The effect of a career orientation program on the career development and academic achievement of students in selected middle schools of Danville, Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a locally developed career orientation program which was infused with the social studies and the mathematics-science-health curricula of the fifth, sixth and seventh grades in Danville, Virginia. The students of two schools, Edwin A. Gibson Middle School and Irvin W. Taylor Middle School, made up the total stratified population for the investigation. The problem addressed was: "Does the career orientation program, as designed, improve the career development and heighten the academic achievement of the middle school students?"

A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest control group design was used. The instruments used to collect the data were the Career Maturity Inventory and Science Research Associates' Achievement Series. The data were analysed for the three distinct grade levels and used to test eight null hypotheses; five of which related to career development and three which related to academic achievement.

None of the null hypotheses could be rejected therefore, no evidence was found which would support the effectiveness of the career orientation program. During the treatment period, however, the program implementation was monitored and the curriculum recommendations were found to have been used less by teachers than had been anticipated. While the career orientation program, as implemented, did not seem to enhance career development nor heighten academic achievement, it also did not seem to be detrimental to the normal progress of the fifth, sixth and seventh grade students studied.