Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds links between high schoolers' hopes, educational attainment

03.11.2010
Turns out the high school guidance counselor was right. Students who have high aspirations and put thought into their futures during their high school years tend to reach higher levels of educational attainment, according to a recent study.

And what's a significant factor in those goals and expectations taking shape in the first place? It matters if teens are involved in extracurricular activities -- whether it's football, fine arts or French club.

The research, by Sarah Beal and Lisa Crockett of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, surveyed hundreds of high school students about their educational and career goals and expectations while also examining the types of activities they took part in during high school. Then researchers studied how each activity, from extracurricular clubs and teams to part-time jobs to volunteering, was related to students' thoughts about their futures.

They found that students' educational plans and their occupational goals and expectations were related to and predicted the level of education they ultimately attained. Also, extracurricular activities were related to students' educational goals and career expectations -- and vice-versa.

That unique relationship, the study says, played a role in predicting how far teens eventually went with their educations.

"Adolescents' expectations about their occupational and educational attainment as adults predict their eventual educational attainment, and these expectations seem to shape and be shaped by extracurricular activities -- which, in turn, contribute to young adult educational attainment," said Beal, a UNL graduate student in psychology and the study's lead author. "It may be the case that adolescents learn about their abilities and preferences through the extracurricular activities they engage in, resulting in changes to their expectations for the future."

The longitudinal study, which tracked students from adolescence into adulthood, appeared in a recent edition of the journal Developmental Psychology. It showed that what adolescents think about their futures is relevant for their development through adulthood, and suggests that they can use their projections about the future to adapt their behavior in ways that promote achievement later in life.

"There is a longstanding notion that what adolescents do sets the stage for their adult lives," said Crockett, a professor of psychology. "Our results support this idea and indicate that what they think matters as well."

What appears to happen, Crockett said, is that teenagers' plans influence their behaviors, especially extracurricular activities, which in turn influence their educational attainment.

"When you consider how important educational attainment is for adult life --- its relation to occupational attainment, financial security, health, and other aspects of well being -- it appears that the steps adolescents take have important implications for their future success," she said.

Also among the findings:

While the analysis suggested that extracurricular activities contributed to the process of forming teens' career goals and aspirations, having a part-time job during high school did not. It may be the case that adolescents simply consider after-school jobs as a way to earn spending money -- but not paths to their eventual careers.

Volunteering also was not a predictor of teens' goals and expectations, suggesting that volunteer experiences do not necessarily shape their career and educational goals.

The study made a clear distinction between teens' career aspirations (what job they hope to do some day) and their career expectations (what job they expect to do some day). While nearly eight in 10 teens reported aspirations and expectations that required similar levels of skills and training, two in 10 reported expectations and aspirations that implied different skill categories.

Unsurprisingly, destructive behaviors such as substance use and delinquency predicted lower educational attainment over time.

"It appears that ideas about one's future and behaviors influence each other over time," Crockett said. "Related questions are how ideas about one's future take shape initially and what things influence the kinds of long term plans and aspirations teenagers develop."

Other research indicates that factors such as gender, socioeconomic status and abilities are important, she said, "but we know very little about how children begin to formulate their ideas and how these ideas change over adolescence in response to their experiences and their increasing knowledge of their skills, interests and the opportunities available to them. This remains an important question for future research."

Lisa Crockett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>