence the college and career aspirations of middle schoo l and high school Hisp anic adolescents. More specifically, I examined previous studies concerning the academic aspirations, career aspirations, parents, peers, and teach ers’ encouragement, and gender roles with regards to career aspirations of middle school and high school students and how these components contribute to the decisions adol escents make concerning their college and career. The review of the research is presented in three tables. Discussion of Tables Table 1 is a summary of 14 studies from 1999 to 2009. These studies were chosen because they involve Hispanic adolescents ’ academic aspirations, career aspirations, influence of parents, peers and teachers, and gender roles in career decisions. At a glance, Table 1 shows the purpose of each st udy including characteristics of the sample, methodology, analysis, and findings. The studi es are listed in chronological order beginning with Reyes, Kobus, and Gillock ( 1999) and ending with Azmitia, Cooper, and Brown (2009). In this section, I will first present a brief summary of each study, then, I will discuss how the studies are related to other studies in Table 1. Table 2 is a comparison of studies and Table 3 is a chr onological map of studies including gender characteristics.

15 Table 1 Summary of Studies on Academic Aspirations, Career Aspira tions, Parents, Peers, and Teachers’ Encouragement, and Gender Roles in Career Aspirations

Study Purpose of Study Samp le/Method/Analysis Findings Reyes, Kobus, & Gillock (1999) Ex plore gender differences (female focus) in career aspirations and associated factors 162 Hispanic 9 th & 10 th graders 100 females, 62 males 50 minute structured interviews Females aspired to non traditional careers involving higher education/graduate school.

Yowell (2000) Explore future aspirations of Latino boys and girls 38 Latino males and females, 8 th

Full document contains 126 pages
Abstract: This mixed methods study investigates how ecological factors influence the decisions urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents make concerning their college and career aspirations. I examine the academic aspirations, career aspirations, the influence of peers, teachers, and parents of seventh-, eighth-, ninth-, and tenth-grade urban Hispanic adolescents, and gender roles in college and career aspirations through the lens of Bronfenbrenner's ecological subsystems theory. Participants took the Student Career Assessment (SCA) survey consisting of Likert-type multiple choice questions and open-ended questions to assess their college and career aspirations. Quantitatively analyzed data examined the extent urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents were influenced by items on scales of encouragement, literacy, and education and whether there were differences by gender and grade level. Student responses as to why they chose a specific career were analyzed qualitatively. Combined results for urban Hispanic middle school and high school adolescents show a) both genders are interested in finishing high school and going to college, b) Hispanic females are encouraged more than males to pursue their college and career aspirations, c) more females than males know their career aspiration, but the majority of students do not know how to prepare for their chosen career, e) females have more confidence in their literacy skills than males. The more confidence Hispanic high school students have in their literacy skills, the more likely they are to graduate from high school. Implications for future research should involve conducting studies in the areas of college and career aspirations of urban Hispanic adolescents using random sampling. More gender studies involving the college and career aspirations of urban Hispanic adolescents would significantly add to the current body of knowledge.