The Career Passport Program: Development and Refinement
Co-Principal Investigators: Donna Schultheiss, Graham Stead, and Diane Corrigan
Purpose: School dropout has long been recognized as a "silent epidemic" and an "invisible crisis" among low-income minority students. On a national level, the Black student population has about a 50 percent chance of earning a high school diploma within 4 years of entering ninth grade. In this project, researchers will further develop and refine an existing school-based program that uses a career education approach to facilitating school engagement and reducing school dropout, the Career Passport Program (CPP). This program was mandated as an exit credential for high school seniors in Ohio to prepare students for their adult work lives and to provide employers and colleges with information about their academic background. However, teachers and school administrators found the program difficult to implement and lacking in relevance to students. The goal of this project is to increase the feasibility and relevance of this program for high school students.
Project Activities: Working in a large urban area in Ohio that serves a largely Black community, the researchers will collaborate with high school teachers to modify the existing program in order to improve its feasibility and fidelity of implementation as well as its relevance to the program's stated purpose. The promise of the revised program for improving students' course grades, attendance, engagement with school, and career preparation will be assessed through a comparison of pre- and post-intervention assessments.
Products: Products of this project include a more feasible and relevant version of the Career Passport Program, a state-mandated exit credential for high school seniors in the state of Ohio. Peer reviewed publications will also be produced.
Setting: This study takes place in two high schools in Ohio.
Population: The sample includes 100 high school students and their respective language arts teachers.
Intervention: The Career Passport Program (CPP) is a school-to-work program that was state-mandated as an exit credential for high school graduation in Ohio. The existing program consists of three components: (1) resume development; (2) a personal career narrative that identifies career goals and steps to achieve them; and (3) a written verification of work-readiness skills. The research team will revise the program in collaboration with high school teachers and through pilot testing in two urban Ohio high schools to create lessons that are both feasible and relevant for increasing student engagement through this school-to-work program.
Research Design and Methods: Using a process of consensual qualitative research, the research team will work closely with high school language arts teachers to develop specific lessons on school-to-work trajectories that are engaging and meaningful for minority high school students. These lessons will be delivered in Freshman Composition and Junior English classrooms to gather data for further revisions to address program feasibility, fidelity, and relevance. Preliminary evidence of the program's promise for improving school grades, attendance, and engagement will be gathered through pre and post assessments.
Control Condition: There is no control condition.
Key Measures: Key measures include interviews, focus groups, observations, surveys and field notes to determine feasibility, fidelity and relevance. The research team will also look at school record data (grade point average and attendance) and school engagement (e.g., Identification with School Questionnaire). Career preparation will be assessed using school versions of the Career Planning and Knowledge subscales of the Career Development Inventory.
Data Analytic Strategy: Grounded theory analysis and summary statistics (e.g., mean ratings) will be used to refine the intervention and assess feasibility, fidelity, and relevance of the curriculum. T-tests and repeated measures analyses (analysis of variance and analysis of covariance) will be used to examine changes over time in school records, school engagement, and career preparation.