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A survey of rural and urban secondary students and their knowledge of higher education admissions criteria Mathison, Jennifer Nordene 1994

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A SURVEY OF RURAL AND URBAN SECONDARY STUDENTS AND THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF HIGHER EDUCATION ADMISSIONS CRITERIA by Jennifer Nordene Mathison B.P.E., University of British Columbia, 1985  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Counselling Psychology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  (_^PHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1994 ©Jennifer Nordene Mathison, 1994  In presenting this thesis  in partial fulfilment  of  the  requirements  for  an advanced  degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  It  is  understood  that  copying  or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of  (o v/\<,i I1 » r\/  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  V-») 3?/?<t  P$^C^Q  ^ ^  ABSTRACT This survey study utilized two self-report questionnaires for the purpose of clarifying the interdependent relationship among the following variables:  (a) the academic aspirations of junior and  senior secondary school students (b) their knowledge about British Columbia public college and university general academic admission criteria, (c) the geographical location of the students (urban or rural). Over all, the students who participated in the study showed high academic aspirations, but little awareness of the nature of post-secondary admissions policies.  Few students were fully aware of the open  admissions policies of their local community colleges and most students incorrectly identified most of the non-academic items (such as attitude and fitting in socially) as being important for admission. Students with post-secondary academic aspirations and urban students were more aware of the academic expectations of their local universities and colleges. Among males, grade nines, and students not planning to attend college or university, rural students were less knowledgable than urban students about post-secondary admission criteria.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  iii  LIST OF TABLES  vi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  vii  DEDICATION  *  ix  CHAPTER 1. Introduction  1  2 . Review of the Literature  8  Aspiration: A Theoretical Review  8  The Structuralist Perspective  8  The "Pushed from Behind" Perspective  9  The "Pulled from the Front" Perspective  10  The Interactive Perspective  11  Research Review  12  Rural Students and Academic Aspiration  13  Factors Enabling Access to Higher Education  13  Constraints to Post-secondary Education  15  Overcoming Contraints Through Counselling  16  Research Implications  18  Hypotheses  19  3 . Methodology  21  Sampling and Selection of Subjects  iii  21  Instrumentation  23  Post-secondary Education Quiz  24  Tell us about YOU  25  Administration  26  Data Analysis  28  Variables  28  Scoring  29  Results  32  Characteristics of the Sample  32  Student Knowledge of Admission Criteria  34  Admission Criteria Awareness: College vs. University  39  Knowledge of Admission Criteria: Rural vs. Urban Students  41  Knowledge of Admission Criteria and Academic Aspiration  47  Academic Aspiration: Rural vs. Urban Students  53  Relationships Between Gender, Grade, Area, Aspiration and Knowledge of Admission Criteria  54  Discussion  57  Student Knowledge of Admission Criteria  57  iv  Admission Criteria Awareness: College vs. University  68  Knowledge of Admission Criteria: Rural vs. Urban Students  69  Knowledge of Admission Criteria and Aspiration  71  Academic Aspiration: Rural vs. Urban Students  73  Relationships Between Gender, Grade, Area, Aspiration and Knowledge of Admission Criteria  74  Conclusion  74  REFERENCES  78  APPENDICES Appendix A - Post-Secondary Quiz  83  Appendix B - Tell us about YOU  87  Appendix C - Parental consent form  89  v  LIST OF TABLES Page Table 1: Post-secondary Quiz: Matrix of Scales and Raw Scores  31  Table 2: Post-graduation Aspirations: Frequencies and Percentages  34  Table 3: Response Frequency Counts for COLLEGE Items  36  Table 4: Response Frequency Counts for UNIVERSITY Items  37  Table 5: Response Frequencies: ACC and ACU Scales..40 Table 6: Quiz Scale Results: Rural vs. Urban Students  45  Table 7: Quiz Scale Results: Planning vs. Not Planning to Attend College or University  51  Table 8: Area X Plan Crosstabs of Frequency Counts and Percentages  VI  54  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS To Norm Amundson, Professor, Department of Counselling Psychology - Thank you for being exactly the kind of thesis advisor that I needed...patient, but frank...discerning, but flexible. Throughout the development of this thesis and the course work that preceded it, your sagacity and kindness have been instrumental sources of motivation for me. To Marv Westwood, Professor, Department of Counselling Psychology - Thank you for your positive contribution as a committee member and for immediately recognizing the value in this project, right at the proposal stage. Your clarity and encouragement have been sincerely appreciated. To John Dennison, Professor, Department of Higher Education - Thank you for bringing your good humour and expertise about higher education into this thesis committee. Your primary research leads proved to be essential to the theoretical foundations of this thesis. To Chan Choon Hian, Statistics Consultant, Education Computing Services - Thank you for spending generous amounts of time instructing me in the many facets of statistical analysis with the SPSS-X program. You are indeed a valuable asset to your department. To the students, teachers and administrators of Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, New Westminster and Cariboo Hill secondary schools - My heartfelt thanks to all of you for kindly taking the time to provide me with the most important component of this thesis...DATA. To Burnaby Clinic - Walter, Trish, Kath, Kate, Judy, Jane, Fred, Claire, Brigitte, Bev and Barb. Over the past few months, these co-workers have endured my daily "state of the thesis" reports and have accommodated my very irregular work schedule. Through the daily comaraderie that comes so naturally to our team and by "picking up the slack" during my frequent absences, you have all contributed to this thesis...Thank you.  vii  To my closest friends - Deneen, Ginny, Jane, Mary, Pindy, Shelley and Teresa. These tremendous women have provided every kind of assistance ranging from editing to computer wizardry to thesis examples to recreational relief to crisis counselling. Thanks to each of you for sharing this journey with me. To my relatives - My aunts, uncles, cousins an various step-people have also made their special contributions to this project, particularly in the form of out of town accommodation, insight into rural living, and "...so when are you going to finish that thesis of yours?". Much love and gratitude to all of you. To my immediate family - Dad, Rob and Jan. As father, brother and sister-in-law, you have provided a lifetime of encouragement that has led me to the fulfillment of this educational goal. As such, there is a part of each of you in this thesis. The love you have given and your examples of perserverance and growth will remain with me forever.  J.M. April, 1994  viii  TO THE MEMORY OF MY MOTHER Doris Isabel Mathison (nee Stenmark)  "It's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil"  ix  1  CHAPTER 1 Introduction This thesis has evolved out of many hours of dialogue with students, colleagues and academic professionals about student awareness of post-secondary admission criteria.  Most notably, a focus group that  took place at Burnaby Central Secondary School in October, 1992 stimulated a broad range of questions about how students perceive universities, colleges and their admissions processes. In brief, the purpose of the survey developed for this thesis project is to answer some of these questions by clarifying the interdependent relationship among the following variables:  (a) the academic aspirations of junior and  senior secondary school students (b) their knowledge about local college and university admission criteria, (c) the geographical environment of the students (urban or rural).  On October 22, 1992 a focus group was conducted at Burnaby Central Secondary School.  The purpose of this  group was to explore the assumptions held by secondary students about what qualifications public universities and colleges of B.C. look for when deciding which  2  applicants get accepted for general academic admission. This Consumer Education class of 25 grade 11 and 12 students offered some rather startling perspectives. The characteristics identified by this group as important for acceptance to colleges and universities included the following: 1. Marks and Courses.  The students were quick to  recognize that the attainment of high marks in academic course work was indeed vital to being accepted into university.  However, only one student in the group was  aware of the open admission policy of the nearest community college, whereby applicants with high school graduation or its equivilant are admitted on a first come first serve b a s i s — regardless of secondary school marks or course work. 2. Extraneous Academic Achievments.  Some of the  students in the group seemed intimidated by the prospect of having to compete for admission against students purported to have won scholarships and academic competitions such as the local science fair and the "Math Olympics".  Although these achievements  are likely to be indications of academic ability, they are not given any consideration in general admission to either college or university.  The students seemed  3  suprised to hear that it is possible to win a scholarship and then be denied admission to university due to academic deficiencies. 3. Elements of Character.  Many of the students  falsely perceived certain non-academic factors as being important to the university or college admissions processes.  Personal characteristics such as career  goals, volunteer work experience, and involvement in sports were assumed to be looked upon favorably by admissions personnel.  Lack of motivation, criminal  records, and "attitude problems" were seen as barriers to selection by the group. Personal characteristics relevant to specific programs might be required by certain professional schools within the college or university, such the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (U.B.C. Calendar, 1993).  However, some  students may have incorrectly generalized such criteria to other post-secondary programs.  Similarly, attitude  and effort, which are assessed on high school report cards, are not evaluated by universities and colleges for general  academic admission.  Indeed, universities consider only that information which is recorded on transcripts: marks and  4  courses.  In a review of college and university  admission literature, there were no requirements for students applying for general admission to provide information about themselves in the form of resumes, interviews and reference letters for any public institution in B.C.  Unfortunately, this was  unbeknownst to one student who had seen the American film Risky Business and was needlessly anxious about the prospect of having to undergo a gruelling interview for admission to Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Arts. 4. Having "connections".  High school teachers,  alumni parents, and university-college personnel were incorrectly identified as possible sources that could "put in a good word" for the prospective post-secondary student via letters of recommendation and "reference checks", neither of which are considered for general academic admission to any B.C. college or university. 5. Economic and cultural variables.  Some students  pointed to financial characteristics as factors in the admissions process.  One student assumed because a  relative had to send a bank statement to a British university to demonstrate the ability to pay for the tuition that she would have to do the same in order to  5  get accepted at a Canadian university.  Others  suggested that universities are "snobby", meaning that they favor the financially and socially advantaged.  No  students expressed any concerns that colleges or universities might be racist; in fact, one student said that it might be an advantage to come from a minority group, as she had heard of affirmative action quotas from the American television news.  Based on the responses from the focus group and the research covered in the Literature Review section of this thesis, several issues were identified regarding high school students and the pursuit of postsecondary education: 1. That students are generally uninformed about the nature of post-secondary admission criteria. Although students seem aware of the fact that universities evaluate applicants on the basis of the marks they receive in academic course work, they also hold false beliefs that colleges and universities evaluate students on the basis of arbitrary and irrelevant non-academic criteria to determine acceptance or rejection for general admission.  6  2. That students overestimate the academic criteria needed for general admission acceptance into B.C. community colleges.  In other words, they are  typically unaware of the fact that most of these colleges have open admission policies. 3. That students who are geographically or socially isolated are more likely to be misinformed about university and college admissions practices and are less likely to plan on attending. 4. That there is a relationship between the quantity of a student's knowledge of post-secondary admission criteria and whether or not she or he plans to proceed with their education after high school.  By way of survey research, this thesis shall endeavour to provide an exploration of these issues, perhaps establishing some of the rudiments for further quantitative study in this area. Because this study involves variables that relate so directly to academic and occupational success, the results could hold a number of different implications for adolescent life planning.  If students from  differing geographical backgrounds also differ in their awareness of information, then we are challenged to  7  consider how the obstacles that create those differences might be overcome.  From the results of  this study, certain subject characteristics could indicate a greater need for those individuals to be made aware of the facts about available academic options.  For example, students from rural communities  might prove to be less aware of open admission colleges.  This could illuminate a need for education  professionals (such as teachers, counsellors and college recruiters) to directly provide these students with information to proactively disspell myths about college and university admission criteria or to at least channel the development and access of certain information sources. This thesis is comprised of five chapters in total.  In addition to this introductory chapter,  further discussion of the research issues will be covered in the Review of the Literature in Chapter Two. Chapters Three and Four are concerned with Methodology and Results, respectively.  The fifth chapter will  provide a discussion of the results as they relate to the research issues addressed in the first two chapters.  8  CHAPTER 2 Review of the Literature Aspiration: A Theoretical Review It is self-evident that individuals differ for many reasons in their orientation towards obtaining a college or university degree.  The choice to pursue an  advanced education is highly personal, yet is made within an inextricable social context.  Poole and  Cooney (1985) emphasize that "...personal possibilities for self cannot be perceived as related merely to the development of personality or self concept factors. Rather they need to be seen as embedded within a framework of social environmental factors which influence the construction of perceived personal possibilities." (p.261). Gambetta (1987) explores several theoretical perspectives about the role of sociological factors in influencing individual educational decision making.  He  examines two views that emphasize the role of sociological phenomena over the actions of the individual as the agent of educational outcome. The Structuralist Perspective First, there is the structuralist  view that negates the  role of choice on the grounds that options are limited  9  by constraints external to the individual, namely macro-economic conditions.  Gambetta states that  structuralist perspectives, which often bear Marxist political biases, are typically limited by dubious theoretical concepts which do not even attempt to empirically rule out variables which might influence the individual psychology of personal decision making. The "Pushed from Behind" Perspective The second view he terms as the pushed  from  behind  approach whereby individuals subconsciously drift into certain options in response to insidious social influences, such as cultural norms and mores.  Gambetta  criticizes this view for its assumption that the individual is oblivious to the forces that influence his or her decisions.  While Gambetta is skeptical of  the harsh determinism of these two views, he recognizes that there are indeed social and economic constraints within which educational decisions are made.  He  acknowledges that while neither of these views can stand on its own in explaining individual educational choices, both the structural and "pushed from behind" perspectives respectively offer both economic and cultural  causation  causation  as plausible influences in  individual decision making.  10  The "Pulled from the Front" Perspective In contrast to these two theories, Gambetta (1987) acknowledges the validity of a pulled  from  the  front  perspective, whereby individuals are drawn to certain educational options to fulfill evolutionary drives to maximize the acquisition of commodities (material and otherwise).  He examines the conflicting views within  this theoretical perspective which makes assumptions about the nature of rational choice.  Gambetta is  critical of theorists who generalize that human beings will rationally choose to maximize the acquisition of material commodities merely through the semi-conscious negotiation of individual preferences within sociological constraints.  He instead suggests that  people are drawn to certain vocational options for reasons other than economic gain (i.e. job satisfaction).  He also observes that rationality is  not only a function of adapting preferences to constraints but is used also to voice resistance toward those constraints, in that many individuals have refused to accept socio-economic limitations and have worked politically towards their eradication.  11  Interactive Perspectives Despite long-standing deterministic traditions in macro-economic theory, Gambetta (1987) champions the forces within the individual agent as important determinants of educational outcome.  Even at the  collective level educational outcome is what Harnqvist (1978, p. 9) describes as "...the aggregation of a great number of decisions at the individual level...", thus acknowledging that as much can be learned about society by examining the individual as vice versa. However, Gambetta recognizes the enormity of socioeconomic forces in limiting and influencing the individual.  He points to the many exceptions in  sociological trends, yet he looks beyond the individual or micro-level in explaining educational choice and calls for what could be considered a more holistic outlook on educational choice that empirically considers both "pushing" and "pulling" factors that operate at the level of both the society and the individual. Other theorists offer interactional perspectives on the mechanisms of aspiration.  Coleman acknowledges  the validity of sociological theories that "...explain the way action is shaped, constrained and re-directed  12  by the social context" and the views from the economic disciplines that offer "...a priniciple of action, that of maximizing utility" (1988, p.95).  Amundson's (in  press) interactive model of career decision making provides another integrated theoretical perspective, in that socio-economic contraints, as well as the individual's self structure, are both considered as factors in the determining contexts that underlie the decision making process.  More importantly, Amundson  puts much emphasis on the individual's perceptual and behavioural responses to the determining contexts.  Research Review This thesis entails the examination of individual variables (the awareness of admission criteria and the aspiration to pursue post-secondary education) within a sociological context (rural vs. urban environment). The following research review will examine assumptions about the enabling factors and the constraints that act upon the academic orientation of the individual, particularly in regards to rural vs. urban environments.  13  Rural Students and Academic Aspiration It has long been assumed that the rural environment presents constraints to the pursuit of post-secondary education.  Rural students have  historically been shown to have generally lower educational aspirations and have been underrepresented at Canadian post-secondary institutions (Clark, Cook, Fallis and Kent, 1969; Breton, 1972).  Anisef,  Bertrand, Hortian, and James (1985) cite statistics which indicate that from the early seventies to the early eighties, the gap between rural and urban postsecondary participation rates has narrowed for Alberta and widened for British Columbia.  In both provinces,  rural students continue to be underrepresented when compared to their urban counterparts.  A 1988 report  commissioned by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training indicated lower rates of transition from high school to post-secondary non-vocational programs for rural students in most of the areas of the province. Factors Enabling Access to Higher Education Bellamy (1992) examined a number of variables that influence post-high school status.  The strongest  predictor variables related to academic capital, such  14  as grade point average and curricular differentiation. More complex analyses of the causal relationships among many variables examined revealed the multi-faceted nature of parental influence.  Parents also emerged as  primary sources of both cultural capital (i.e. by cultivating dispositions toward higher education) and social capital (i.e. by providing information and encouragement).  Results from Bellamy's interview data  suggest that students who had parents as strong sources of primary social capital were more likely to develop strong secondary social capital relationships with educational professionals who could provide guidance toward post-secondary education. In order to provide post-secondary education to those who lack the academic, cultural and social capital necessary for university admission, British Columbia has over the past several decades acquired a system of community colleges with open admission policies (Dennison and Gallagher, 1986).  However, they  identify small communities, among other special needs populations, as being a ready target for cutbacks during times of economic restraint; they state (p.165), "It is a fact that the public colleges have not yet  15  become the social equalizers and democratizing agents claimed by their earliest proponents." Constraints to Post-secondary Education Lower educational aspiration and participation rates for rural students have predicated a considerable amount of literature about the structural constraints to post-secondary education, particularly those which indicate economic causation.  Among Ontario youth,  Anisef, Paasche, and Turrittin (198 0) found that the depressed economic conditions of certain rural communities combined with the distance from postsecondary institutions augmented the hardship for rural students in Ontario who might otherwise aspire to advanced education.  Calam and Fleming (1988)  illustrate the extra financial burden on out-of-town rural students attending the University of Victoria in 1985, claiming a cost differential of over $17,000 for a four year degree. Limited financial resources present constraints for the rural student that are more directly observable than social and cultural causation factors.  According  to Odell (1988), although rural youth have high aspirations, there are certain socio-cultural elements commonly working against them, such as low parental  16  educational attainments, low socio-economic status and gender stereotyped academic orientation.  These  characteristics are indeed contrary to the social and cultural capital identified by Bellamy (1992) as promoting a disposition towards higher education.  She  found that limited capital not only impeded ascent to advanced education but prevented individuals from recognizing opportunities that were available to them. Thus, regardless of potential or opportunity, some would-be students might be limiting themselves needlessly: "...inertial forces can act on the perception of the available alternatives by restricting the possibilities of evaluating and processing relevant information about available options." (Gambetta, 1987). These issues holds ominous implications when one considers that information is a form of capital and that the onus is largely placed on junior and senior secondary school students to seek their own life planning information, instead of being sought out by counsellors and other resource personnel (Powell, Farrar and Cohen, 1985) . Overcoming Contraints Through Counselling In clarifying the pathways to decision making, Bellamy (1992) describes the counsellor as a source  17  secondary social capital that may contribute to student dispositions and beliefs about post-secondary education, especially in regard to knowledge about curricular guidance and post-secondary prerequisites. Lee and Eckstrom (1987) found that among other potentially less advantaged groups (such as lower SES and black students) rural students were the least likely to have received guidance counselling at the junior high school level for program planning and were less likely to be influenced by counsellors at the senior high school level for post-graduation planning. Furthermore, they found that access to counselling has a significantly positive relationship to placement in an academic curricular stream in junior high school. Although Lee and Ekstrom recognize that while they were able to measure how many students received counselling, they were unable to quantify the content of counselling, what the students learned from it, or how it impacted their decision making.  Nor were they  able to glean any demographic data about how different students experience educational counselling.  18  Research Implications Considerable data have been produced to indicate the structural limitations on access to post-secondary opportunities for rural students.  However, with the  exception of Bellamy's research, the present body of research lacks an exploration of what students know about these limitations.  Just as Gambetti's analogy  illustrates the dilemma of whether research should focus on the fence (the structural constraints) or what the cows (individuals) do within it, there seems to be an oversight in the literature on how the "cows" actually perceive the "fence". left unanswered.  Numerous questions are  How do rural students feel about  constraints to post-secondary education? know about those constraints?  What do they  Do they possess false  information about those constraints, perhaps seeing constraints that aren't really there? This thesis will attempt to answer some of these questions.  Determining what students know about the  challenges of getting accepted into a college or university might well indicate whether misperception is indeed a preventable constraint for less advantaged individuals who might have otherwise pursued a postsecondary education.  Given that counsellors are common  19  disseminators of academic and career planning information in the high school setting, an examination of student knowledge in this area could illuminate possible gaps in service. Hypotheses Based upon the research issues identified in this chapter and from the responses of the focus group described in Chapter One, six null hypotheses were developed for this thesis: HI: Students do not lack important information about college and university admissions criteria. H2: Students are equally aware of the importance placed upon academic criteria for admission to college and to university. H3: Students in rural environments do not differ from students in urban environments in the accuracy of their knowledge about post-secondary admission criteria. H4: Students who plan to attend college or university do not differ in the accuracy of their knowledge about post-secondary admissions criteria from students who do not plan to attend college or university  20  H5: Students from rural environments do not differ from urban students in their plans to pursue postsecondary academic aspirations. H6: There is no relationship between grade, geographical area and post-secondary academic aspiration in student knowledge of college and university admission criteria.  21  CHAPTER 3 Methodology Sampling and selection of subjects. A sample of 363 subjects (herein referred to as students)  were drawn from the B.C. population of grade  nine and grade eleven junior-senior secondary school students.  One half of this B.C. sample came from the  Greater Vancouver Regional District (specifically from the school districts of Burnaby and New Westminster). Students from the Vancouver Island communities of Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan (both towns with a population of less than 10,000) comprised the rural sample, representing the other half of the total sample.  Given that this study focussed on a limited  sample of 184 rural and 179 urban students from a total of four communities in southwestern B.C., the results can be generalized only to these particular populations. Due to numerous constraints that pertain mostly to time limitations and school board policy, true random samplng procedures were not possible for this thesis project.  Instead, entire English and Social Studies  classes were surveyed at schools by way of cluster sampling (Borg and Gall, 1983).  English and Social  22  Studies classes were chosen because they are required courses that are taken by all grade nine and eleven students.  However, special attention was given to the  streams of these classes, to ensure that a systematic bias was not created by sampling students in enriched or remedial programs.  A total of 16 classes was  sampled, all of which could best be described as "regular stream". Grade nine students were chosen for the junior secondary segment of the study as they are still in the early stages of their secondary education, they have not yet become fully entrenched in the academic vs. non-academic educational orientation that comes from selecting requisite courses for higher education, as would be the case at the senior secondary level.  Grade  nine students are temporally close enough to senior high school to anticipate the critical academic and career decision making processes that await them, yet they are less likely to have already encountered guidance in these areas than grade ten students who are about to make the transition to senior secondary school. Grade eleven students were selected for the senior secondary segment of the study because they have  23  recently been through the decision making process about selecting courses that may orient them in the direction of certain post-secondary academic options.  Data  gleaned from these students could perhaps provide some insight into the outcome of this process, as it relates to the expressed plan to pursue post-secondary education.  Instrumentation Two instruments created by the writer were administered on one occasion to each student, The Secondary  Education  Quiz  Post  (see Appendix A) and a  personal information questionnaire titled Tell  us  about  YOU (see Appendix B ) . There are a number of limitations pertaining to the instrumentation developed for the study.  First,  the utilization of any self-report questionnaire as a means of measurement bears some inherent limitations in that the objectivity of the data collected is compromised by the biases and oversights of the subjects' own perceptions.  One focus group and two  pilot tests were administered in developing these instruments to minimize misunderstandings and ambiguities attributable to the instrument.  24  Second, given that the nature of the study involves the quantification of information vs. misinformation, post-secondary admission criteria are by mo means static, as standards may change from year to year. Post Secondary Education Quiz The purpose of this instrument is to test the accuracy of knowledge that students have about college and university admission requirements. This questionnaire tests the extent to which students perceive certain criteria as important in the acceptance of applicants into general admission programs at B.C. community colleges and universities. As stated in Chapter One, B.C. universities base general admission standards for Canadian and landed immigrant applicants solely on marks in specified academic course work.  Most colleges require only high  school graduation, its equivilant or mature student status (regardless of marks or academic performance). This questionnaire will thus measure the extent to which the subjects either correctly negate or incorrectly overestimate the importance of academic requirements for college as well as false requirements for college and university.  non-academic  25  In regards to content validity, false non-academic requirements were chosen for this questionnaire on the basis of responses from the Burnaby Central focus group discussed in Chapter One.  Items chosen for the  questionnaire are judged important  or not  important  based upon information gleaned from the 199 3/94 calendars of the community colleges closest to the schools surveyed (Malaspina College and Douglas College) and all three of B.C.'s public universities (UBC, SFU and UVIC). Tell us about YOU The purpose of this second questionnaire is to provide a set of independent variables that may relate to the dependent variable of student knowledge of college and university admission criteria, as measured by the Post-Secondary Education Quiz.  Several subsets  of variables are measured by this instrument: 1. Miscellaneous demographic and personal variables measured include gender, age and grade (for sample verification purposes). 2. Academic and career aspirations after leaving high school (for the purpose of determining whether or not the students plan on pursuing post-secondary education).  26  3. Geographical data.  This information is  recorded on this questionnaire via school name, as the schools selected bear the status of either rural or urban.  Students are also asked to record the name of  the community in which they reside to further ensure geographical residential status.  Administration The administration of the survey has been designed to be as brief and as simple as possible. earlier under Sampling,  As stated  the two instruments were to be  administered to a minimum of 3 00 grade nine and eleven students during their English or Social Studies class, occupying no more than 15 minutes of class time.  Brief  verbal and written instructions emphasized that the quiz pertains only to general academic admission to the public universities and colleges in British Columbia. There are numerous ethical considerations involving the adminstration of these instruments. Secondary students are almost always minors and as such, require permission slips from parents (see Appendix C ) .  Following ethical review by the U.B.C.  Behavioral Sciences Screening Committee, authorization to conduct research in the schools would also require  27  school board ethics approval, as well as the cooperation of school officials. The secondary school environment promotes a certain degree of compliance to adult authority.  As  the researcher could be perceived by the students as an adult authority figure, extra effort was required to communicate to the students that participation, in whole or in part, was optional.  Indeed a sincere  attempt was made to ensure sensitive wording was used for the questionnaires, that they may be ageappropriate as well as free of culture and gender bias. The questionnaires clearly state that the information collected will be kept confidential.  This  means that only the researcher and her advisors are allowed to view the individual questionnaires and that the questionnaires will be destroyed upon final submission of the thesis.  The instruments also stress  that the purpose of the survey is to evaluate the students as a group  rather than to test individuals  that the results will not  and  affect their academic marks.  Immediately after the students completed the questionnaires, they were debriefed about the meaning of the study and given the correct answers to the quiz. This was particularly important in that regardless of  28  how students perform, the mere experience of being tested about this subject matter might put some students at the risk of drawing false conclusions about themselves and post-secondary education. Letters of thanks and summaries of the results were sent to each class and school official involved.  Data Analysis Variables In order to test the hypotheses listed in Chapter 2, data analysis occurs on two independent variables and on one set of dependent variables: 1. Geographic location: urban or rural (source instrument: Tell us about YOU). 2. Post-secondary academic aspirations: planning or not planning to attend college and/or university (source instrument: Tell us about YOU). 3. Knowledge of college and university admission criteria, as indicated by eight scales and a total score described in Table 1 (source instrument: Postsecondary Education Quiz).  29  Scoring Whereas geographic location and post-secondary academic aspiration are simple, binomial independent variables, knowledge of college and university admission criteria (as per the Post-secondary Education Quiz) is a more complex dependent variable requiring specific scoring procedures. The Post-secondary Education Quiz is scored by weighting each question equally with a raw score of one (note: since each question has two parts - college and university - each part yields a raw score of one, as they are treated as separate questions).  These  seventeen two part questions create a maximum total raw score of 34. The questions on the quiz are "dual choice", in that students are presented with possible academic criteria that they must identify as "important" or "not important".  Whereas one of the main objectives of this  thesis is to examine the extent to which students overestimate the importance of mythical qualifications, all items except two will require "not important" as a correct response.  The two only items requiring the  "important" response are having good marks (item # 1 ) , and taking certain kinds of courses (item #3), both of  30  which are important for admission to university but not college.  All of the correct answers are noted on the  master copy of the quiz, which can be found in Appendix A. The quiz results can be broken down into scales as illustrated by the matrix in Table 1.  The scales can  be described as follows: 1. Academic criteria for college (ACC): item 1college, and item 3-college.  Total raw score= 2.  2. Academic criteria for university (ACU): item 1university, and item 3:-university.  Total raw score= 2  3. Academic criteria total (ACT): item 1-college and university, item 3-college and university. Total raw score= 4. 4. Non-academic criteria for college (NACC): item 2-college, items 4 to 17 for college.  Total raw  score: 15. 5. Non-academic criteria for university (NACU): item 2-university, items 4 to 17 for university. Total raw score: 15. 6. Non-academic criteria total (NACT): item 2college and university, items 4 to 17 for college and university.  Total raw score: 30.  31  7. Total academic and non-academic criteria for college (ACNACC): items 1 to 17 for college. Total raw score: 17. 8. Total academic and non-academic criteria for university (ACNACU): items 1 to 17 for university. Total raw score: 17. 9. Total score for all items (ACNACT): 34.  Table 1 Post-secondary Quiz: Matrix of Scales and Raw Scores  Items  Acad.  College  2  15  17  (ACC)  (NACC)  (ACNACC)  2  15  17  (ACU)  (NACU)  (ACNACU)  4  30  34  (ACT)  (NACT)  (ACNACT)  University  Total  Non-acad.  Total  32  CHAPTER 4 Results Characteristics of the Sample In total, 3 63 students were surveyed.  The rural  sample was comprised of 50.7 percent (n=184) of these students, and the urban students made up the other 49.3 percent (n=179) of the sample.  A total of sixteen  classes (class size ranged from 18 to 28 students) participated from four schools: Ladysmith Secondary School (n=92), Lake Cowichan Secondary School (n=92), New Westminster Secondary School (n=86), Cariboo Hill Secondary School (n=93).  In each of the schools  selected for the survey, four English or Social Studies classes were sampled, two for grade nine and two for grade eleven.  This yielded a total sample of 175 grade  nine students and 188 grade eleven students. The response rate varied for many of the items on both of the instruments.  Six of the students refused  to participate, submitted blank or spoiled forms, but were counted into the sample on the variables of area, school, class and grade.  These students and others who  skipped some of the questions account for the range of seven to twelve missing cases on the frequency data for the 34 test items on the Post-secondary Quiz.  There  33  were only six missing cases for each of the nine scales on the quiz. In regards to gender, females (n=185) outnumbered males (n=169) among those who responded to the item. However, there were nine blank responses to this question. The multiple choice item that was intended to measure post-graduation aspirations yielded some rather creative responses.  Many of the students chose more  than one response, as indicated below in Table 2. Where students had chosen an educational option (college, university, training) as well as the option "job", the latter was not coded into the data entry, because it is self-evident that employment would preceed or follow educational pursuits. Evidently, many students chose both college and univesity, sometimes drawing arrows or notes to indicate a plan to transfer from college to university. To further simplify data analysis, student responses were coded to indicate whether or not a student had chosen either college or university in their postgraduation plans.  This is the variable used in the  testing of the hypotheses throughout the remainder of this chapter.  Table 2 Post-graduation Aspirations; Frequencies and Percentages  (n)  Percent  Aspiration Job  25  7.1  College  113  32.0  University  150  42.5  Training  43  12.2  Undecided  57  16.1  Missing cases  10  2.7  398  112.6  Total  Student Knowledge of Admission Criteria HI: Students do not lack important information about college and university admissions criteria. This hypothesis was tested by way of descriptive statistics.  Upon completion of data collection  (n=3 63), frequencies were calculated for each of the 3 dual choice items (17 items requiring responses for both college and univesity), providing a breakdown of the total number of correct vs. incorrect responses.  35  Four categories were created to grade the accuracy of the total sample in answering each item for college and university, as illustrated in Tables 3 & 4. The post-secondary quiz is similar to a true-false test in that respondents are required to mark or not  important  for each test item.  important  For all but 2  items (#l-college and #3-college), the correct answer in every case was "not important".  Gustav (1963)  identified a "response bias" in true-false test items whereby 62 percent of respondents would select "true" when they did not know the correct answer to a question.  Therefore the first category is comprised of  questions that were answered correctly by more than 7 0 percent of the respondents.  Another category consists  of questions answered incorrectly by more than 7 0 percent of those who responded.  Two central categories  were created to include questions that received 50 to 70 percent correct responses and 50 to 70 percent incorrect responses.  36  Table 3 Response Frequency Counts for COLLEGE Items Greater than 70% Correct 09) Being from a certain ethnic background: 9 3.0% correct 07.0% incorrect 10) Having parents who have a lot of money: 90.7% correct 09.3% incorrect 05) Having parents who attended college or university: 88.5% correct 11.5% incorrect 11) Knowing "the right people" at the college: 80.0% correct 2 0.0% incorrect 50-70% Correct 04) Involvement in extra-curricular activities: 58.7% correct 41.3% incorrect 08) Having a scholarship: 50.6% correct 49.4% incorrect 50-70% Incorrect 12) Winning awards and academic competitions: 49.9% correct 50.1% incorrect 06) Not having a criminal record: 46.5% correct 53.5% incorrect 02) Getting letters of recommendation from teachers: 41.8% correct 58.2% incorrect 14) Showing a strong likelihood of fitting into the social environment of the post-secondary institution: 40.9% correct 59.1% incorrect 07) Demonstrate that you can pay for your education: 40.7% correct 59.3% incorrect Greater than 70% Incorrect 03) Taking certain kinds of courses: 28.0% correct 72.0% incorrect 17) Having certain career goals: 26.4% correct 73.6% incorrect 15) Demonstration of good character and citizenship: 21.7% correct 78.3% incorrect 16) High level of motivation: 18.2% correct 81.8% incorrect 01) Having good marks: 15.3% correct 84.7% incorrect 13) Positive attitude towards academic work: 07.9% correct 92.1% incorrect  37  Table 4 Response Frequency Counts for UNIVERSITY Items Greater than 70% Correct 01) Having good marks: 98.9% correct 01.1% incorrect 03) Taking certain kinds of courses: 90.4% correct 09.6% incorrect 09) Being from a certain ethnic background: 90.4% correct 09.6% incorrect 05) Having parents who attended college or university: 81.9% correct 18.1% incorrect 10) Having parents who have a lot of money: 77.5% correct 22.5% incorrect 11) Knowing "the right people" at the university: 73.4% correct 26.6% incorrect 50-70% Incorrect 04) Involvement in extra-curricular activities: 47.9% correct 52.1% incorrect 06) Not having a criminal record: 35.0% correct 65.0% incorrect 14) Showing a strong likelihood of fitting into the social environment of the post-secondary institution: 34.5% correct 65.5% incorrect 08) Having a scholarship: 32.1% correct 67.9% incorrect 12) Winning awards and academic competitions: 30.7% correct 69.3% incorrect Greater than 70% Incorrect 07) Demonstrate that you can pay for your education: 29.9% correct 70.1% incorrect 02) Getting letters of recommendation from teachers: 16.7% correct 83.3% incorrect 15) Demonstration of good character and citizenship: 16.3% correct 83.7% incorrect 17) Having certain career goals: 13.0% correct 87.0% incorrect 16) High level of motivation: 11.6% correct 88.4% incorrect 13) Positive attitude towards academic work: 07.3% correct 92.7% incorrect  38  Response frequencies for the 34 items on the postsecondary quiz indicate that students answered questions incorrectly more often than correctly.  Only  ten of these 34 items were answered correctly by more than 7 0 percent of the students, and two items were answered correctly by 50-70 percent of the students. Twelve items were answered incorrectly by over 70 percent of the students and ten more were answered incorrectly by 50-70 percent of the students. The larger incorrect response categories reveal "knowledge gaps" in a number of important content areas, particularly in regards to college academic admission criteria.  For college, "not important" would  have been the correct response to "1) Having good marks" and "3) Taking certain kinds of courses", however, more than 70 percent of all students answered these two questions incorrectly, thus reflecting a lack of awareness of the open admission policies of the colleges that exist in the communities closest to the students surveyed.  Furthermore, all other items that  received greater than 70 percent incorrect responses were, in essence, "false positives" in that students were identifying irrelevant, non-academic characteristics as being important to the college or  39  university admissions process.  Therefore the null  hypothesis must be rejected.  Admission Criteria Awareness: College vs. University H2: Students are equally aware of the importance placed upon academic criteria for admission to both college and university. T-tests were used to determine the difference between student awareness of college and university admission criteria.  In comparing the total sample  (n=356) results on two subscales of the post-secondary quiz, the academic criteria scale for university (ACU) yielded a significantly higher mean (t=35.49, df=355, p<.000) than the academic criteria scale for college (ACC).  These results would indicate that students are  more aware of the fact that certain courses and marks are important for admission to universities and that they are less aware that colleges (as per open admissions policies) do not consider marks and courses to be important for general admission. As both ACC and ACU are three point scales with a maximum raw score of two, the response frequencies noted in Table 5 illustrate the extent to which students are unaware (0), partially aware (1) or fully  40  aware (2) of the academic criteria for college and university.  Table 5 Response Frequencies: ACC and ACU Scales  Raw Scores  ACC  ACU  0  225 (62.0%)  3 (00.8%)  1  109 (30.0%)  36 (09.9%)  2  22 (06.1%)  318 (87.6%)  7 (01.9%)  6 (01.7%)  missing  Total  363 (100%)  363 (100%)  Total sample results (n=356) for the non-academic criteria subscales (each with a maximum raw score of 15) manifested a significantly lower mean (t=28.74, df=355, p<.000) for university (NACU mean=5.92) than for college (NACC mean=7.50).  Scores on both of these  scales measure the extent to which students correctly identify irrelevant, non-academic characteristics as being unimportant to the college/university admissions process.  These results suggest that students  41  overestimated the importance of these unrequired credentials for university more so than for college Therefore, this hypothesis can be rejected.  Knowledge of Admission Criteria: Rural vs. Urban Students H3: Students in rural environments do not differ from students in urban environments in the accuracy of their knowledge about post-secondary admission criteria. T-tests were used to compare the rural and urban samples on the total score of the post-secondary quiz and on several subscales within the quiz.  Results are  summarized in Table 6. For the scale that measures knowledge of academic criteria for college (ACC), the rural students (n=181) did not differ significantly from the urban students (n=175) in their accuracy of knowledge (t=-1.01, df=354, p>.313). The scale of academic criteria for university (ACU), yielded insignificant differences between the rural (n=182) and urban (n=175) students in their accuracy of knowledge (t=-1.71, df=355 p>.089).  42  With respective means of 2.25 and 2.38, rural students (n=182) scored significantly lower than urban students (n=175) on the ACT scale which represents knowledge of academic criteria for both college and university and is an aggregate of the aforementioned ACC and ACU scales (t=2.00, df=355, p<.046).  Among  grade nine students (t=-2.40, df=170, p<.017), males (t=-2.12, df=167, p<.035), and students with no plans to attend college or university (t=-2.63, df=112, p<.010), the differences were even more pronounced between rural and urban students.  However, there were  no significant differences between rural and urban students for females (t=-.82, df=183, p>.415), grade elevens (t=-.46, df=183, p>.649), and students with plans to attend college or university (t=-1.21, df=237, p>.227) . On the NACC scale, which measures awareness of the irrelevancy of non-academic criteria for admission to college, there were no significant general differences between rural (n=182) and urban (n=175) students (t=1.45, df=355, p>.149).  However, urban students scored  significantly higher than rural students among males (t=-2.12, df=167, p<.034), grade nines (t=-2.34,  43  df=170, p<.020), and students with no plans to attend college or university (t=-2.57, df=112, p<.012). The NACU scale measures the extent to which students are aware that non-academic criteria are unimportant to the university admissions process.  On  this scale no significant differences were detected (t=-1.37, df=355, p>.172) between rural students (n=182) and urban students (n=175).  However, urban  males scored significantly higher than rural males (t=2.10, df=167, p<.037). On the NACT scale, aggregate of the NACC and NACU scales, there were no significant general differences (t=-1.55, df=355, p>.123) between rural students (n=182) and urban students (n=175).  Yet there were  significant differences whereby urban males scores higher than rural males (t=-2.29, df=167, p<.023), and among students with no plans to attend college or university urban students scored higher than rural students (t=-2.15, df=112, p<.033). For the ACNACC scale, comprising all 17 academic and non-academic items relating to college, no significant general differences emerged (t=-1.54, df=355, p>.124) between rural students (n=182) or urban students (n=175).  Again, urban students scored  44  significantly higher than rural students among males (t=-2.36, df=167, p<.019), grade nines (t=-2.35, df=170, p<.020), and students with no plans to attend college or university (t=-2.67, df=112, p<.009). The ACNACU scale, which is the sum total of all 17 academic and non-academic items for university, evidenced no significant differences (t=-1.64, df=355, p>.101) between rural (n=182) or urban (n=175) students.  Urban males scored significantly lower than  rural males on this scale (t=-2.20, df=167, p<.029). The total of all 34 test items (ACNACT) revealed no significant general differences (t=-1.81, df=355, p<.071) between rural students (n=182) and urban students (n=175).  For this over-all test score, urban  students scored significantly higher than rural students among males (t=-2.59, df=167, p<.010), grade nines (t=-2.07, df=170, p<.040), and students with no plans to attend college or university (t=-2.41, df=112, p<.017).  Table 6 Quiz Scale Results: Rural vs. Urban Students  Scale  t  df  p  ACC  -1.01  354  >.313  ACU  -1.71  355  >.089  ACT  2.00  355  <.046*  NACC  -1.45  355  >.149  NACU  -1.37  355  <.172  NACT  -1.55  355  <.123  ACNACC  -1.54  355  <.124  ACNACU  -1.64  355  <.101  ACNACT  -1.81  355  <.071  *p<.05.  There were some differences between rural and urban students in responding to certain items.  A chi  square test of each item by area resulted in significant differences on several items. For item #8, which addresses the non-importance o "having a scholarship" for admission to university, urban students (n=175) showed significantly larger  46  proportions of correct responses and smaller proportions of incorrect responses than rural students (n=180).  Chi square value=4.968, df=l, p<.026.  Item #11, which pertains to "knowing the right people at the college or university" evidenced significantly greater proportions of rural students (n=181) than urban students (n=174) correctly recognizing this characteristic as "not important" for admission to college (chi square value=7.33, df=l, p<.007). Urban students (n=180) received significantly greater proportions of correct scores than rural students (n=175) on item #12 whereby "winning academic awards and competitions" is "not important" for admission to university (chi square value=5.584, df=l, p<.018). Urban students (n=174) differed significantly (chi square value=8.53, df=l, p<.003) from rural students (n=179) by receiving higher proportions of correct answers on item 16 "High level of motivation" (not important for university). Although general differences did not emerge on most items and scales, there were some significant differences between rural and urban students.  These  47  differences were most apparent on the ACT scale and on six of the 3 4 quiz items.  Differences also emerged as  the sample was broken down by aspiration, grade and gender.  As such, males, grade nines and students who  had not expressed plans to attend college or university evidenced more pronounced differences in knowledge of academic criteria between rural and urban students. Therefore, the null hypothesis can be rejected.  Knowledge of Admission Criteria and Aspiration H4: Students who plan to attend college or university do no differ in the accuracy of their knowledge about post-secondary admissions criteria than students who do not plan to attend college or university. T-tests were used to compare all of the students in the sample who plan to attend college or university from those who do not plan to attend college or university on the total score of the post-secondary quiz and on several subscales within the quiz.  Results  are summarized in Table 7. For the academic criteria for college scale (ACC), the students who plan to attend college or university (n=239) did not differ significantly from the students  48  who do not have plans to attend (n=113) in their accuracy of knowledge (t=1.59, df=350, p>.112). The scale that measures knowledge of academic criteria for university (ACU), yielded non-significant differences between students planning to attend (n=2 39) from students not planning to attend (n=114) in their accuracy of knowledge (t=1.24, df=351, p>.217). With respective means of 2.2 0 and 2.36, students who have no plans to attend college or university (n=114) scored significantly lower than students who do have plans to attend (n=239) on the ACT scale which represents knowledge of academic criteria for both college and university and is an aggregate of the aforementioned ACC and ACU scales (t=2.35, df=351, p<.02).  It should be noted that among urban students,  there were no significant differences on this scale between students planning to attend and those not planning to attend (t=1.07, df=171, p>.285).  Whereas,  among rural students, differences were significant between these two groups (t=2.56, df=178, p<.011). On the NACC scale, which measures awareness of the irrelevancy of non-academic criteria for admission to college, there were no significant differences (t=.56,  49  df=351, p>.577) between students planning to attend (n=2 39) and students not planning to attend (n=114). The NACU scale measures the extent to which students are aware that non-academic criteria are unimportant to the university admissions process.  On  this scale no significant differences were detected (t=-.63, df=351, p>.527) between students with academic post-secondary plans (n=239) and those without (n=114). On the NACT scale, aggregate of the NACC and NACU scales, there were no significant differences (t=-.03, df=3 51, p>.976) between students who plan to attend college or university (n=239) and students who do not have such plans (n=114). For the ACNACC scale, comprising all 17 academic and non-academic items relating to college, no significant differences emerged (t=.87, df=351, p>.385) between students who are planning to attend college or university (n=239) from those who are not planning to attend (n=114).  However, among rural students, those  planning to attend college or university scored significantly better than those not planning to attend (t=2.12, df=178, p<.035). The ACNACU scale, which is the sum total of all 17 academic and non-academic items for university,  50  evidenced no significant differences (t=-.46, df=351, p>.643) between students with (n=239) or without (n=114) post-secondary academic aspirations. The total score over all 3 4 test items (ACNACT) revealed no significant differences (t=.22, df=351, p>.829) between students who plan to attend college or university (n=239) and those who do have such plans (n=114).  51  Table 7 Quiz Scale Results: Planning vs. Not Plannincf to Attend College or University  Scales  t  df  p  ACC  1.59  350  >.112  ACU  1.24  351  >.217  ACT  2.35  351  <.02*  NACC  .56  351  >.577  NACU  -.63  351  >.527  NACT  -.03  351  >.976  ACNACC  .87  351  >.385  ACNACU  -.46  351  >.643  ACNACT  .22  351  >.829  *p<.05.  There were some differences in responses to certain items between students who plan to attend college or university and those who do not have such plans.  A chi square test of each item by aspiration  resulted in significant differences on several items. For item #8, which addresses the non-importance of "having a scholarship" for admission to college,  52  students planning to attend college or university (n=2 39) showed significantly larger proportions of correct responses and smaller proportions of incorrect responses than students who were not planning to attend (n=113).  Chi square value=8.57, df=l, p<.003.  Item #10, which pertains to "having parents who have a lot of money" evidenced significantly greater proportions of students with college or university aspirations (n=2 38) than students without such aspirations (n=113) in correctly recognizing this characteristic as "not important" for admission to college (chi square value=10.75, df=l, p<.001). Students who did not express plans to attend college or university (n=113) actually received significantly greater proportions of correct scores than students who did express post secondary academic aspirations (n=239) on item #13 whereby "showing a positive attitude towards academic work" is "not important" for admission to university (chi square value=9.61, df=l, p<.002). Although general differences did not emerge on most items and scales, there were some significant differences among students planning to attend and those not planning to attend college or university.  These  53  differences were most apparent on the ACT scale and on five of the 3 4 quiz items.  Differences also emerged as  the sample was broken down by area, with rural students showing more pronounced differences in knowledge of academic criteria between students who planned to attend college or university and those who did not express such plans.  Therefore, the null hypothesis can  be rejected.  Academic Aspiration: Rural vs. Urban Students H5: Students in rural environments do not differ from urban students in their plans to pursue postsecondary academic aspirations. A chi square test statistic was used to determine the differences between rural (n=180) and urban students (n=173) in whether or not they plan to attend college or university.  As evidenced in Table 8, no  significant differences were detected (chi value=2.635, df=l, p>.104).  Therefore the fifth null hypothesis  would be considered tenable.  54  Table 8 Area X Plan Crosstabs of Frequency Counts and Percentages  PLANS TO ATTEND UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE AREA  YES  NO  COLUMN TOTAL  RURAL  129 36.5?  51 14.45  180 51.0?  URBAN  110 31.2%  63 17.82  173 49.0'  COLUMN TOTAL  239 67.7%  114 32.3=  353 100?  Relationships Between Gender, Grade, Area, Aspiration and Knowledge of Admission Criteria H6: There is no relationship between gender, grade, geographical area and post-secondary academic aspiration in student knowledge of college and university admission criteria. This hypothesis was examined by a series of four factor ANOVA tests on each scale of the post-secondary quiz.  55  In addition to main effects on the ACU scale (f=3.186, df=4, p<.014) for grade (f=6.603, df=l, p<.011), there were significant three way interactions (f=2.568, df=4, p<.038)  between area, aspiration and  grade (f=4.915, df=l, p<.027); and between aspiration, gender and grade (f=3.890, df=l, p<.049). As indicated by t-tests in previous hypotheses, there were significant main effects (f=4.498, df=4, p<.001) for area (f=4.879, df=l, p<.028), academic aspiration (f=4.824, df=l, p<.029), and grade (f=6.858, df=l, p<.009) on the ACT scale.  However, there were no  significant interactions on any of these independent variables. For the NACC scale, there was a significant two way interaction (f=2.415, df=6, p<.027) between gender and grade (f=5.541, df=l, p<.0l9). The NACU scale evidenced a significant a three way interaction (f=2.637, df=4, p<.003) between aspiration, gender and grade (f=9.209, df=l p<.003).  A similar  pattern of three way interaction (f=2.708, df=4, p<.030) emerged between aspiration, gender and grade (f=8.612, df=l, p<.004) on the NACT scale. For the ACNACC scale, there were significant two way interactions (f=2.280, df=6, p<.036) and three way  56  interactions (f=2.579, df=4, p<.037) between gender and grade (f=4.992, df=l, p<.026); and between aspiration, gender and grade (f=7.021, df=l, p<.008). The ACNACU scale revealed also a significant three way interaction (f=2.426, df=4, p<.048) between aspiration, gender, and grade (f=7.876, df=l, p<.005). A pattern that also emerged in the three way interaction (f=3.111, df=4, p<.016) between aspiration, gender, and grade (f=9.606, df=l, p<.002) on the final score over all 3 4 test items (ACNACT). Given the numerous significant interactions between the dependent and independent variables on the scales and total score, especially the recurring interaction of aspiration, gender and grade, the sixth null hypothesis cannot be rejected.  57  Chapter 5 Discussion Of the six null hypotheses developed for this thesis, five were rejected. The implications of the results of this study will be discussed here as per the six hypotheses, in the same manner as the results were presented in Chapter 4. Within the context of the issues addressed in the first two chapters of this thesis, recommendations will be made for future research and academic counselling.  Student Knowledge of Admission Criteria HI: Students do not lack important information about college and university admissions criteria. The descriptive statistics that were used to test this hypothesis yielded the most important results of this thesis.  As indicated by Tables 3 & 4, most of the  items were answered incorrectly by a majority of the students.  Each of the 34 items developed for the Post-  Secondary Quiz directly reflects knowledge (or lack thereof) in a specific content area.  In this section,  each question will be discussed in terms of its response frequencies and the ramifications of student awareness of its content.  58  1. Having good marks.  Just over 98 percent of the  students recognized that having good marks is important for admission to university, giving this item the largest proportion of correct responses.  However, over  70 percent incorrectly identified this characteristic as important for admission to college.  That students  were aware of the importance of marks for entry to university was not suprising.  Yet almost as many  students answered this items incorrectly for college, indicating a broad lack of awareness of the open admissions policies of the colleges that serve the communities of the students surveyed. 2. Getting letters of recommendation from teachers.  Although for the public universities and  colleges of B.C. reference letters are neither required nor given any consideration in the general admissions procedure, over 70 percent of students answered this question incorrectly (choosing important)  for  university, and between 50 and 70 percent of students answered incorrectly (important)  for college.  This may  indicate that students falsely perceive the existence of extraneous academic achievement as important to the admissions process for both college and university.  In  addition, this further supports rejection of the second  59  hypothesis that students perceive college and university differently. 3. Taking certain kinds of courses.  Similar to  the first item, which pertains to the importance of marks, most of the students were aware that universities require certain kinds of courses, but were almost equally unaware that the colleges in their area, having open admission policies, do not consider course work to be important in the general admissions process. 4. Involvement in extra-curricular activities.  A  slight majority of students correctly recognized this characteristic as not important to the college admissions process, and a similarly small majority incorrectly considered it important for university. These small margins would suggest that many of the students may have guessed the answers to these questions, leaning more towards overestimating the importance of non-academic character-related criteria for university. 5. Having parents who attended college or university.  More than 70 percent answered this item  correctly for both college and university, choosing not important.  This is good news for those who may be  concerned about the effects of ascribed status on  60  whether students perceive the viability of certain options. 6. Not having a criminal record.  Between 50-70  percent of the students incorrectly perceived this characteristic as important to both college and university general admission.  Although in both cases  these are not strong majorities, they reflect yet another student tendency to over-estimate irrelevant elements of character as being important to the admissions process.  An inversion of this item might  also suggest that having a criminal record would be perceived by many students as a barrier to postsecondary admission. 7. Being able to demonstrate that you can pay for your education.  A large majority of the students  falsely identified this characteristic as important for admission to university and a lesser majority incorrectly claimed it as important for admission to college, again indicating that students perceive universities as having greater expectations than colleges.  While students obviously need to produce  sufficient funds to pay for their tuition upon registration, they do not have to demonstrate the existence of those funds as a condition for admission  61  for either college or university.  This may reflect a  confusion in the students' minds between registration and admission.  Indeed, the greatly publicized matter  of the financial affordability of post-secondary education, particularly for post-secondary students (as identified by Calam and Fleming, 1988) needs to be recognized as independent from the access issues that pertain only to admission. 8. Having a scholarship.  Between 50 to 70 percent  of the students correctly regarded this item as not important to college admission and a similar proportion of students wrongly considered this item as being important for university admission.  As with item #4  (involvement in extra-curricular activities), these small majorities suggest that many of the students may have guessed the answers to these questions, yet the tendency to over-estimate the importance of characteristics relating to extraneous achievements is reflected more strongly for university.  Nevertheless,  greater proportions of incorrect responses on this item from rural students and from students with no plans to attend college or university further highlight the connection between the financial feasability and the  62  perceived accessibility of post-secondary education for these students. 9. Being from a certain ethnic background.  Among  all of the test items this received the highest number of correct responses, thus reflecting that an overwhelming majority of students are aware that college and universities do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity for general admission. 10. Having parents who have a lot of money.  As  with item #5 (having parents who attended college or university), large numbers of students were cognizant of the fact that the public universities and colleges of B.C. do not concern themselves with the achievements of the parents of prospective applicants seeking general academic admission, although those who did not express post-secondary academic aspirations were more likely to score incorrectly on this item. 11. Knowing the "right" people at the college or university.  Unlike the Burnaby Central focus group, a  large majority of the students in the survey refuted the idea that students falsely believe in the importance of having certain connections for admission to college or university.  However, urban students were  more likely to hold this false belief than rural  63  students, perhaps reflecting a kind of metropolitan cynicism. 12. Winning award and academic competitions.  This  kind of extraneous achievement was incorrectly identified as important for both college and university admission by 50-70 percent of the students surveyed. Although in both cases this is relatively small margin, it may reflect the blurred perception between academic requirements and extraneous academic achievement which has no bearing on the process of general academic admission.  Similar to previous items that reflect the  capability of financing an education, rural student evidenced greater proportions of incorrect responses on this item; it is not known if many students assumed the term "academic awards" to be synonymous with monetary scholarships. 13. Showing a positive attitude towards academic work.  Suprisingly, this item (for both college and  university) received the greatest number of incorrect important  responses.  In reality, even though attitude  toward academic work may be reflected in a student's marks, it is not assessed in any way as a variable in the general academic admissions process for any public college or university in B.C.  Because attitude is  64  graded on the report cards of many B.C. secondary schools, students may believe that this information is passed on to post-secondary institutions.  If this is  the case, then students need to be informed that this information is not recorded on the offical transcripts handled by colleges and universities. 14. Showing a strong likelihood of fitting into the social environment of college or university. Although only a small majority of students indicate incorrectly that this characteristic is important for college and university admission, these results may hold some critical implications.  For example, if  students perceive that not fitting in socially can be a hinderance to admission, will those who have doubts about themselves in this area be discouraged from pursuing a post-secondary education?  Would class  issues enter into this kind of belief system?  Gambetta  (1987, p.15) states that "...class-related inertial forces can affect the preference structure by altering the values attached to any given option: the workingclass belief, for instance, that academically oriented schools are not xfor people like us'...". 15, 16, 17: Demonstration of good character and citizenship, high level of motivation, having certain  65  career goals.  All three items, which are personal  characteristics that don't necessarily indicate academic ability, yielded high numbers of students incorrectly scoring them as important for both college and university.  Interestingly, these items bear some  similiarity to the constructs of Michael, Smith, and Michael's (1989) Dimensions  of  Self-Concept,  an  academic self-concept inventory which examines aspiration, initiative and interest among other characteristics.  A closer look at the Post-Secondary Quiz items reveals a number of patterns in specific content areas of admission criteria awareness among the students surveyed.  While an overwhelming majority recognized  the importance of marks and courses for university admission, similar proportions of students were oblivious to the non-importance of these items for college, consistent with the findings of the second hypothesis. In terms of non-academic characteristics, students were largely cognizant of the irrelevance of being socially advantaged for admission to college and university, granting large majorities of not  important  66  responses to items such as "knowing the right people" and "having parents who attended college or university"; although some related items such as "likelihood of fitting into the social environment" and "recommendation letters from teachers" received a substantial proportion of students mistakeningly identifying them as important for admission. Items that garnered many incorrect  important  responses for both college and university seemed to pertain to character, such as motivation, attitude, and citizenship.  To a lesser extent, students incorrectly  identified extraneous achievements, such as winning academic awards, scholarships and extra-curricular activities, as being important, particularly for university.  In addition to the possibility of  needlessly discouraging students who feel that they fall short of such mythical standards, other students may languish in the false security that their personal qualities might get them admitted to university if they do not meet academic standards.  There may be a  relationship between student perception of these qualities and "academic self-concept" that needs to be explored.  Low academic self-concept could be  67  exacerbated by misconceptions about the expectations of educational authorities. Another pattern of responses pertains to items that relate to financial access.  Although parental  resources were correctly rejected as important, a substantial proportion of students estimated that it would be important to the admissions process to demonstrate that they could pay for their education. Particularly for university, students also overestimated the importance of scholarships and academic awards for admission, possibly treating these items synonymously.  As these items received a higher degree  of incorrect answers from the rural student sample, it may be worthwhile to further explore the relationship between the economic challenges faced by rural students and their perception of the accessibility of higher education.  Again, students may be confusing the  process of admission, which is concerned with academic criteria and the process of registration, that requires payment of tuition. In addition to identifying possible areas for future study, the response frequency results of the Post-Secondary Quiz served to highlight some content areas that counsellors need to be aware of when  68  providing information to would-be candidates for higher education.  Admission Criteria Awareness; College vs. University H2: Students are equally aware of the importance placed upon academic criteria for admission to both college and university. A stated in Chapter 4, there were significant differences between what students know about admission criteria for both colleges and universities.  Regarding  academic criteria, students scored significantly higher for the university scale (ACU) than the scale for college (ACC).  This further corroborates the results  of the item analysis reported in the first hypothesis, whereby large majorities of students identified marks and courses as important criteria for entry to university as well as college, thus yielding correct answers for university but not for college.  Frequency  response data on these scales (see Table 5 in Chapter 4) illustrates one of the critical findings of this study: only 6.1% of the students surveyed were fully aware of the open admissions policies of the community colleges in their vicinity.  69  There was a reversal in the effects for the scales that measured knowledge of non-academic criteria, which required not  important  responses on all items, for both  college (NACC) and university (NACU).  While large  numbers of incorrect "important" responses were noted for both kinds of items (respective means for both NACC and NACU scales were at approximately 50% and 39%), students were even more likely to over-estimate those for university than for college.  This could be a  reflection of how prospective students idealize universities and their expectations.  Knowledge of Admission Criteria: Rural vs. Urban Students H3: Students in rural environments do not differ from students in urban environments in the accuracy of their knowledge about post-secondary admission criteria. The only over-all difference noted between rural and urban students was on the ACT scale, whereby urban students scored higher on their knowledge of academic criteria for both college and university.  On the other  scales, there were of rural-urban differences among females, grade eleven students, and those who planned  70  to attend either college or university.  However, the  urban student advantage was notable on many of the scales among males, grade nine students and those not planning to attend college or university.  Rural males  were more likely to over-estimate the importance of non-academic criteria for both college and university (NACC, NACU, NACT), and they were lacking in their general knowledge of college and university admission criteria (ACNACC, ACNACU, ACNACT), more so than urban males. Among grade nines and students not planning to attend college or university, rural students were particularly deficient in their knowledge about college (NACC, ACNACC) and on their over all quiz score (ACNACT).  A pattern of falsely perceiving the  importance of non-academic criteria emerges here among rural students with no plans for post-secondary education, as they received lower scores on the NACT in addition to the scales listed above.  Further  investigation could determine whether these groups may be lacking in some elements of academic, cultural or social capital, as per Bellamy's (1992) model.  71  Knowledge of Admission Criteria and Aspiration H4: Students who plan to attend college or university do not differ in the accuracy of their knowledge about post-secondary admissions criteria from students who do not plan to attend college or university. The only over-all difference noted was on the ACT scale (knowledge of academic criteria for both college and university) whereby students with plans to attend college or university scored higher than students with no such plans.  On this scale the plan-no plan  difference was even greater among rural students, who also manifested differences on the ACNACC scale (total items for college) favouring students with postsecondary academic aspirations. Again, rural students without college or university plans emerge as a group that lacks information.  The third and fourth hypotheses results  indicate that rural students with no college or university plans over-estimate the importance of nonexistent criteria and receive lower scores on scales relating to college admission.  72  Perhaps students who do not wish to proceed with their education are not likely to bother obtaining information about post-secondary institutions. Conversely, individuals do not pursue options unless they are aware that they exist.  The over-estimation of  admissions criteria (particularly that which relates to open admission colleges) by rural students with no plans to pursue higher education suggests that some students may be needlessly eliminating this option because they are overwhelmed by what they falsely perceive to be expected in the way of admission requirements. The results of the third and fourth hypotheses may be illustrating some systemic difficulties with the "information highway" that is supposed to lead to advanced education.  The calendars of post-secondary  institutions don't bother to tell the reader what is not  important for admission.  Futhermore, calendars can  difficult to interpret as their contents tend to be long-winded and are usually written at an postsecondary reading level (Schlossberg, Lynch, and Chickering (1989).  Indeed, in a survey of prospective  mature students who did not apply to university the most commonly cited reason for opting out was that they  73  were "put off by procedures". p. 74, 1984).  (Griffin and Smithers,  Younger students may be even more  intimidated, especially, if they assume that they will be met with prohibitive standards.  Academic Aspiration: Rural vs. Urban Students H5: Students in rural environments do not differ from urban students in their plans to pursue postsecondary academic aspirations. No differences in aspiration were detected between rural and urban students, making this the only one of six hypotheses not to be rejected.  This is consistent  with Apostal and Bilden's (1991) findings where American rural students were shown to have educational and occupational aspirations equal to or greater than their urban counterparts. Furthermore, the descriptive statistics used to test this hypothesis (see Table 2) indicate that across the total sample (n=353), 67.7 percent of the students appear to have plans to attend either college or university (3 6.5% and 31.2% for rural and urban wouldbe attenders, respectively). If the results of the third hypothesis suggest that rural students as a group are less aware of post-  74  secondary admission criteria than urban students then this dearth of knowledge doesn't seem to hinder their spirit of aspiration.  Relationships Between Gender, Grade, Area, Aspiration and Knowledge of Admission Criteria H6: There is no relationship between gender, grade, geographical area and post-secondary academic aspiration in student knowledge of college and university admission criteria. ANOVA testing of the sixth hypothesis revealed a consistent pattern of three way interactions between aspiration, gender, and grade across six of the eight scales, as well as the test total.  This appears to be  consistent with the third and fourth hypotheses results which indicate that among males, grade nines, and students without post-secondary academic aspirations, urban students were more accurate than rural students in their knowledge of college and university admission criteria.  Conclusion Over all, the students who participated in the study showed high academic aspirations, but little  75  awareness of the nature of post-secondary admissions criteria.  Only 6.1% of all the students surveyed were  fully aware of the open admissions policies of their local community colleges and most students incorrectly identified most of the non-academic items (such as attitude and fitting in socially) as being important for admission.  Several content areas showed particular  item response patterns, for example, most students were aware of the irrelevance of socio-economic advantages, but many over-estimated the importance of items that related to character, such as attitude and motivation. Further exploration is necessary to clarify rural perceptions of financial access and post-secondary study. Students planning to attend college or university and urban students were more aware of the academic expectations of their local universities and colleges than rural students.  Among males, grade nines, and  students not planning to attend college or university, rural students scored significantly lower on many of scales of the Post-Secondary Quiz (particularly those which pertain to college), typically by over-estimating the importance of non-academic characteristics for admission.  These may be persons who are "pushed"  76  toward other options, if the intimidating prospects of higher education fail to "pull" them (Gambetta, 1987). Interestingly, there were no general discrepancies in aspiration between rural and urban students. Information is indeed a form of capital, especially when it pertains to educational opportunity. The results of this thesis cannot tell us why certain individuals lack this capital or how they will be affected by this deficiency.  Until further  investigation takes place, counsellors need to be aware that many students, particularly rural males, may be oblivious to viable choices.  Because some students  state that they do not plan to continue their education, one cannot assume that this decision is based on informed choice.  In providing life planning  assistance, counsellors must not only provide facts, but to eliminate the misconceptions that students hold about post-secondary education.  In other words,  sometimes it is important to state what would ordinarily be considered as obvious in the mind of an adult professional...that you don't need a scholarship to get accepted into university...that colleges don't evaluate G.P.A. for admission...that students are  77  welcome to attend these institutions regardless of their career goals, legal history or "attitude". Herr and Cramer state, "An overriding goal in career guidance is the facilitation of free and informed choice in the individual...choice cannot by free unless it is informed." (1988, p.98).  Counsellors  play an important role in fostering freedom of choice in providing support and information to all students. Counsellors help bridge the gap that deters students from exploring options beyond their immediate awareness.  When vital information is absent, myths too  often take its place.  78  References Amundson, N.E. (in press). career decision making.  An interactive model of Journal of Employment  Counselling. Anisef, P., Bertrand, A.-M., Hortian, U., & James, C.E. (1985).  Accessibility to post-secondary education  in Canada; A review of the literature. Ottawa: Education Support Branch, Department of the Secretary of State of Canada. Anisef, P., Paasche, J.G., & Turrittin, A.H. (1980). Is the die cast?  Educational achievements and work  destinations of Ontario youth.  Toronto:  Ministry  of Education/Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Apostal, R., & Bilden, J. (1991).  Educational and  occupational aspirations of rural high school students.  Journal of Career Development, 18,  (2),  153-160. Bellamy, L. (1992).  Paths on life's way: Destinations,  determinants, and decisions in the transition from high school.  Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation,  University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Borg, W., & Gall, M. (1983). introduction, (4th Ed.).  Educational research: An New York: Longman.  79  Breton, R. (1972).  Social and academic factors in the  career decisions of Canadian youth.  Ottawa:  Manpower and Immigration. Calam, J., & Fleming, T. (Eds.). (1988). paper 3: Rural inequality.  Research  In British Columbia  Schools and Society (Commmissioned papers, ISSN 0840-5069, vol.1, pp. 16-26).  British Columbia  Royal Commission on Education. Clark, E., Cook, D., Fallis, G., & Kent, M. (1969). Student aid and access to higher education in Ontario.  Toronto: Institute for Quantitative  Analysis of Social and Economic Policy. Coleman, J. (1988). human capital.  Social capital in the creation American Journal of Sociology,  94,  S95-S120. Dennison, J., & Gallagher, P. (1986).  Canada's  community colleges: A critical analysis. Vancouver: University of B.C. Press. Douglas College, (1993).  Calendar 1993/94.  New  Westminster, B.C.: Author. Gambetta, D. pushed?  (1987).  Did they jump or were they  Individual decision mechanisms in  education.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  80  Griffin, A, & Smithers, A. (1984).  Prospective mature  students: Those who did not apply. Higher Education, 09, Gustav, A. (1963).  Studies in  73-81.  Response set in objective  achievement tests.  Journal of Psychology, 56,  421-  427. Harnqvist, K. (1978). Analytical report.  Individual demand for education: Paris: The Organization for  Economic Co-operation and Development. Herr, E.L., & Cramer, S.H. (1988).  Career guidance and  counseling throughout the life span: Systematic approaches (3rd Ed.). Lee, V.E., & Ekstrom, R.B. (1987).  Student access to  guidance counseling in high school. Educational Research Journal, 24  (2), 287-310.  Malaspina University College, (1993). 1993/94.  American  Calendar,  Nanaimo, B.C.: Author.  Michael, W., Smith, R., & Michael, J. (1989). Dimensions of self-concept: A technical manual. San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Service. Odell, K.S. (1988).  The educational and occupational  expectations of rural Ohio tenth and twelfth grade  81  students.  Research in Rural Education, 5 (2),  17-21. Poole, M.E., & Cooney, G.H. (1985).  Careers:  Adolescent awareness and exploration of possibilities for self. Behavior, 26  Journal of Vocational  (3), 251-263.  Powell, A.G., Farrar, E., & Cohen, D.K. (1985).  The  shopping mall high school: The winners and losers in the educational marketplace.  Boston: Houghton  Mifflin. Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training, Province of British Columbia (1988).  Access to  post secondary education in British Columbia: A working paper on issues for the access committees. Victoria, B.C. Simon Fraser University, (1993).  Calendar, 1993/94.  Burnaby, B.C.: Author. Schlossberg, N.K., Lynch, A.Q., & Chickering, A.W. (1989).  Improving higher education environments  for adults: Responsive programs and services from entry to departure.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.  University of British Columbia, (1993). 1993/94.  Vancouver: Author.  Calendar,  82  University of Victoria, (1993). Calendar, 1993/94 Victoria, B.C.: Author.  \ \ 83  \\ \  APPENDIX A  84  U.B.C LETTERHEAD The purpose of this quiz is to find out what students know about getting accepted into post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. The students who participate in this non- competitive quiz are not being tested as individuals, but as a group. This will help determine what kinds of information students need to have about colleges and universities. This research is being conducted as part of a master's thesis project by graduate student Jennifer Mathison, and her supervising professor Norm Amundson, through the U.B.C. Department of Counselling Psychology (Ph.: 604-822-5259). INSTRUCTIONS: 1) Please answer every question in the quiz by circling one answer in each of the two columns provided for each question (one for college and another for university). Don't forget the back page titled TELL US ABOUT YOU. 2) Don't feel that you have to come up with the right answer. Just circle the one that comes closest to what  you've  always  thought  to be true.  Your first  impression is usually the most accurate, so there is no need to linger over each question. The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. 3) Remember: Because your name is not recorded, the results of your quiz will be confidential. You and/or your parents may exercise the right for you to NOT participate in this quiz. Quiz results and participation will not affect your school marks. Bycompleting and turning in the questionnaires, we will assume your consent for participation has been given. 4) The correct answers will be shared with you upon completion of the quiz. If you have any questions, raise your hand and the visiting researcher will do her best to help you. (Please proceed to the next page)  85  POST SECONDARY EDUCATION QUIZ When B.C. colleges and universities are making decisions about which applicants get accepted (for general academic admission), how important are the following student qualifications: 1) Having good marks: COLLEGE (a) important X(b) not important  UNIVERSITY X(a) important (b) not important  2) Getting letters of recommendation from teachers: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 3) Taking certain kinds of courses: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important X(a) important X(b) not important (b) not important 4) Involvement in extra-curricular activities (i.e.: sports, school clubs, volunteer work): COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 5) Having parents who attended college or university: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 6) Not having a criminal record: COLLEGE (a) important X(b) not important  UNIVERSITY (a) important X(b) not important  7) Being able to demonstrate that you can pay for your education: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 8) Having a scholarship: COLLEGE (a) important X(b) not important  UNIVERSITY (a) important X(b) not important  86  9) Being from a certain ethnic background: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 10) Having parents who have a lot of money: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 11) Knowing "the right people" at the college or university: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 12) Winning academic awards and competitions: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 13) Showing a positive attitude towards academic work: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 14) Showing a strong likelihood of fitting into the social environment of the post-secondary institution: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 15) Demonstrating good character and citizenship: COLLEGE UNIVERSITY (a) important (a) important X(b) not important X(b) not important 16) High level of motivation: COLLEGE (a) important X(b) not important  UNIVERSITY (a) important X(b) not important  17) Having certain career goals: COLLEGE (a) important X(b) not important  UNIVERSITY (a) important X(b) not important  Note to Appendix A: X indicates correct answers.  87  APPENDIX B  TELL US ABOUT YOU  YOU, AS A PERSON 1. Your age 2. Your gender (M or F) 3. Your grade 4. Your school 5. Your community  YOUR ASPIRATIONS After you leave high school, you plan to: (a) (b) (c) (d)  get a job go to college (academic program) go to university vocational or technical training (i.e. BCIT, theatre school, apprenticeship, non-academic college program) (e) don't know  THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN OUR STUDY!  89  APPENDIX C  90  U.B.C. LETTERHEAD Dear Parent or Guardian, Jennifer Mathison, a graduate student from U . B . C , will visit your child's school to survey secondary students about their ideas and expectations about post-secondary education as part of her M.A. thesis research. This 10 minute survey will take place during class time sometime within the next week. As a parent, you have the right to refuse your child's participation in this survey at this time or to withdraw permission at any later time, and in neither case will his/her class standing be affected. Your child's name will not even be recorded on the survey questionnaires, therefore all results will be completely confidential and will not influence her/his academic standing in any way. Please indicate whether or not you would like your child to participate in this survey by checking in the appropriate area below and including your signature. After you have completed this task, you may give this form back to your child to return to his/her teacher. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Jennifer Mathison (604) 685-4426, or her supervising professor, Norm Amundson at (604) 822-5259. AS PARENT OR GUARDIAN OF  , (Child's Name)  I WILL I WILL NOT GRANT PERMISSION FOR HIS/HER PARTICIPATION IN THIS SURVEY.  (Parent's Name)  (Parent's Signature)  

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