Decisions for Tomorrow

Decisions for Tomorrow: Plans of High School Seniors for after Graduation

RALPH F. BERDIE
ALBERT B. HOOD
Copyright Date: 1965
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttcg4
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  • Book Info
    Decisions for Tomorrow
    Book Description:

    Decisions for Tomorrow was first published in 1965. The authors surveyed almost the entire population of high school seniors in the state of Minnesota in 1961, some 45,000 young people, in order to study post-high-school plans. The findings of the study are reported here and are compared with findings of a similar survey made a decade earlier. The students were asked during their senior year to provide information about their plans for after graduation, and the eventual behavior of the students was compared with their prediction. Numerous correlations were observed between the students’ plans and such factors as ability, school achievement, socio-economic status, and personality. In addition, comparisons were made between the 1950 and 1961 studies to determine whether any observable trends might be attributable to factors as diverse as the orbiting of Sputnik or the increase in number and quality of school counselors. Special emphasis is given to the examination of the college-bound students. Their achievements, aptitudes, and personalities are compared with the same characteristics in youngsters not planning to go to college. However, the authors point out that whether concern is centered on college preparation or on larger questions of manpower, the plans and goals of high school students are of crucial importance in a society which is based on mass education of the highest possible quality. Volume 9 in the Minnesota Library on Student Personnel Work

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6151-0
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[x])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [xi]-2)
  3. 1 Attitudes, Behaviors, and Plans of High School Seniors
    (pp. 3-26)

    WHAT are the plans of high school seniors? What determines these plans? These two questions are often asked by students, parents, teachers, counselors, and by government and social planners. The wellplanned high school organization and curriculum must therefore take account of the objectives and possible future behavior of graduates. In specialized high schools, students are grouped in particular curriculums according to their educational and vocational objectives; the student who has not yet formed any definite objectives more or less arbitrarily adopts one of the available curriculums, perhaps on the advice of his parents, or he may be assigned to one...

  4. 2 An Overview: Results and Implications
    (pp. 27-40)

    A SURVEY of all graduating seniors in Minnesota high schools was undertaken in 1950 to identify their post-high-school plans and the conditions related to these plans. The survey revealed how many of the total number of students and how many from a sample of high-ability students planned to attend college, to enter nurses’ training, to obtain other types of post-high-school training, and to seek employment. These plans were related to tested academic ability, high school achievement, family economic and cultural status, and other social and psychological variables. A follow-up study one year after these students graduated revealed the extent to...

  5. 3 National and Community Change
    (pp. 41-52)

    THE choices and decisions of students as they leave high school are behaviors resulting from their preferences, abilities, interests, and inclinations. Obviously the family and the school directly influence these decisions, and we are accustomed to regarding this behavior within the social context of parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, counselors, and friends. The social settings in which these behaviors occur, however, are much broader than the school or the family and indeed extend far beyond the student’s immediate community. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the changes that occurred in this broader social context between 1950 and 1961,...

  6. 4 Two Surveys Eleven Years Apart
    (pp. 53-63)

    ALTHOUGH the information in this report is derived primarily from the high school graduates of 1961, in some chapters these students are compared with those of more than a decade earlier. The purpose of the study is to provide a description of the current generation of high school graduates in Minnesota as well as a basis for inferences about changes over the intervening eleven years. The present chapter deals more directly with comparisons between the two generations of 1950 and 1961.

    Several questions are relevant. How do the two generations differ? To what extent did the proportions of each plan...

  7. 5 A Follow-Up One Year after Graduation
    (pp. 64-69)

    IN 1951 a follow-up survey of a sample of the 1950 graduates was conducted to determine to what extent the plans made by these students in the middle of their senior year were actually fulfilled during the following year. Although many students changed their plans, the over-all proportions of students actually pursuing the various plans were close to the proportions of those who had chosen these plans the year before. Conditions in 1961 differed considerably from those of a decade earlier, and although it was expected that the over-all “realizability” of plans would be essentially the same as for 1950,...

  8. 6 Ability and College Attendance
    (pp. 70-82)

    THE previous chapter reported that the numbers as well as the proportion of high school graduates entering college have increased significantly over the past decade. Many persons interested in higher education have become alarmed about these large increases, fearful that more students of lower ability must be included now that “everybody” is attending college. This, they assert, naturally results in a watered-down, less vigorous, and less intellectual experience for the more talented students who formerly had the campuses to themselves.

    If from the study of the achievement and aptitude records of high school seniors we find that lower ability students...

  9. 7 Effects of School and Community on Decisions for College
    (pp. 83-96)

    DECISIONS of high school students to attend college are related to other attitudes and behavioral tendencies. These predispositions all are formed by the many experiences which constitute the student’s life. These experiences in turn are influenced by families, teachers, friends, geography, finances, and other facts in the student’s behavioral history.

    Most of the determinants of post-high-school plans reported in this study prior to this chapter have been inferred from the student’s comments about himself and his background. With the exception of test scores and high school percentile rank, all the variables have been obtained from a questionnaire eliciting verbal responses...

  10. 8 Personal Values and Attitudes
    (pp. 97-105)

    FOR students in 1950 and 1961, post-high-school plans were related to ability, sex, academic record, socioeconomic status, and the region from which they came. Within any one group, however homogeneous on the basis of these variables, students differed in choice of plan. A group restricted to those with high test scores, superior school grades, and families with similar educational and economic backgrounds included some who planned to attend college and others who planned to seek employment immediately after graduation from high school. Although much of the variance explaining post-high-school plans can be attributed to these variables, much of the source...

  11. 9 Socioeconomic and Ability Variables
    (pp. 106-115)

    ONE method of examining the relationships between social and psychological variables and college attendance is to compute correlation coefficients between these variables and post-high-school plans. Since similar data were available for both 1950 and 1961 students, correlations could be computed in order to study changes in relationships which occurred over the intervening eleven years. In this way a number of questions could be answered: Has ability become more, or less, important as a determinant of college attendance? Have socioeconomic variables become more, or less, important? Has income alone become a more, or less, important determinant? How have changes in the...

  12. 10 Students Bound for College
    (pp. 116-125)

    IN 1961, of the 44,756 students who expressed some post-highschool plan, 18,233, or 41 per cent, planned to attend college. These plans were related significantly to the sex of the student: 45 per cent of the boys planned on college as compared with 37 per cent of the girls. In each of the three areas more boys than girls planned to attend college as shown in the accompanying tabulation. About 10 per cent more

    boys than girls from the metropolitan and nonfarm areas planned to attend college while the proportions of each sex living on farms and planning on college...

  13. 11 Students Seeking Jobs
    (pp. 126-134)

    ABOUT one fourth of the 1961 graduating high school seniors indicated they planned to enter the labor market upon graduation from high school. Over twice as many girls as boys planned to get jobs, 32 per cent as opposed to 15 per cent. These proportions also varied considerably by residence area. For the boys, these proportions planned to seek jobs: metropolitan, 12 per cent; nonfarm, 15 per cent; and farm, 21 per cent. For the girls, these figures were 30, 29, and 40 per cent respectively. As was discussed in a previous chapter, the proportions planning to seek employment, especially...

  14. 12 Plans of High-Ability Students
    (pp. 135-143)

    IN THE 1950 study special attention was given to the plans of high-ability students — the 3939 students who achieved a score of 120 or above on the American Council on Education Psychological Examination (ACE). They represented the top 18 per cent of the high school seniors for whom data were available. A comparable sample from the 1961 group included all students scoring 45 or above on the Minnesota Scholastic Aptitude Test (MSAT). In this group were 7351 students, or 17 per cent of the 1961 seniors.

    The 1961 high-ability group contained more girls (54.9 per cent) than boys (45.1 per...

  15. 13 High-Ability Students from Workmen’s Homes
    (pp. 144-150)

    ONE method used in the 1950 investigation to observe the effects of social and cultural conditions on college attendance consisted of holding constant ability and economic background and studying the relationships between other factors and college attendance. Economic level was held constant by selecting only students who came from workmen’s homes — those whose fathers were either skilled or unskilled workers. Variation in ability was minimized by including only students who had scores of 120 or above on the ACE, which placed them in the top 18 per cent of high school seniors. By selecting a similar sample from the 1961...

  16. 14 Girls Who Planned to Enter Nursing
    (pp. 151-157)

    OF THE 22,550 girls who reported their post-high-school plans, 1594, or 7 per cent, planned to enter nursing. Other girls in the sample who planned to enter nursing through a four-year college program and gave “college attendance” as their post-high-school plan were not included in this nursing group. The nursing group consisted primarily of girls who planned to enter a school of nursing, either to earn their certificates as registered nurses or to train, without college preparation, in practical nursing.

    The proportions entering nursing varied slightly according to residence area, with 5 per cent of the metropolitan girls and 8...

  17. 15 Girls Who Planned to Attend Business School
    (pp. 158-164)

    GIRLS planning to attend business school numbered 1655, or 7 per cent of the senior girls who completed questionnaires. Although the actual number increased from 1015 in 1950 to 1655 in 1961, the proportions of girls planning on business school dropped slightly from 8 to 7 per cent. Distribution among residence areas was as follows: 9 per cent of the farm girls, 8 per cent of the nonfarm girls, and 6 per cent of the metropolitan girls. While the proportions of students planning on college and trade school have increased significantly over the past decade, the proportion planning to attend...

  18. 16 Boys Who Planned to Attend Trade School
    (pp. 165-170)

    OF THE 22,206 boys completing the questionnaire, 1820 planned to attend trade school, more than double the 782 boys who indicated this plan in 1950 although the actual proportion of male graduates planning on trade school increased only from 7 to 8 per cent during this period. In addition 979 girls, 4 per cent of the graduating girls, planned to attend trade school, a large increase over the 1 per cent who made this choice in 1950. Since so few of the girls planned to attend trade school, however, no detailed description of them will be provided here.

    The mean...

  19. 17 Boys Planning to Enter Military Service
    (pp. 171-175)

    IN 1950, 6 per cent of the male graduates planned to enter military service immediately. In 1961, this proportion, 18 per cent, was times as great, second only to the proportion planning on college, greater than the proportion planning on jobs.

    The mean MSAT score for students entering military service (24.64) well below that for students planning on college but close to, although significantly higher than, the means for boys planning on jobs or school. The mean high school rank (31.3) was lower than that for planning to attend trade school and equal to that of the job seekers. Aptitudes...

  20. 18 Profiles: Who Chooses What Plan?
    (pp. 176-186)

    STUDENTS in Minnesota can be divided into many groups on the basis of their post-high-school plans. The average student in one group differs from the average student in other groups in many ways: he comes from a different family background; he has different abilities; he has different attitudes and values. These groups are different and the differences lead to inferences about the influences determining a student’s decisions.

    Although these group differences are interesting and stimulate speculation, they should not conceal the diversity prevailing in any one group. On almost any variable, considering almost any dimension, the total range within any...

  21. Index
    (pp. 189-195)