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Role of Social Cognitive Variables on
Agricultural and Science Career Interests
   and Goals of Rural High Students

 L E V O N E S T E R S a , N E I L K N O B L O C H a , A RY N D O T T E R E R a b ,
             K AT H RY N O RV I S a , & C O L L E E N B R A DY a
                   aD   E PA RT M E N T O F YO U T H D E V E L O P M E N T &
                              A G R I C U LT U R A L E D U C AT I O N


      bD   E PA R T M E N T O F C H I L D D E V E L O P M E N T & FA M I LY S T U D I E S


                    2 N D A N N UA L G - S T E M S Y M P O S I U M
                               F E B R UA RY 1 8 , 2 0 1 1
Introduction

 Students in every demographic of the U.S. have
 potential to become future STEM leaders (National Science
 Foundation, 2010).



 Regrettably, too many of the most able students are
 neither discovered nor developed.
    Adequate access to educational resources.
    Not been inspired to pursue STEM.
    Numerous other barriers to achievement.
Introduction

 Pre-college programs are one strategy for increasing the
 pipeline of rural students pursuing undergraduate
 majors and careers STEAM disciplines.

 Serve as an open door to opportunities for those
 historically underserved and/or unaware of what
 colleges of agriculture & life sciences offer and the
 career and professional opportunities that are available
 to them (APLU, 2009).
Introduction

 Few efforts have been focused on providing experiences
 that foster the STEAM career development of rural
 high school students.

 Rural students often have to deal with unique
 circumstances when making decisions about education
 and careers.
    Reduced accessibility to higher education; narrow rural school
     curricula; limited exposure to the world of occupations; and lack
     of access to science enrichment opportunities (Apostal & Bilden, 1991;
     Goodell, Visco, & Pollock, 1999).
Theoretical Framework

 Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett,
  1994; 2000).


 Highlights several cognitive-person variables (SE, OE,
  Interests) and how these variables interact with other
  aspects of the person and his or her environment to
  help shape the course of career development.
Person, Contextual, and Experiential Factors
                Affecting Career-Related Choice Behavior
  Person Inputs
-Predispositions
-Gender                                    Contextual Influences
-Ethnicity                                  Proximal to Choice
-Disability/Health                               Behavior
 Status

                       Self-Efficacy




              Learning                    Choice         Choice    Performance
             Experiences       Interest                            Domains and
                                          Goals          Actions
                                                                   Attainments




                         Outcome
                       Expectations
 Background
 Contextual
 Affordances
Theoretical Framework

 Only learning experiences in a specific academic or
 career domain can influence self-efficacy and outcome
 expectations in that particular domain and ultimately
 shape interest, goals, choices, persistence, and
 performance in that domain (Navarro et al., 2007).

 SCCT has received a good deal of empirical support,
 little research has been conducted to test the SCCT
 model in other academic and career domains (Lent, Brown,
 Nota, & Soresi, 2003).
Purpose of Study

 Test portions of SCCT in the agricultural and science
 domains with a sample of rural high school students.
Modified SCCT Model Tested in Study



    Self-Efficacy
                                Choice
                                Goals

                    Interests

                                Choice
                                Goals

      Outcome
    Expectations
Methods

 Participants (N = 370) were taking part in a 3-day pre-
  college agriculture/science program.
 Completed questionnaires which assessed:
      Science self-efficacy - confidence in one’s belief to learn science.
      Science outcome expectations - one’s belief that learning science will lead to
       positive results.
      Agricultural career interests - interests in working in agricultural settings e.g.,
       food production and processing, plant science and nature, and engineering.
      Agricultural education/career goals - goals to pursue education and careers in
       agriculture.
      Science education/career goals - goals to pursue education and careers in
       agriculture.
Methods

 Students learned about careers and current topics with
 professors and scientists using hands-on activities in
 laboratories and field-based settings:
    Animal science
    Engineering
    Food science
    Entomology
    Computer science
    Aerospace
    Plant science
    Integrated lunar plant sciences
Participants

 60% male
 97% Caucasian
 Ages
   14 to 19 (M = 17.1; SD = 1.27)

 Science Workshop Attendance
   First time: 68% (n = 251)

   Second time: 18% (n = 67)

   Third time: 11% (n = 40)

   Fourth time: 3% (n = 12)
Data Analysis

 Path analysis was conducted in AMOS 18.
    Separate models were estimated for boys and girls

 Models were estimated using Full Information
  Maximum Likelihood.
 Model fit was evaluated with chi-square and practical
  fit indices.
 The models fit the data reasonably well:
      χ2 (df = 2) = 7.02, p = .03; CFI = .99, TLI = .88, RMSEA
       = .08.
Results: Boys



Self-Efficacy                 -.21*
                                                   Agriculture      .26**
                 .14                               Education/Career
                                          .45***
       .53***                                      Goals
                       Career Interests
Outcome                                                               .44***
Expectations    .07                       .19**    Science
                                                   Education/Career
                           .18*                    Goals
Results: Boys

 Self-efficacy was positively associated with outcome expectations, B = .53,
  p < .001.

 Outcome expectations in turn were positively associated with science
  education/career goals, B = .18, p < .05 and agricultural education/career
  goals, B = .26, p < .01.

 Career interests were positively associated with science education/career
  goals, B = .45, p < .001 and agricultural education/career goals, B = .19, p
  < .01.

 Self-efficacy was also positively associated with science education/career
  goals, B = .44, p < .001 and negatively associated with agricultural
  education/career goals, B = -.21, p < .001.
Results: Girls




Self-Efficacy                   -.02
                                                     Agriculture      .08
                 -.03                                Education/Career
                                            .44***
       .55***                                        Goals
                         Career Interests
Outcome                                                                 .48***
Expectations    .30***                      .18***   Science
                                                     Education/Career
                             .22***                  Goals
Results: Girls

 Self-efficacy was positively associated with outcome
 expectations, B = .55, p < .001.

 Outcome expectations in turn were positively
 associated with career interests, B = .30, p < .001.

 Career interests in turn were positively associated with
 science education/career goals, B = .18, p < .001 and
 agricultural education/career goals, B = .44, p < .001.
Conclusions

1. Male and female participants’ confidence in their abilities to
   learn science was related to their choice goals of pursuing
   education and careers in science.

2. Male and female participants who were interested in
   working in agricultural science settings were also interested
   in pursuing education and career goals in both agriculture
   and science.

3. Findings are inconclusive regarding the direct influence of
   self-efficacy and outcome expectations on male and female
   participants’ agricultural education and career goals.
Contributions & Implications

1. Findings provide partial support for the Lent et al.
      (1994; 2000) SCCT model with a sample of rural high
      school students.

2. Results from this study also provide further support
      for the utility of the social cognitive career model in
      other subject areas.
 a.     Less is known about the support for SCCT in subject areas other than
        math and science (Fouad, Smith, & Zao, 2002; Betz & Hackett, 2006).
Future Research

 Conduct a qualitative study to further explore SCCT
 variables that influence the science and agricultural
 career-related choices among rural high school
 students.

 Conduct a study using a control group of rural high
 school students who did not participate in Science
 Workshops, measuring SCCT-related variables both
 immediately after the Workshop experience and again
 at the end of high school (four to five years later).
Questions




Thank You.

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Role of Social Cognitive Variables on Agricultural and Science Career Interests and Goals of Rural High Students

  • 1. Role of Social Cognitive Variables on Agricultural and Science Career Interests and Goals of Rural High Students L E V O N E S T E R S a , N E I L K N O B L O C H a , A RY N D O T T E R E R a b , K AT H RY N O RV I S a , & C O L L E E N B R A DY a aD E PA RT M E N T O F YO U T H D E V E L O P M E N T & A G R I C U LT U R A L E D U C AT I O N bD E PA R T M E N T O F C H I L D D E V E L O P M E N T & FA M I LY S T U D I E S 2 N D A N N UA L G - S T E M S Y M P O S I U M F E B R UA RY 1 8 , 2 0 1 1
  • 2. Introduction  Students in every demographic of the U.S. have potential to become future STEM leaders (National Science Foundation, 2010).  Regrettably, too many of the most able students are neither discovered nor developed.  Adequate access to educational resources.  Not been inspired to pursue STEM.  Numerous other barriers to achievement.
  • 3. Introduction  Pre-college programs are one strategy for increasing the pipeline of rural students pursuing undergraduate majors and careers STEAM disciplines.  Serve as an open door to opportunities for those historically underserved and/or unaware of what colleges of agriculture & life sciences offer and the career and professional opportunities that are available to them (APLU, 2009).
  • 4. Introduction  Few efforts have been focused on providing experiences that foster the STEAM career development of rural high school students.  Rural students often have to deal with unique circumstances when making decisions about education and careers.  Reduced accessibility to higher education; narrow rural school curricula; limited exposure to the world of occupations; and lack of access to science enrichment opportunities (Apostal & Bilden, 1991; Goodell, Visco, & Pollock, 1999).
  • 5. Theoretical Framework  Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994; 2000).  Highlights several cognitive-person variables (SE, OE, Interests) and how these variables interact with other aspects of the person and his or her environment to help shape the course of career development.
  • 6. Person, Contextual, and Experiential Factors Affecting Career-Related Choice Behavior Person Inputs -Predispositions -Gender Contextual Influences -Ethnicity Proximal to Choice -Disability/Health Behavior Status Self-Efficacy Learning Choice Choice Performance Experiences Interest Domains and Goals Actions Attainments Outcome Expectations Background Contextual Affordances
  • 7. Theoretical Framework  Only learning experiences in a specific academic or career domain can influence self-efficacy and outcome expectations in that particular domain and ultimately shape interest, goals, choices, persistence, and performance in that domain (Navarro et al., 2007).  SCCT has received a good deal of empirical support, little research has been conducted to test the SCCT model in other academic and career domains (Lent, Brown, Nota, & Soresi, 2003).
  • 8. Purpose of Study  Test portions of SCCT in the agricultural and science domains with a sample of rural high school students.
  • 9. Modified SCCT Model Tested in Study Self-Efficacy Choice Goals Interests Choice Goals Outcome Expectations
  • 10. Methods  Participants (N = 370) were taking part in a 3-day pre- college agriculture/science program.  Completed questionnaires which assessed:  Science self-efficacy - confidence in one’s belief to learn science.  Science outcome expectations - one’s belief that learning science will lead to positive results.  Agricultural career interests - interests in working in agricultural settings e.g., food production and processing, plant science and nature, and engineering.  Agricultural education/career goals - goals to pursue education and careers in agriculture.  Science education/career goals - goals to pursue education and careers in agriculture.
  • 11. Methods  Students learned about careers and current topics with professors and scientists using hands-on activities in laboratories and field-based settings:  Animal science  Engineering  Food science  Entomology  Computer science  Aerospace  Plant science  Integrated lunar plant sciences
  • 12. Participants  60% male  97% Caucasian  Ages  14 to 19 (M = 17.1; SD = 1.27)  Science Workshop Attendance  First time: 68% (n = 251)  Second time: 18% (n = 67)  Third time: 11% (n = 40)  Fourth time: 3% (n = 12)
  • 13. Data Analysis  Path analysis was conducted in AMOS 18.  Separate models were estimated for boys and girls  Models were estimated using Full Information Maximum Likelihood.  Model fit was evaluated with chi-square and practical fit indices.  The models fit the data reasonably well:  χ2 (df = 2) = 7.02, p = .03; CFI = .99, TLI = .88, RMSEA = .08.
  • 14. Results: Boys Self-Efficacy -.21* Agriculture .26** .14 Education/Career .45*** .53*** Goals Career Interests Outcome .44*** Expectations .07 .19** Science Education/Career .18* Goals
  • 15. Results: Boys  Self-efficacy was positively associated with outcome expectations, B = .53, p < .001.  Outcome expectations in turn were positively associated with science education/career goals, B = .18, p < .05 and agricultural education/career goals, B = .26, p < .01.  Career interests were positively associated with science education/career goals, B = .45, p < .001 and agricultural education/career goals, B = .19, p < .01.  Self-efficacy was also positively associated with science education/career goals, B = .44, p < .001 and negatively associated with agricultural education/career goals, B = -.21, p < .001.
  • 16. Results: Girls Self-Efficacy -.02 Agriculture .08 -.03 Education/Career .44*** .55*** Goals Career Interests Outcome .48*** Expectations .30*** .18*** Science Education/Career .22*** Goals
  • 17. Results: Girls  Self-efficacy was positively associated with outcome expectations, B = .55, p < .001.  Outcome expectations in turn were positively associated with career interests, B = .30, p < .001.  Career interests in turn were positively associated with science education/career goals, B = .18, p < .001 and agricultural education/career goals, B = .44, p < .001.
  • 18. Conclusions 1. Male and female participants’ confidence in their abilities to learn science was related to their choice goals of pursuing education and careers in science. 2. Male and female participants who were interested in working in agricultural science settings were also interested in pursuing education and career goals in both agriculture and science. 3. Findings are inconclusive regarding the direct influence of self-efficacy and outcome expectations on male and female participants’ agricultural education and career goals.
  • 19. Contributions & Implications 1. Findings provide partial support for the Lent et al. (1994; 2000) SCCT model with a sample of rural high school students. 2. Results from this study also provide further support for the utility of the social cognitive career model in other subject areas. a. Less is known about the support for SCCT in subject areas other than math and science (Fouad, Smith, & Zao, 2002; Betz & Hackett, 2006).
  • 20. Future Research  Conduct a qualitative study to further explore SCCT variables that influence the science and agricultural career-related choices among rural high school students.  Conduct a study using a control group of rural high school students who did not participate in Science Workshops, measuring SCCT-related variables both immediately after the Workshop experience and again at the end of high school (four to five years later).