Date of Award

7-2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership with a Global Perspective

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Frederick Dembowski

Second Advisor

Richard Cohen

Third Advisor

Cindy Skaruppa

Abstract

Advanced societies require technologically literate citizens who can solve problems, manage complexities, find and use resources, and learn and apply evolving technologies (Owen, 1997). Today's rapidly changing economy is defined by constantly evolving technologies and falling behind is a recipe for disaster (Augustine, 1997). At the forefront is a reality that for most people, particularly the youth, the period during and beyond high school is marked by important career decision-making tasks. Determining what to do next in their lives remains an important but arduous developmental task for the youth leaving secondary school. As the world of work becomes more complex and , technologically dynamic, the career decision-making the youth undergo also becomes more complex (Ireh, 1999, p.1).

Historically and presently, African Americans, as a group, continue to pursue low skilled and social type professional occupations, while the demand for math, science, and technically related workers steadily rise (Paul, 1998, p.1). In an increasingly technological society, under-representation of Blacks in math, science, and technical courses and occupations warrants serious attention (Gainor, 1997, p. 1). If this trend continues, the employment opportunities will likely become increasingly limited for the Black and female populations (Paul, 1998).

The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that influence the subject/course selection of students of African descent who chose to take business and/or computer technology courses in high school. This study also investigated the relationships between dependent variable, the total number of business and/or computer technology courses taken, and the independent variables: gender, culture, parent occupation, source of school funding, neighborhood setting, level of perceived barriers, level of commitment, and level of academic work ethic. The sample population consisted of 117 students who are majoring in business or computer technology at Florida Memorial College.

Two separate analyses were conducted to examine the impact select variables had on subject selection process of students of African descent. Analysis 1, Multiple Regression, used all independent variables, whereas Analysis 2, t-test, was restricted to two independent variables: total number of perceived barriers and culture. A crosstabulation and a correlation analysis were also conducted. For the most part, the results of the Multiple Regression Analysis did not show strong results or statistical significance. Sub-null hypothesis H-01G regarding commitment was found to have statistical significance and therefore rejected.

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