Examination of the Concurrent Validity of Scores from the CISS for Student-Athlete College Major Selection: A Brief Report. (Articles)

By Pendergrass, Laura A.; Hansen, Jo-Ida C. et al. | Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, January 2003 | Go to article overview

Examination of the Concurrent Validity of Scores from the CISS for Student-Athlete College Major Selection: A Brief Report. (Articles)


Pendergrass, Laura A., Hansen, Jo-Ida C., Neuman, Jody L., Nutter, Kevin J., Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development


This study examined evidence of concurrent validity for the use of scores from the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS) with college student-athletes. Agreement between declared college major and interest scores on the CISS was calculated for male student-athletes and nonathletes. Difference between samples was nonsignificant.

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Many student-athletes, especially those in sports such as basketball and football, expect to play professionally after completing their college eligibility. Even those who will never receive significant playing time in college seem to ignore the stiff competition for the relatively few professional positions that need to be filled annually. They often seem to attend college to satisfy their interest in athletic competition and to prepare for their athletic careers rather than to take advantage of the other educational opportunities that college offers (Martinelli, 2000).

Time and energy constraints experienced by student-athletes because of practice schedules, games, and team meetings may lead them to neglect academic- and career-planning activities that are a part of other students' college experiences. In some cases, this oversight occurs because the student-athlete firmly believes that she or he will make a smooth transition into professional athletics, making career planning a moot issue. In other cases, athletes find that there is little time in their schedules for academic planning after all other demands on them have been addressed, and vocational considerations are repeatedly postponed (Pearson & Petitpas, 1990). Moreover, college athletic programs often contribute to this effect by sheltering student-athletes from the hassles of everyday life in the interest of maintaining athletes' focus on their sports. For example, assistance frequently is provided in negotiating schedules, maintaining academic records, and ensuring academic eligibility so that achieving athletic goals can be a top priority.

One potential side effect of the sheltering and assistance that many student-athletes receive is that they focus exclusively on their athletic goals and pay little attention to developing other aspects of their identities. Erikson (1968) suggested that the major psychosocial challenge of adolescence is exploring and establishing one's identity. This is a challenge especially likely to be faced by college students as they seek to establish both social and vocational aspects of identity (A. L. Guerra & Braungart-Rieker, 1999). However, this process is dependent on students having the opportunity and inclination to explore their options fully. In an effort to provide this opportunity for student-athletes, several authors have suggested that career counseling programs should become a more structured part of college athletic programs (P. Guerra, 1998; Lefcourt & Hoben, 1998; Pearson & Petitpas, 1990). Most college career counseling programs incorporate assessment of interests as part of the exploration process. St udies have been conducted to demonstrate evidence of validity for instruments such as the Strong Interest Inventory (SII; Hansen & Tan, 1992), the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS; Hansen & Neuman, 1999), and the Self-Directed Search (Holland, 1985) to predict college majors for college students who are nonathletes. However, little work has been done to demonstrate the efficacy of interest inventories with student-athletes. One exception is a study by Hansen and Sackett (1993) in which the authors examined the predictive accuracy of the SII for college major selection of women who were Division I athletes and of women from the same university who were nonathletes. Their results indicated that the SII predicted college major choice at the same level of accuracy for both the student-athletes and nonathletes.

The CISS is used increasingly with college students to assist them in selecting college majors (Campbell, 1996). …

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