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Naviance Interactions and Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Among 11th and 12 Grade Students With Disabilities

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 3709 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The Correlation Between Naviance Interactions and Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Among 11th and 12 Grade Students With Disabilities


One of the major functions of school is to provide students the skills and knowledge to succeed in post-secondary aspirations. Research evidence shows that colleges and employers report that high school graduates are underprepared. Students with disabilities experience more difficulty in transitioning out of high school, even though IDEA 2004 mandates that transition is addressed through the Individual Education Program. Interventions to provide students with disabilities must be effective in order to meet transition goals. One intervention program is the online platform Naviance. Naviance features career and college exploration, goal-setting, and interest profiler components.  Using Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy as a quantitative measure, this study will determine any correlation between it and the interactions of the Naviance platform. Interactions will include the number of login occurrences among students along with other specific activities within the Naviance framework. It is hypothesized that increased interactions with Naviance among the student sample will strongly correlate with higher scores in Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy among those students.

Keywords: Naviance, Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy, transition

The Correlation Between Naviance Interactions and Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Among 11th and 12 Grade Students With Disabilities

As curriculums around the globe integrate 21st century skills, there is a renewed focus on high school graduates being college and career ready. In the United States, different states have various definitions for the term college and career readiness (College, 2014). Ultimately, each definition encompasses the abilities needed to preparedly transition to college or employment. However, there is evidence that suggests high schools are not effectively preparing students for collegiate or vocational endeavors. One third of high school graduates are not prepared for college level courses (Petrilli, 2017). Of the graduates that do enter college, over 50% do not earn a degree (DiBenedetto & Myers, 2016). In a 2016 Education Reform Now report, data collected showed that over 500,000 families spent more than one billion dollars on remedial interventions during the 2011-2012 academic year (Barry & Dannenberg, 2016). Compounding this problem is the projection that by 2020, a majority of careers in the United States will require post-secondary education (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2010).

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 There are similar concerns in regard to students’ preparedness for post-secondary employment, especially for students with disabilities. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (2017), adults with learning disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to non-disabled peers. Nineteen percent of employees with learning disabilities reported that their employers were not informed of the employees’ disability (National, 2017). The rate at which students with learning disabilities attend four-year colleges is half the total amount of the general population; those that do are less likely to complete a degree program (National, 2017).

 The growing burden of school guidance counselors is compounding the issue of college and career readiness. Guidance counselors are designated the task of helping students gain knowledge surrounding college or career aspirations. Evidence has shown, however, that school counselors are frequently assigned secondary tasks including administrative roles and mental health facilitators (Christian, Lawrence, & Dampman, 2017). Christian et al. (2017) also point out that the national average for student to school counselor ratios is 491:1. As guidance counselors address varying social-emotional needs of students, the job of preparing students for post-secondary plans is becoming more difficult to accomplish effectively without having assessments and tools available to provide effective counseling services (Lapan, Poynton, Marland, & Milam, 2017).

 Students, parents, counselors, teachers, post-secondary institutions, and employers are all direct stakeholders in addressing this gap in post-secondary preparations. There are a multitude of interventions and assessments that are employed by counselors and special education teachers to aide in the transition process. A closer look into what actually works is necessary to help students with disabilities successfully transition to adult life.

Career Planning Interventions

In a study conducted by Cook and Maree (2016), an intervention program attempted to measure student attitudes towards future transitions to careers. The research consisted of 45 participants that engaged with traditional lessons specific to transition planning, while another group of 42 students took part in what the researchers call a career intervention program. This program consisted of eight lessons. The first step in the program was the administration of the Career Adapt-Abilities Scale assessment. A career interest profile followed next. This activity’s purpose was for students to identify interests and meaningful aspects of their lives. Next, students engaged in activities including creating a collage and timeline of their lives that included their future plans. These steps in the intervention were again used to identify meaningful, personal matters in their lives, but also to tell their life story and make projections into their future (Cook & Maree, 2016).

The research on career decision-making self-efficacy has investigated interventions applied in the middle school settings (Knezek, Christensen, Tyler-Wood & Periathiruvadi, 2013). One research study by Glessner, Rockinson-Szapkiw, and Lopez (2017) tested a computer-based program paired with a college visit. Both the computer program and college visit components were tied to theory of how self-efficacy is developed and moderated, specifically 1) mastery experiences 2) vicarious experiences 3) verbal influence and 4) emotional arousal (Bandura, 1986). Using pre and post tests measuring college-going self-efficacy career self-efficacy on 173 eighth grade students, Glessner et al.’s (2017) intervention resulted in significant increases in both areas. Mean scores of college-going self-efficacy rose from 91.57 to 97.83 and mean scores of career decision self-efficacy increased form 99.46 to 103.00. The online modules and college visits incorporated career exploration, goal setting, and career planning (Glessner et al., 2017). Moreover, these activities reflect the impactful influences of self-efficacy put forth by Albert Bandura (1986).

In a study by Creed and Hennessy (2016), 283 university undergraduates in Southeast of Queensland, Australia were identified into three categories of goal orientation: mastery approach, performance approach, and performance avoidance. To summarize briefly, each profile is motivated by different factors. Mastery-approach involves intrinsic motivation and holds the view that skills and competencies can be developed. Performance-approach, conversely, holds the view that ability is fixed. People with this approach tend to set high goals, but they do so to receive positive feedback from others. Performance-avoidance individuals seek to avoid negative outcomes out of fear of being perceived as incompetent. They tend to set low goals and tend to withdraw from engaging with accomplishing goals. The authors used measures to identify the goal orientations of the research sample using the Achievement Goals Questionnaire. These goal orientations were then connected to other variables through use of structural equation modeling. One noteworthy result is that the goal orientation of performance avoidance individuals had no association with the career exploration variable. This is worrisome as a lack of career exploration may lead to hardship for individuals in the future. Career exploration is one component of building self-efficacy in the area of career decision-making. Performance avoidance characteristics also connect to the theories of self-efficacy. This study illustrates the importance of addressing levels of low self-efficacy and using interventions that can increase it (Creed & Hennessy, 2016).

Another example of a successful intervention built upon the tenets of self-efficacy theory is a case study by Reddan (2015). This study set out to examine the effects of an intervention called Field Project A on career decision-making self efficacy of undergraduate students majoring in Exercise Science. This intervention provides students an array of learning opportunities that are linked to the strategies proposed by proponents of self efficacy theory (performance accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal). The results from a pretest and posttest administration of the Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Scale Short-Form (CDMSE-SF) indicated that the participants improved in areas of vocational information, planning, and problem-solving (Reddan, 2015).

Gaylor and Nicol (2016) also utilized the CDMSE-SF to measure findings in a study consisting of an intervention titled Career and Work Exploration 30 (CWE30). This intervention lasted for a semester and emphasized work experience in the field. Participants in the study were 14 11th and 12th grade students. The researchers used a pretest and posttest design to measure career decision-making self-efficacy of the students enrolled in the CWE30 intervention. Mean scores of the pretest was 3.72 on a scale of 1 to 5. While this score fell into the “good confidence” range it was actually closer to the “moderate confidence” category. After the CWE30 intervention, the mean score of CDMSE-SF measures was 4.09, more established within the “good confidence” range (Gaylor & Nicol, 2016). The results of this study confirms other reviews stating that work experience programs are among the most impactful interventions regarding vocational transitions (Landmark, Ju, & Zhang, 2012).

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Career and college readiness curriculums are most impactful when they are delivered by qualified guidance counselors (Martinez, Baker, & Young, 2017). One study investigating the curricular intervention titled Preparing for Post-High School Education: Motivated, Informed, and Ready (PPHSE:MIR) showed the impact that guidance counselors can make. Martinez et al. (2017) investigated the efficacy of the PPHSE:MIR curriculum. The questions posed by these researchers involved the effects on post-secondary education-going knowledge and post-secondary education-going career aspiration. More central to this review, the researchers also questioned the effects of the curriculum intervention on career and college readiness self-efficacy. The treatment group consisted of 88 students while the control group was made up of 75. In short, the control group completed the PPHSE:MIR curriculum with little to no guidance from guidance counselors. Conversely, the treatment group completed the curriculum with engaging activities, interactions with social media, and encouraged conversations between participants and instructors. Using the Career and College Readiness Self-Efficacy Inventory (CCRSI) as a measurement, the results indicated the pretreatment mean score for the treatment group was 0.04. After the intervention, the mean score on the CCRSI increased to 0.83, a significant statistical increase. This study indicates the influence that guidance counselors have in improving career self-efficacy for students. In addition, the intervention is an established curriculum targeted to improve knowledge and self-efficacy of students in regard to post-secondary goals (Martinez et al, 2017).

Naviance by Hobsons

A final research study to review is an exploratory study of an intervention titled Naviance. Naviance is an education solution by the Hobsons organization that targets career and college readiness. Christian, Lawrence, and Dampman (2017) found that utilizing the Naviance system strongly correlated with college application rate. Naviance is an online platform that exposes users to data regarding careers and colleges, houses information regarding goal-setting, and also serves as a liaison between students, teachers, and guidance counselors. The study followed four total classes at a public high school in the southwest of the United States, totaling at 1,917 participants. Although this study focused on college application rate, it is uncertain if there are any correlative relationships to career decision-making self-efficacy.

Social Cognitive Theory

Student perceptions are another important component to college and career readiness. There is a wealth of research that is built upon the foundations of Bandura’s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory and theories on the term self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977). Social Cognitive Theory is the act of observing a model complete a task and learning from that observation (Bandura, 1986). Self-efficacy is a person’s beliefs regarding their abilities to perform a task or behavior (Bandura, 1977). Varying levels of self-efficacy can lead to different approaches to do tasks. For example, a person with high self-efficacy believes that they can execute the given task and, therefore, be more likely to approach that behavior. On the contrary, a person with low self efficacy doubts his ability to complete a given task and will likely avoid the task. Furthermore, Bandura put forth four sources from where self-efficacy expectations are learned and molded. These include the following: performance mastery (an experience where a behavior is performed with success), vicarious learning, verbal persuasion or encouragement from others, and levels of emotional response related to the behavior (Bandura, 1997).

Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy

  From these theoretical views, researchers have applied self efficacy to career and vocational competencies. Researchers such as Taylor and Betz (1983) have applied Bandura’s concepts of self-efficacy to vocational issues among young people. Since, many researchers have used Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy (CDMSE) and the CDMSE Short Form scale as measurement (multiple author citation needed here).  A new tool that targets post-secondary preparation among high-school students is the Naviance online platform. This tool allows students to independently access information and materials regarding transition to post-secondary goals, with limited interactions needed between students and guidance counselors. This intervention should result in a significant increase in career decision-making self-efficacy among the students that engage with the Naviance tool (Christian et al., 2017).

Many graduates are not prepared to make decisions for post-secondary education or careers. This is leading to many college-bound students paying for remedial courses or students that simply do not have skills necessary to begin a career. Past interventions include making a career exploration a school-wide responsibility, not just a duty of guidance counselors. Another approach to solving this educational issue is building a stronger relationship between schools and post-secondary institutions, and providing interventions connected to the areas of self-efficacy (vicarious, persuasion, etc.)The proposed intervention for this correlational study is the Naviance Online platform. This platform provides opportunities to gain impactful experiences and knowledge that are rooted in self-efficacy theory: namely, mastery experiences, vicarious learning, encouragement and persuasion, and mitigation of negative emotional arousal. Therefore, the Naviance platform can be expected to impact the problem of insufficient preparedness of high school graduates. Does the Naviance program impact the preparedness of students with disabilities? A central measure of this impact is the career decision-making self-efficacy of these graduates.

Purpose Statement

There is reason for stakeholders across society to be concerned with the successful transitions of students from high school to post-secondary life. Much of the research in the realm of career readiness has utilized interventions that incorporate self-efficacy theory and how it is influenced. The proposed intervention in promoting career decision-making self-efficacy for this study is the Naviance Online platform. This program may provide opportunities for students to set goals, explore careers, and identify vocational competencies. Very little research has been conducted in regards to the use of Naviance and its impact on students with disabilities. Of the research that has been done, it suggests that students may be more likely to apply for a college, but there has been little research into how Naviance may affect vocational identities of students. Therefore, this study is an attempt to establish a correlation between the career decision-making self-efficacy of students with disabilities and their interactions with the Naviance online platform.

This study will utilize a correlational design. Therefore, there will not be an independent variable and dependent variable. Instead, the study will attempt to identify a correlational relationship between usage of the Naviance program and student Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy. It is hypothesized there will be a positive correlation between the number of Naviance activities completed by students with disabilities and the CDMSE scales reported of the same student sample.


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