Sara Joy Bailey.

Effects of a classroom simulation on selected career decision-making variables with ninth-grade students. online

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students which met three criteria 1

1. An item must correlate to grade point average
at .10 or higher, either sex.

2. If an item qualifies for one sex, a correlation
of .08 must be found for the other sex.

3. An item must show a higher per cent of high
achievers preferring that response than lower

Research has shown some relationship with ability; however,

the studies are not yet complete. An instrument designed

to measure specific attitudes (not an omnibus measure)

toward instruction was designed by Finch (1969). Students

were to indicate the degree to which they agreed or

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disagreed with statements relating to a. particular period
of instruction. Initial tests conducted with vocational
students showed a reliability coefficient of .918, with a
repeat of .93l» A completely different measurement instru-
ment for assessing attitude established a semantic
differential. Seven positions on an ordinal scale were
used with bipolar adjectives* extremely, moderately,
slightly, neutral, slightly, moderately, extremely. Three -
revisions yielded an item correlation of .20 or higher,
standardized on high school and college students.

The Survey of Study Habits and Attitudes (SSHA) by ,
Brown and Holtzman is a widely used attitude assessment
instrument (Draayer & McLure 1972; Haslam & Brown 1968?
Khan & Roberts 1969; Martens 1964). Form H, for use with
students in grades seven through twelve, was developed and
standardized after the initial test (Holtzman & Brown 1968).
Other improvements corrected shortcomings — the use of
different norms and scoring keys by sex; the use of only
forty- three of seventy-five items; results in terms of one
score — and benefited counselor purposes (Roark & Harrington
1969). Two studies have shown that the SSHA does seem to
measure significant nonintellectual variables while having
predictive qualities of grades (Khan & Roberts 196 9; Martens
1964). The SSHA has also been used as the major instrument
in studies of the effectiveness of various educational
problems (Draayer & McLure 1972; Haslam & Brown 1968),

Two research problems concerning- attitude change. have
been observed and studied. Questioning the relationship
between new information and cognitive change accompanying
such learning, Greenberg (196*0 conducted a research study. =
Field studies, which show that selective exposure (purposely
choosing what agrees with one's cognitions and thereby
having no opportunity to learn facts to the contrary)
operates in learning situations, raise the question of
whether learning may modify beliefs. Working with, students
at. San Francisco State College, in political science classes,
Greenberg found that if an individual is deliberately exposed
to new information, he begins to learn "perhaps in spite of
himself." Learning changes one's belief structure and then
the change directs one to acquire more information.. Which
comes first has not been determined (Greenberg 1964).
Another problem of attitudinal change research has been . .
studied by Nosanchuk, Mann, and Pletka (1972). They were,
concerned with the effects of a pretest on the subsequent
learning? specifically with the effects of the communication
of information within the test, the commitment demanded by
signing the pretest, and the decisioning demanded by-
responding to the. pretest. A complex design utilizing one
hundred thirty-six students in an introductory psychology
class showed that none of the three has any significant

A longitudinal analysis of the relationship between
high school values and participation with educational-


occupational achievement has shown that values in high
school radically change shortly after graduation, having
no significant relationship to future educational and
occupational achievement. A suggested explanation is that
there is a lack of association between the two (Snyder I969).
This explanation, if assumed to be correct, gives impetus
to the need for finding some means of helping high school
students see such a relationship and its relevance to them-

Simulation and Games

The impetus of simulation and gaming as an educational
tool is evidenced in part by the number of books currently
being published (Abt 1970; Boocock & Schild 1968; Carlson
1969; Raser 1969? Tansey & Unwin 1969). Educational games
have been characterized as follows i

1. Simplification of the real world

2. Progression as a series of cycles, each a
period of time and a sequence of events

3. Compression of time

4. Employment of a simulated environment which
represents aspects of the real world

5. Instructions for students to act out roles

6. Competitive

(Kasperson I968). Games induce learning by two means; the
high level motivation and interest focuses player attention
to specific tasks and skills; a series of contingencies is
established, "where reinforcement is contingent upon

specific behaviors ..." (Schild 1966). Before acceptance
of this technique, Seals (1971) recommends consideration of
several issues.

1. Willingness to use the necessary time

2. Consideration of students' background and their
specific needs

3. Personal and school philosophy

4. Oversimplification of the situation

5. Availability of materials

6. Justification as part of the curriculum

7. Evaluation process

8. Emphasis: winning or learning?

9. Preparation for participation in society

10. Sophistication for realism

11. "Dehumanizing" to children

The potential value of simulation and gaming involves
several features. The motivational quality is heightened
(Abt 1970 ; Boocock & Coleman 1966; Kasperson 1968; Kelly
1970; Raser I969; Stark 1968; Tansey & Unwin I969).
Cruickshank (1972) describes simulation as developing more
involvement, both intellectually and emotionally. This
involvement is based on the natural interest inherent in
children in games—even small children become involved in
"playing store" (Rogers & Kysilka 1970). Another factor is
the immediate feedback which results (Kasperson 1968;
Schild 1966; Stark 1968). Not only does the student learn

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to anticipate and deal with situations, receiving the
consequences immediately (Rogers & Kysilka 1970), but after
seeing the effects of his decision-making, in many simula-
tions he must live with those effects (Kelly 1970). The
feedback factor is heightened by another feature—the
opportunity for decision-making without censure (Tansey &
Unwin 1969). This permits the student to engage in "danger-
ous, threatening situations" without problems (Cruickshank
1972) and offers the opportunity for repeated trials
(Kasperson 1968; Schild 1966).. The actual simulation
situation affords several potentially valuable features.
The simplification from the "real" to the "simulated" makes
the whole situation "easier to see" (Baser 19&9), thus ,
facilitating adaptation to crucial factors (Schild I966).
Simulation can also provide experiences v/hich are not
normally available (Boocock & Coleman 1966; Cruickshank
1972). Another potentially valuable factor involves the
role of the teacher, as a consultant and helper, not a
judge; the game being self- judging with the outcome deciding
the winner (Boocock & Coleman 1966 ; Rogers & Kysilka 1970;
Tansey & Unwin 19&9). However, Fletcher (1971) has questioned,
this factor on the basis that at the same time, different
students will see the teacher's role from different view-
points. The various learning potentialities constitute
another value. In Serious Games Abt (1970) identifies four
types of learning* intuition-building (also, Stark I968),

problem-solving, social behavior training, and allocation
of resources. The opportunity for personality development
and stimulation of the imagination is suggested by Stark
(1968). The focus on decision-making skills as well as on
factual knowledge and concepts is yet another learning
potential (Rogers & Kysilka 1970). A final value in
simulation and gaming is its appropriateness for students
of all levels (Rogers & Kysilka 1970), especially in that
students can simultaneously learn different things on
different levels in the same game (Abt 1970).

Simulation, however potentially valuable, has some
limitations. The teacher's attitude can be a hindrance
(Boocock & Schild 1968)} the situation may be threatening
since the teacher no longer has the "right" answers (Rogers
& Kysilka 1970) . The opposite, attraction for the student,
may also be a limitation if the simulation is a substitute
for learning, emphasizing winning, not learning (Boocock
& Schild 1968; Kasperson 19681 Rogers & Kysilka 1970). The
expense of commercial simulations and the time involved may
also be limitations (Rogers & Kysilka 1970). Baldwin (I969)
points out some detrimental administrative problems.
Instructions and/or suggestive labels can suggest behaviors.
Excessive rules or progressively complex situations can
affect the development of strategies.

Professional literature contains many reports of studies
using simulation and gaming techniques in educational

situations, both in general curricular settings and in
counseling settings. In the social science area, a Commu-
nity Disaster simulation has been tested. Reporting
descriptive results (not empirical), Inbar (1966) supported
the motivational and teaching values. Kinkade and Kidd
(1962) used an operational game as a method of task famil-
iarization with air traffic control, concluding that the
game facilitated the training process more economically.
The Department of Agricultural Education at Pennsylvania
State University tested the effectiveness of alternative
uses of simulation in agricultural management (Curtis 1971).
The conclusions were as follows i

1. Simulation is useful for teaching concepts to
high school students and adults.

2. Interest is high and sustained.

3. Team size, the number of decisions, and the type
of data may be varied without sacrificing

4. Model complexity has no adverse effect.

5. The method of dissemination of material has a
significant effect.

In teacher education, simulated teaching experiences were

offered, with novice teachers working first with other

teachers and then with students. Evidence supported the

fact that behavior acquired during the simulation with

peers transferred to work with students (Emmer 19?1).

Counselors and counselor educators have also used

simulation with students on all levels. Although supported


by no empirical evidence, the University of Missouri has
developed a program using simulation techniques in counsel-
ing practicums, which is considered successful (Gysbers &
Moore 1970). Simulated career experiences in the form of
kits were designed at Sanford University (Peterson 1972;
Johnson, R. G. 1971). Five guidelines were in the design
of each kit i

1. Realistic and representative problems from the

2. Reading level such that ninety-five per cent
of the students have no difficulty

3. Problems intrinsically interesting to a majority
of the students

4. Problems successfully read and solved in fifty
minutes by seventy-five per cent of the students

5. Self-contained, self -administered

(Krumboltz & Sheppard 1969). Research, following that of
Krumboltz and using a test of occupational information and
self-rated interest in obtaining more occupational informa-
tion, showed no difference between simulation and a general
approach in motivating interest in learning about vocations
in general. However, the kits did generate more interest
in specific occupations (Johnson, R. G. 1971). The Life
Career Game, developed by Boocock, has been researched with
high school students. It utilizes the learning principles
of modeling, reinforcement, successive approximation,
discrimination learning, and skill development. The deci-
sion-making conditions are fulfilled through involvement,

the realization of a need for facts — where to find them
and how to use them — a clarification of values, and practice
in decision-making (Varenhorst 1969). A research study-
conducted at a Four-H convention utilized two games— career
and legislature — with each group a control group for the
other. The overall evaluation was that "a good deal of
learning — and several different kinds of learning— can occur
in simulation games of this sort" (Boocock 1966? Boocock
& Coleman 1966 ) . Empirical research with the Life Career
Game at the University of Missouri tested the amount of
learning of educational-occupational information, the reten-
tion of this information, and interest in the activity. The
results showed no difference in the experimental and control
groups in interest; with educational information the
experimental group learned less, while the groups were equal
in learning occupational information? the two groups were
equal in retaining educational information, while the experi-
mental group retained more occupational information (Johnson
& Euler 1972). Collecting data from several research
experiments, Boocock (1967) has noted several positive
characteristics of the Life Career Game.

1. High interest

2. Efficient means of communicating factual infor-

3. "Substitute for experience"

4. Appreciation for the importance and the complex-
ities of decisions ahead


Evaluation of the processes, strategies, and general
outcomes of simulations and games is needed (Fletcher 1971;
Kelly 1970; Schild 1966; Twelker 1972) . However, some
research in these areas is available. Using the Generation
Gap game, Chartier (1972) has attempted to answer the
questions "Would discussion of game experience aid learn-
ing — both at the cognitive and the affective level?" .
Although differences were not significant, the affective
level was higher with the game experience; the cognitive
level reflected no difference. Likewise, research in
junior college political science classes revealed no signifi-
cant change in cognitive learning through simulation
experiences, but- desirable attitudinal changes were noted
(Heinkel 1970). In general, empirical findings support only
the hypothesis that more interest is generated ;' all other
hypotheses — more facts learned, better retention, critical
thinking and decision-making skill developed, attitudes
altered — must be at least tentatively rejected (Gherryholmes


The quantity of professional literature related to the
focus of this research attests to the relevance of such
study. The content of such literature supports the fact
that simulation is a possible innovative technique for
vocational-educational counseling. The emphasis upon
decision-making skills lends validity to the use of

simulation techniques because of the incorporation into the
process of opportunities to develop these skills with
immediate feedback for evaluation. However, this review
of the literature has also revealed a need for further
research, not only for developing theoretical explanations
of the processes, but also for identifying and researching
the effectiveness of these techniques. The research pro-
posed represents an effort to contribute to the growing
knowledge of the effectiveness of MOLD with students,
focusing on its effects upon a student's behavior in a
decision-making situation, knowledge of graduation require-
ments, level of vocational maturity, and attitude toward
school and study.

Design and Methodology

Although students are continually making important
educational and vocational decisions, the spring semester
brings these into focus with emphasis upon selecting a
curriculum for the following school year. The significance
of these curriculum decisions is accentuated for ninth-
grade students at Whitehaven High School because they have
the opportunity—for the first time— to choose between
academic and vocational programs, as well as among the
various facets within each broad designation. This research
study utilizes this focus in assessing the effects of
MOLD on ninth-grade students as related to the four
independent variables.

Description of Treatment

Making of Life Decisions (MOLD) is a unique approach
to career decision-making developed by Richard H. Johnson.
It motivates students through direct involvement in a series
of eight activities, each designed to focus upon one specif-
ic aspect of career decision-makings personal assessment,
occupational exploration, occupation choice, educational
exploration, and educational choice. Some activities are


. M2

individual, while others involve group participation;
however, each concludes with a group discussion and evalua-
tion. Activities range from simple tasks (sentence comple-
tion) to a simulation experience, in which a student makes
a personal evaluation, then makes decisions "based on that
evaluation, and finally is given probable consequences.

Method of Research

The overall method of research has "been developed as
herein presented in an effort to provide an experimental
situation which parallels as closely as possible the actual
conditions under which MOLD is intended to be used. Consid-
eration has also been ^ivon -ho "H-iq pynpriwei+S.1 co.+ -t- < injr. .
with efforts to design a study which realizes the maximum
potential of the purposes yet is appropriate within the
limits of the setting.


This research study employs a posttest-only control

group design (Campbell & Stanley 1963) . The following is a

graphic summary of the design:

Phases I II . Ill IV

Treatment R 1 X 1 O o 0„Q,,0 c .

Control I R OJ" X, . O^OTO?

Control II R OJ ■ 0|0^oJo|

X ± - MOLD " '

X 2 - Unstructured Study Hall

1 - I.Q, scores

2 - Graduation Requirements Test
0„ - CDI


0^ - Individual Interview

• - ^3

The first phase involves a randomized selection of
ninety-six students from all students enrolled in ninth-
grade homerooms, forty-eight boys and forty-eight girls,
randomly assigned to one of the three groups, with
stratification by sex. The randomization represents an
effort to assure a lack of initial biases among the three
groups, thereby permitting the omission of pretests
(Campbell & Stanley I963). The use of a control group
selected from within the same school has been studied and
results have shown that the contamination which would
possibly occur is negligible (Rothney & Lewis 1969;
Johnson, R. H. 1970).

Phase two provides a means of checking the randomi-
zation,, using I.Q. scores found on students* cumulative
records. If significant difference is found among the
groups on this variable, the statistical analysis for the
instruments in phase four is adjusted to eliminate any

Phase three provides for the testing of xMOLD against
the two control groups, one control group remaining
unidentified except to the experimenter until the posttest-
ing; the other group meeting at the same periods as the
treatment group for an unstructured study. hall, with voca-
tional-educational, materials available..

Phase four is concerned with the three instruments
and the individual interview which measure the four vari- .
ables being studied. Each instrument is administered to


all students and then each student hag an individual
interview with a counselor, the purpose of such interview
being to give the student his curriculum selection sheet.


The research was conducted in Memphis, Tennessee,
a large metropolitan city of approximately 626,000 people.
Located in the extreme southwest corner of Tennessee, it
serves as a center for the rural and industrial region
known as the "Mid-South" or the "Tri-State" area. Memphis
provides a link to the Midwest, being the major crossing
point of the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri,
and New Orleans, Louisiana.

The school in which the research was conducted is
Whitehaven High School, one of twenty-nine high schools in
the tenth largest school district in the United States.
The experimenter is currently employed as a counselor in
this school. The school has a staff of sixty-four and an
integrated student body of approximately fifteen hundred,
with an approximate ratio of ninety percent white and ten
percent black. Located in a suburban community in the
southern part of Memphis, Whitehaven was one of several
high schools which was annexed into the city system in 1970.
The socio-economic level of the students ranges from low,
many black students living in a low-income housing project, .
to higher levels, students from professional families.

Whitehaven is a comprehensive high school, built in
1928, with a broad curriculum offering both college prepar-
atory and vocational programs. The college preparatory
curriculum includes these subject areas: English, mathe-
matics, social studies, science, language, music. Within
the vocational program, business, automotive shop, machine
shop, cosmetology, and distributive education are offered.


The subjects for this research study were randomly
selected from those students enrolled in the ninth-grade
homerooms at Whitehaven High School during the spring, 1973*
These students came to Whitehaven from schools of varying
situations: junior high schools (grades seven through nine) ;
junior-senior high schools (grades seven through twelve);
and elementary schools (grades one through eight), pre-
dominantly the latter. Also included in the list for random
selection were those students who, because of their failure
to obtain enough credits, were repeating some ninth-grade ',•'■
subjects and possibly taking some tenth-grade subjects, but
who -were classified as ninth-grade students.

These students were given the opportunity to make
course selections within' a few weeks following the study.
The. research design utilized this factor in studying the
variables. The choices available to these students repre-
sented a broader scope than previously available, with the

options of an academic, a business, of a vocational program.


Phase One: From a composite list of all students
assigned to ninth-grade homerooms, boys and girls separated,
forty-eight boys and forty-eight girls were selected,
using a table of random numbers from Fisher and Yates*
Statistical Tables for Biological and Medical Research
(1963)* These students were randomly assigned to one
of three groups 1 Treatment, Control I, Control II.

Phase Two; The cumulative records of the students
selected were examined and the latest I.Q. score recorded.
An analysis of variance was computed to determine if a
significant difference existed among the three groups. If
there was no difference on this variable, the groups were to
be treated as statistically equal? if there was a difference,
adjustment was to be made by means of a co -variant analysis
in phase four.

Phase Three: Those students in the treatment group

spent one period daily, approximately fifty-five minutes,

rotating through the six available periods, for a total

of eight days, experiencing MOLD. Each day one activity as

outlined by the MOLD program was presented. These are

briefly described by the following outline?

First Day

Activity Is Personal Assessment

"Complete the Sentence"
Focus « The process and personal relevance of
career decision-making

■7 M

Second Day

Activity 2» Personal Assessment

■"The.Mei Tree" ■'.■'.

Focus s Understanding of abilities and interests

Third Day

Activity 3: Personal Assessment

"The Millionaire"
Focus: Personal values that affect career

Fourth Day

Activity 4: Occupational Exploration

Focus: Occupational groupings

Fifth Day-
Activity 5 s Occupational Choice

"Guess a Group Game"
Focus: Personal reasons for selecting an
occupational area

Sixth Day

Activity 6: Educational Exploration

"'^he Simulation"
Focus: ' Educational requirements and electives

Seventh Day , .

Activity 7: Educational Choice

"The Simulation II"
Focus: Components of educational choices

Eighth Day

Activity 8: Other Exploration
Focus: Other possible actions

Those students in Control I spent one period daily,
approximately fifty-five minutes, rotating through the six
available periods, for a total of eight days, in a study
hall. There were no structured activities — rather, educa-
tional-vocational materials were made available, but with .
no insistence that students use them. A teacher was in

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Online LibrarySara Joy BaileyEffects of a classroom simulation on selected career decision-making variables with ninth-grade students. → online text (page 3 of 6)