School-Based Career Development: A Synthesis of the Literature

Hughes, Katherine Lee; Karp, Melinda Jane Mechur

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Amendments of 1998 extended support for “career guidance and academic counseling.” A wide variety of such interventions are in existence. Since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 emphasizes evidence-based education, it is important to examine the research to determine the value of these programs. This synthesis of the research literature, covering meta-analyses and individual studies on comprehensive guidance programs, career courses, counseling interventions and computer-assisted career guidance, finds many benefits to students of career guidance and academic counseling interventions. On a variety of career-related and academic measures, student subjects did have increased outcomes. However, there are also limitations to the interventions and to the research methods studying them. Many of the interventions are short-term, low-dosage activities, with lasting benefits unclear. In addition, much of the research relies on self-reported responses to psychological inventories. Based on the findings of the research review, recommendations are to focus practice and research on middle-school students, and target resources towards ensuring that all middle- and high-school students have regular conferences with counselors to discuss their current and future academic programs. Finally, research should focus on exploring the relationships between guidance interventions and positive student behaviors, rather than attitudes.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
April 3, 2014