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Key Elements of

Middle School Education Program

By Dr. Mary Askew http://www.hollandcodes.com

Based upon the National Career Development Guidelines, the key elements of a middle school
career education program increased students’ awareness of their own interests and helped them
learn about a wide variety of occupations. The key elements of Middle School Career Education
Program included -

* Career exploration resources – Tests, web sites, books, and software

* Interest inventories

* Career portfolios

* Field trips

* Curriculum

* Career days

* Community partnerships

Career Tests

Middle school career tests provided information on the relationship between job interests, key
characteristics, college majors, hobbies, abilities, and related careers. According to Bell, T.H.
(1983), middle school students used career tests to identify the three high career activity
interests, and the three low areas of interest. Then, Lane (2000) discussed that the avoidance of
low interest areas was far more important since low interest areas minimized personal

Career Portfolio

As a second key element, career portfolios recorded the journey from school to post secondary
training and/ or the world of work.
Lane (2000) reported that a portfolio was a written account that compiled -

* Vision, goals, and dreams

* Important resource people

* Valuable learning opportunities

* Major career exploration objectives

* Learning activities, skill practice, fieldwork, interviews, and work experience

* Personal, academic, and social strengths

* Areas that need improvement?

* Evaluation of skill and personal development performance in the major areas of career

* Junior high school courses liked most and the success in such courses.

* Junior high school courses liked least and the success in those courses.

* Sports and athletics and success in such areas

* Music, dancing, and acting and success in such areas

* Literature, writing, and speaking and the success in such areas

* Three high career interest activities

* Three low career interest activities

* Three high general aptitude areas

* Three low general aptitude areas

* Three high job-career plans with reasons for selection

Community Partnerships

In addition to career tests and portfolios, community resources served key elements.
Examples of community resources and partnerships were -

* Field trips to community businesses and agencies

* Community resource speakers

* career awareness fair

* Special collaborative programs (Smith 2000)

Community resources and partnerships provided opportunities for students to explore the world
of work. Community events expanded the students’ understanding of job duties, work place
skills, and the relevancy of school subjects.

Middle school career education program provided students with awesome opportunities to gain
self awareness as well as to explore and understand the world of work. Career exploration
resources, career portfolios, community partnerships and career days provided invaluable


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