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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Differential programming and implementation of self-concept through vocational choice Chiu, Clifton Yu-Lam


Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of differential programming, or streaming, socio-economic status, and academic ability to junior secondary male students' choice of occupation as a means to implement their self-concept. It was generally hypothesized that as different programmes in the secondary school presented different opportunities for occupational and educational advancement, streaming students into different programmes would differentially affect their choice of occupations as a means of self-concept implementation. Specifically it was hypothesized that students in academic programmes were able to attain significantly, greater degrees of congruency between their self-concept and the stereotype of their probable occupational choice, between their probable occupational and ideal occupational stereotypes, and between their self-concept and ideal self-concept than students in non-academic programmes. It was also hypothesized that students from the lower socio-economic groups and students with lower academic ability tended to be streamed into the non-academic programmes. Method: Data were collected from 194 Grade 10 male students in three secondary schools in the lower mainland in British Columbia. A preliminary questionnaire was used to obtain data on programme membership, satisfaction with programme, parental occupation, and choice of probable and ideal occupations. A Descriptive Checklist was used to measure profiles of self-concept, ideal self-concept, probable occupational stereotype, and ideal occupational stereotype. In addition 52 students were randomly selected for a semi-structured interview. The completed descriptive checklists were converted to yield six congruency scores by employing the D² statistic. Multiple regressional analyses and t-tests were used to analyse the congruency scores. The interviews were transcribed and coded for analyses. Results: Significant differences were found between the academic students and non-academic students on self-concept/probable occupational stereotype congruency, probable occupational stereotype/ideal occupational stereotype congruency, socio-economic status, and academic ability. However, the prediction that the two groups would be significantly different in self-concept/ ideal self-concept congruency was not supported by the data. It was also found from the interview data that the majority of the non-academic students did not have the required courses for an academic programme. Proportionally fewer non-academic students wanted to go on to institutes of higher learning and to choose as theitf- probable occupations jobs at managerial and professional levels, yet given the chance and choice, over 50 per cent of them would choose as their ideal occupations jobs at these levels and would desire a university or college education. Over 80 per cent of the non-academic students who considered their chance of getting their ideal occupations low ascribed the main reason to being in the wrong programme. Additional analyses of the data gave support to the general applicability of Super's theory of vocational choice as a means of self-concept implementation in that it was found that for both academic and non-academic students the probable occupational choice was more congruent with their self-concept than was their ideal occupational choice. The results also lent support to Wheeler and Carne's finding that both the probable and ideal occupational choices were attempts at self-actualization. Conclusion: The results of this study showed that differential programming in the secondary school had an effect on the students' perception of their educational and occupational opportunity structures which influenced the degree of congruency between their self-concept and their occupational choices. The study not only confirmed the general applicability of Super's theory of vocational choice as it was applied to junior high students with different opportunity structures, abilities, and occupational aspirations but also advanced the idea that the higher degree of congruency for the academic students was due to an attempt at self-actualization which was considerably less evident among the non-academic students.

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