Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Effects of Career Education Interventions: A Meta-Analysis

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Effects of Career Education Interventions: A Meta-Analysis

Article excerpt

Twelve studies published between 1983 and 1996 that met the definitions for admissible studies established by Baker and Popowicz (1983) for a meta-analytic review of the effects of career education interventions were submitted to a similar meta-analytic integration. Effect sizes based on Glass's (1976) formula were determined for the current sample and were combined with the Baker and Popowicz (1983) sample, providing a sample of 30 studies and an overall effect size of 0.39.

Career education is a concept that seems to have evolved as an attempt to apply career development theory. Herr ( 1969) helped to popularize the term career education when using it as a label for his proposal that all of formal education be unified around a career development theme. Ken Hoyt was instrumental in popularizing the concept while serving in the U. S. Office of Education in the 1970s after Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Sidney P. Marland ( 1972) created national recognition for the idea. Many formal and informal definitions of career education have evolved over the years, each reflecting the biases of the authors or of like-minded groups of individuals. The most enduring definition of the term seems to have been offered by Hoyt ( 1977), who referred to career education as a process of concentrating educational and community efforts on interventions targeting children and adolescents that will aid in the acquisition and use of knowledge, skills, and attitudes for making work meaningful and satisfying.

Over the past two and one-half decades, there have been numerous attempts to translate the idea into action, at times with the assistance of funding from the private and public sectors. Although the idea of a national education system unified around a career development theme is not yet a reality, "the idea has been influential on a smaller scale in some states, school systems, schools, and individual educators" (Baker, 1996, p. 86). On the other hand, many groups and individuals have developed and implemented interventions designed to achieve career education goals. Baker and Popowicz (1983) submitted an estimate of the effect of a selected set of such career education interventions, the evaluations of which had been reported in the professional literature, using meta-analysis as the evaluation strategy. Their study was conducted, in part, as a response to concerns expressed by some that the career education concept may not be applicable to real-life circumstances (Bonnet, 1979; Hoyt, 1976; Terry & Kenneke, 1980).

Baker and Popowicz (1983) reported an overall effect size of 0.50, indicating that there was evidence of a medium cumulative difference between the career education interventions in the sample reviewed and their respective comparison groups. This information has served as a justification for career education programming, past and future, since the report was published. Indications are that interest in the impact of career education interventions continued into the 1990s and will remain of interest into the twentyfirst century.

We are not certain of the exact origin of the term school-to-work transition. Yet, it apparently has subsumed the goals that were originally attributed to career education. Therefore, it seems as if interest in the effects of interventions designed to achieve career education goals or enhance school-to-work transitions has not waned.

Consequently, acquiring evidence of the effects of such interventions remains an important goal. Israel (1994) highlighted this challenge to help individuals prepare for career transitions by citing U.S. Department of Labor estimates that most workers will change their career three times and theirjobs seven times by the year 2000.

The work of Baker and Popowicz (1983) has become dated. Thus, the current study replicates and updates their work. More specifically, using meta-analysis as the means of reviewing relevant studies, our research questions were as follows: (a) What is the effect size of career education interventions published since 1983? …

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