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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Improving the secondary school career preparation program through action research Dean, Virginia Clare

Abstract

The initial research question was formulated to address the problem of students not completing the Career Preparation Program (CPP). As a Career Preparation Program Facilitator, I wanted to determine what I could do to increase the number of students who complete the program. I chose action research to address the question because it is a tool to analyze and investigate the researcher's own practice. Other research questions formulated include: Is the CPP worth having more students complete it?; Is it a failure if a student who begins the program does not complete it if she still gains some benefit?; Is the CPP the best Career Program for our students?; Does the stigma attached to vocational education affect the participation of students and others in the CPP? However, the most important question to me was: What constitutes a successful CPP experience for individual students? Three research methods were used to achieve triangulation. Using questionnaires, I surveyed students in grades eleven and twelve about barriers to completion of the CPP. A student focus group and journals, as well as my own journal, were used to address both the initial research question and the subsequent research questions. The main barriers to completion of the program by students were: some did not qualify for the program; uncertainly about which career area to prepare for; some did not know what the CPP is; and some were unable to fit the courses required in their program into their timetables. The findings from the research showed that the CPP is a worthwhile program that benefits most students to varying degrees. However, there is a need for a variety of Career Programs to meet the needs of students who may not qualify for the CPP, have different career exploration needs, or are too young to participate in it. Students in the CFP achieve varying degrees of personal success through the individual experiences that they have in the program. The ongoing debate between a liberal arts or a vocational education impacts the CPF and may affect the attitudes of the people who are involved in the program.

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