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Preliminary results of the Rural High School Aspirations Study

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Rural High School
Aspirations Study
National Research Center on
Rural Education Support
Judith L. Meece, Ph.D.
NRCRES, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Thomas W. Farmer, Ph.D.
NRCRES, Pennsylvania State University
Aims of Study
To generate new information about rural high school students’
educational, vocational, and residential plans and aspirations for
the future.
To assess rural high school students’ preparatory activities and
planning for postsecondary education, work, and adult life.
To examine the impact of school experiences, geographical
location, economic status, cultural or ethnic origins, family
background, peer relations, and community characteristics on
rural students’ aspirations and preparatory activities.
Progress to Date
• Extensive review of research on postsecondary transitions of
rural youth
• Sample selection
• Development of student, parent, teacher, administrator
measures
• Data collection: 77 schools, 8,600 students, 900 teachers, &
1,200 parents
• Complimentary study of rural high school students in
ELS:2002 database
• Focus groups in 10 randomly selected rural sites
Rural HSA Sample Selection
• Sampling frame was 101,104 public schools in the 2004-05
U.S. Department of Education Common Core of Data
• Schools were classified according to subtypes based on locale
designations (6, 7, 8, & 43), and eligibility for Rural Education
Achievement Programs (RLIS & SRSA)
• Sample includes 77 schools across these school types
Rural High School Aspiration Sites
by Type of School
Rural HSA Sample
School
Type
Number of
Schools
School
Size
Poverty
Status
Minority
Percent
Locale
6, 7, & 8
15
34 - 995
.15 -.75%
.00 -.92%
RLIS
19
166- 863
.21 - .36%
.00 - 97%
SRSA
22
76 – 471
.10 - .67%
.01 - .91%
Rural
Remote
18
35 – 199
.35 – .82%
.05 -.92%
HSA Measures: Students
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Demographic characteristics
Educational & vocational expectations
Perceived educational & vocational barriers
Family background characteristics
School engagement, connection, and participation
Peer and friend networks
Self-reported academic achievement, efficacy, & values
Postsecondary preparation activities from school, family, and
community resources
HSA Measures:
Parents & Teachers
• Items paralleled student survey with regards to:
– Educational & vocational expectations for individual
students in the sample
– Perceived barriers for educational and vocational plans for
individual students in the sample
– Behavioral and academic characteristics for individual
students in the sample
– Perceptions of academic preparation, school climate
– Background information on parents and teachers
Rural Students’ Educational Plans
• Approximately 7% of youth reported that they were unsure of their
educational plans after high school.
• Only a small percent (6%) of rural youth expected to discontinue their
education after high school.
• Approximately 13% of rural youth expected to attend and complete two
years of postsecondary education at a community college or
vocational/trade school.
• Approximately 77% of rural youth plan to complete college or an
advanced graduate or professional degree.
• Educational plans vary by gender, ethnicity/racial background, ability
level, and economic hardship.
• The educational plans of youth in Rural Remote locations were
comparable to other rural youth in the RHSA sample.
Educational Plans of Rural Remote Youth
Don’t know
8%
Obtain a Ph.D., MD or
other advanced degree
16%
Less than high school
graduation
0.6%
High school graduation
or GED only
5%
Attend or complete a 2
year course in a
community college,
vocational or trade
school
14%
Obtain a Masters
degree or equivalent
21%
Graduate from college
36%
Teachers’ Expectations for Students’ Postsecondary Education
Obtain a Ph.D.,
M.D. or other
advanced degree
2%
Obtain a Master's
degree or
equivalent
5%
Graduate from
college
24%
Don't know
4%
Less than high
school graduation
3%
High school
graduation or GED
only
23%
Attend or complete
a 2-year course in
community college,
vocational or trade
school
17%
Rural Students’ Perceived
Educational Barriers
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Getting Married (29%)
Needing to help or support family (28%)
Not wanting to leave friends (26%)
Moving away to go to school (24%)
Not sure how additional schooling would help with future employment (24%)
Coursework at school did not help prepare for future educational plans (23%)
Not getting enough information about different schools (21%)
Variance between schools and rural geographical locations was negligible.
What Do Rural Teachers Report?
•
•
•
•
•
•
Moving away to advance education (9%)
Needing to help support his/her family (8%)
Getting married (8%)
Not wanting to leave friends (7%)
Parents/friends not supporting educational plans (7%)
Coursework at school did not prepare student for future
educational plans (6%)
• Not being sure how additional education would help with
future employment (5%)
• Majority of rural teachers (42 - 58%) did not perceive above
factors as educational barriers for their students
Rural Students’ Vocational Plans
• Approximately 44% of rural students planned to work
right after high school; only 16% of these students
knew the type of job they planned to pursue.
• Only 9% of rural students thought they would have
the same job or career as a family member.
• By age 30, 90% of rural students planned to work or
to have a career.
• Nearly 50% of rural youth aspired to careers in
healthcare, education, and technical fields.
Vocational Plans of Rural Youth
Technical
6%
Protective Service,
4%
Healthcare
24%
Service
6%
Skilled Laborer
7%
Education
7%
Science &
Engineering
8%
Art, Entertainment,
Sports, Media
12%
Minimum Education Needed
Advanced Degree,
18%
Less than High School
10%
High School or some
College
34%
College Degree
38%
Residential Plans of Rural Youth
Same area
15%
Undecided
35%
Small city
13%
Another country
4%
Large city
25%
Rural area
9%
Conclusions
• The majority of rural high school students plan to continue their education
beyond high school.
• A large percent of rural youth plan to pursue professional careers that require a
college degree (38%) or advanced degree (18%).
• Educational and vocational plans varied by grade, ethnicity, gender, economic
hardship and language status.
• Contrary to expectations, geographical isolation was not a strong predictor of
rural youths’ educational and vocational plans.
• Approximately one-third of sample were undecided about their residential plans;
another 24% of the sample planned to live their own community or another rural
town or area.
• The findings have important implications for secondary educational programs to
prepare rural youth for their postsecondary transition to work, education, and
community life.
Collaborators
Matthew Irvin, Investigator
Soo-yong Byun, Postdoctoral Scholar
Robert Petrin, Postdoctoral Scholar
Kimberly Dadisman, Investigator
Kai Schafft, Investigator
Bryan Hutchins, Research Associate
Glen Elder, Investigator
Vonnie McLoyd, Investigator
Acknowledgements
The NRCRES gratefully acknowledges the support of the U.S. Department of Education,
Institute of Educational Sciences (Grant Number R305A040056). Opinions expressed are
those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.
The NRCRES is indebted to the support of the rural schools, students, teachers, and
parents who participated in this research project. Each community visited made an
important contribution to this national study of the rural youths’ aspirations and
preparation for the future.
Additional information about the NRCRES is available
at: www.nrcres.org
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