Role of Social Cognitive Variables on Agricultural and Science Career Interests and Goals of Rural High Students
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Rural students, in comparison to their urban counterparts, have had unique circumstances to contend with when making decisions about education and careers (Apostal & Bilden, 1991). Rural students ...
Rural students, in comparison to their urban counterparts, have had unique circumstances to contend with when making decisions about education and careers (Apostal & Bilden, 1991). Rural students have reduced accessibility to higher education, narrow rural school curricula, limited exposure to the world of occupations, and lack access to science enrichment opportunities available to students in suburban and urban settings (Goodell, Visco, & Pollock, 1999). This study was guided by Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994). SCCT highlights several cognitive-person variables: self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal goals and how these variables interact with other aspects of the person and his or her environment to help shape the course of career development (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000). The purpose of this study was to test portions of the SCCT model (Lent et al., 1994, 2001, 2003) in the agricultural and science domains with a sample of rural high school students. Participants (N = 370) were drawn from a 3-day pre-college agricultural science program. Participants completed two questionnaires assessing SCCT career-related variables. We conducted a path analysis testing portions of the SCCT model with results indicating that the model fit the data well. High school students who participated in a pre-college science experience felt confident in their abilities to learn science also saw the value in learning science and planned to pursue science majors and careers. Moreover, participants who were interested in working in agricultural science settings were also interested in pursuing education and career goals in agriculture.
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