A standard career interest test should be administered to each 9th grade student, and the three highest level of career interest obtained should be compared with the stated job-career interest for each student. Where the stated job-career plan does not agree with one of the three highest areas from the career test, a career counselor should help the individual reconcile such differences. Without a career plan there is no goal, and, therefore, no basis for personal motivation for student to do successful course work; as, psychologically, goals and motivation are the same thing.
The average student begins high school (9th grade) when he/she is 14 years of age, and the major purpose for high school, then, is preparation for life. Success in a democracy always includes economic security, and the ability and desire to make a living (job success). In order for a school in a democracy to be successful, both for the individual and collectively for the school, there is an immediate and imperative need for a tentative job career plan for each and every student. This is true because goals and personal motivation for each student are inseparable; for without personal goals there can be no personal motivation to achieve, and, therefore, schools become less focused in their regimen. While it is true that job-career plans often change during high school, a tentative job-career plan must be the major focus for each and every student.
Individual Course Success
When school success is based on individual course content alone, personal involvement lacks a meaningful and functional purpose in relation to later success in life. It is the kind of motivation that is more or less "hollow like" and lacks personal depth and functional utility. The more complex, courses, technically speaking, and the courses that provide the greatest challenges fall in several categories. For example, mathematically based courses like algebra, geometry, calculus, etc. lead to success in engineering; courses in biology, science, and the like lead to medicine, etc. Often individuals planning for a career in engineering or medicine when they first take courses pertinent to success in such endeavors, decide that the job-career initially planned is not for them. Lack of success in these two course areas of the curriculum cause more changes in job-career plans for more capable high school student than any other of the school curriculum areas.
Career Interest Test
Typically, a standard job career interest test or inventory is administered to all high school students no later than the junior year; so that each individual is able to compare his/her tested interest and stated interest areas, i.e., Career Interest Inventory (1990), Ohio Vocational Interest Survey (1981), Self-interest survey (Holland, 1994), etc. Typically, the student seeks to identify his/her three highest career interest areas, and then to compare his/her stated interest with one of the three tested interest areas. Where there is a wide disparity between stated and either of the three highest tested interest areas, the school counselor should seek to help individual reconcile these basic differences. Often the best way to reconcile such basic differences, is to administer a second and different career interest test to determine if the differences occur for both of such tested areas. Second, is to examine the basic technical courses required for success in such job-career areas, and determine if individual involved can accept the nature of such technical courses of instruction. Third, is to administer the Differential Aptitude Test to see whether the aptitude scores earned are in agreement with the stated interest. The changing of stated interest should not be treated lightly; as it may be the most important personal decision made while in high school. Also, it serves as the basic incentive and personal motivation for specific school achievement areas.
Differential Aptitude Test
The Differential Aptitude Test (DAT) is an integrated battery of eight aptitude tests that provide assistance in educational and vocational guidance. Typically, such multiple aptitude tests are not administered until eighth grade, and tend to be more useful in the 9th grade for vocational guidance purposes. They are not intended for use as a substitute for career interest, but as a support for the personal career interest selected. The major areas being measured by the DAT are often closely allied with vocational career areas:
1. Verbal Ability.
2. Numerical Ability.
3. Abstract Reasoning.
5. Mechanical Reasoning.
6. Space Relations.
More any more we are coming to a realization that gender differences (male/female) is of less and less importance in terms of career job area success. This is particularly true in relation to jobcareer plans. It is true, however, that male success has been greater in the science and math areas; while female success has been greater in literature and writing areas. In terms of the National Scholastic Aptitude Test Scores, and even National Scholarships actually awarded, only four females receive such recognition for every five males. No longer may a counselor accept the notion that a female student is planning marriage and family rearing as a life commitment. In a democracy there is always equality of the sexes, and each and every individual must plan to be a job producing individual. Even for the female who is sure of early marriage and family planning and home support purposes, such planned conditions often change; so the individual is left without job preparation and often thereby fails to be a productive member of society.
Career Success is Global In Nature
School success includes more than math, science, and social studies, and is always intended to serve as full preparation for success in life. This, of course, means not only for success at the work place, because an individual's real success at the work place is dependent on success in the home and with the family, and in the community as well. Therefore, in addition to the basic academic courses in high school and college, there is an imperative need for instruction and preparation relative to life in general. Individuals needs and interests are different, and the school curriculum must be made to provide for those differences; no more, but certainly no less.
School Accountability and Students
The full accountability of any school program is largely dependent on the degree to which effective and timely provisions are made for individuals in relation to the entering of some specific job-career area. If there is no such tentative job-career area identified, there can be no personal fulfillment of that basic requirement for each and every student in the secondary school program. If the purpose for school is to build a bridge to a meaningful and acceptable job-career field, then such a job-career field must be in existence before one can effectively prepare for the fulfillment of such a plan. When the student is not provided with the counseling and inventory testing necessary to arrive at tentative job-career plans, it is a failure of the school administrator. This always means a lack of accountability in relation to both the student and to the using agency; which, of course, is the prospective employer of the student later in life.
Tis better to hope, though clouds hang low, And keep the eyes uplifted, For the sweet blue sky will soon peep through, When the ominous clouds are rifted. There was never a night without a day Or an evening without a morning, And the darkest hour, as the proverb goes, Is the hour before the dawning.
Bennett, G.K., Seashore, H.G., and Wesman, A.G. (1990). Differential Aptitude Tests, Fifth Edition. San Antonio, Texas: The Psychological Corporation.
Career Interest Inventory (CII). (1990). (A Career Guidance Instrument). San Antonio, Texas: The Psychological Corporation.
Cassel, R.N., and Kolstad, R. (1998). The Fortune 500 Job-Skills Test. Skills. Chula Vista, California: PROJECT INNOVATION.
Holland, John L. (1994). Self-directed Search, 4th Edition. (SDS). Odesa, Florida: Psychological Assessment Associates.
Lunneborg, Patricia W. (1987). The Vocational Interest Inventory, Revised (VII-R). Los Angeles, California: Western Psychological Services.
Ohio Vocational Interest Survey, Second Edition. (OVIS II). (1981). San Antonio, Texas: Harcourt Brace.
RUSSELL N. CASSEL, ED.D., ABPP, FAPSP 1362 Santa Cruz Court, Chula Vista, California 91910-7114…