Besnoy, Clayton-Code, and Whitman conducted a qualitative study to evaluate the effectiveness of a daylong career development conference offered to male high school juniors and seniors residing in a Midwestern metropolitan area. The conference referred to as Man Up! Men’s Leadership Summit, served as the focus in the study and included the participation of 166 high school students interested in charting a career path. The authors concluded that this type of conferences can have a positive impact on assisting male students in identifying transitional paths to postsecondary education.
In turn, George-Jackson and Lichtenberger examined how background and school factors impact interest to major in one of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields for high school students. Based on the analysis of a binary logistic regression model, the authors found that high school course taking in science and scores on science and math standardized tests were significantly and positively related to an increased interest in STEM majors. Other significant individual factors shaping college aspirations were gender, ethnicity, and SES. On the other hand school factors such as teacher academic qualifications had a negative but significant relationship with STEM interest, while teacher experience had a small but significant positive relationship.
Finally, Cannon, Kitchel, and Tenuto shared the findings of a study seeking to describe Idaho superintendents’ perceptions of Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher’s professional development needs. Based on a descriptive method, the authors reported that teaching critical/creative thinking skills and proper safety attitudes were viewed as most important. Further, integrating reading and writing standards into CTE curricula were rated as the highest priority for perceived in-service professional development.
Collectively, the articles reflect the current interest in understanding how to promote college and career readiness in general and in STEM fields in particular. In addition to background and school factors, career and technical education is becoming an important vehicle for promoting both college and career readiness. In addition, the role of professional development is also recognized as an important component for improving the quality of teaching, learning, and career development in schools.