Problems encountered by non-traditional students enrolled in sex-typed secondary vocational education programs

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Statement of the Problem

The central problem of this study was to identify problems which non-traditional students enrolled in sex-typed vocational education programs in four school divisions in a large metropolitan area have encountered as a result of such enrollment and the impact of those problems on the student. Specifically, non-traditional students enrolled in secondary education programs in the four school divisions were interviewed. The interviews identified: (a) the problems encountered by non-traditional students; (b) the extent of the non-traditional students' concern about the problems they encounter; and (c) the greatest problems or concerns encountered by non-traditional students.

Research Procedures

Exploratory field research was used with the interview technique being utilized to collect data. Sixty-eight non-traditional students of seventy-one total non-traditional students participated in the research study. The researcher served as the interviewer for structured interviews utilizing closed-and open-ended questions on an interview schedule. Respondents’ answers were recorded on audio tape during each interview and then transcribed.

Interview transcripts served as the source material for the content analysis portion of the study. The theme category for all themes or problem statements was the unit of analysis selected. Every theme representing each specific problem identified by the respondent was coded into a theme category for which a frequency count was also indicated. Accuracy of the content analysis was measured by four experienced vocational-technical educators with expertise in the area of sex-role stereotyping.


  1. Non-traditional students are not very concerned with school related problems.

  2. Non-traditional students are more concerned with problems concerning "parents or guardians" than they are with "siblings."

  3. Few non-traditional students seek the assistance of guidance counselors with problems they encounter in sex-typed programs.

  4. School related problems were most often reported of greatest concern by students who did not attribute much concern to any problems they encountered.

  5. Educators within the school setting are not the greatest concern or problem of most non-traditional students.