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    STUDIA SOCIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2010  

Authors:  .
  Abstract:  The world economy is changing and putting more pressure on schools to prepare students to be academically successful and career ready. However, many teachers and school systems are not prepared to help their students understand the links between what is being learned in class work and future jobs and careers. CareerStart is a middle grades teaching strategy that attempts to increase the career relevance of core curriculum courses (math, language arts, social studies and science) in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Teachers augment their instruction by giving examples of how what they are teaching is related to the careers and job skills of people in their communities. Example lessons are available on-line and teachers are encouraged to create their own lessons. This report provides data on the implementation of CareerStart and provides findings from a longitudinal evaluation of over 3,000 students in a large school district. Results confirm that students with most of the teachers providing career illustrated lessons are significantly more likely than students not hearing career examples to: 1) be highly engaged in the schools, 2) have fewer unexcused absences, 3) be less likely to get into trouble and get suspended, and 4) perform better on their end-of-grade math and reading tests. The findings are interpreted as providing support for the possible-selves early adolescence learning theory and to support efforts to begin career exploration with students in the core classes of their middle grades of schooling.

Keywords: CareerStart, school engagement, school success, longitudinal study
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