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School records and hiring

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Title:
School records and hiring motivation of non-college bound youth
Portion of title:
Motivation of non-college bound youth
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Reiter, Kenneth Frank
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English
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xiv, 267 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 29 cm

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Employee selection -- United States ( lcsh )
Academic achievement -- United States ( lcsh )
High school students -- United States ( lcsh )
Motivation in education ( lcsh )
Academic achievement ( fast )
Employee selection ( fast )
High school students ( fast )
Motivation in education ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 243-267).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, Educational Leadership and Innovation.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kenneth Frank Reiter.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocm34055304
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LD1190.E3 1995d .R45 ( lcc )

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Full Text
SCHOOL RECORDS AND HIRING: MOTIVATION
OF NON-COLLEGE BOUND YOUTH
by
Kenneth Frank Reiter
B.A., Bowling Green University, 1967
M.A., Roosevelt University, 1971
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirments for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
1995


11


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Kenneth Frank Reiter
has been approved for the


Reiter, Kenneth F. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
School Records and Hiring: Motivation of Non-College Bound
Youth
Thesis directed by Professor Michael J. Murphy
ABSTRACT
This thesis examines whether employers' use of school records in
the hiring process would provide incentive for improved entry-level
workforce skills among U.S. non-college bound youth. Demographic
projections indicate that increasingly the non-college bound population will
include a greater proportion of low S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority
youth. These youth have historically done poorly in acquiring the basic
skills needed in the workplace. Studies indicate that these youth lack
incentive and motivation for school achievement and see little connection
between school achievement and the preparation needed to enter the
workforce. The use of school records in hiring, a practice thought to
provide an important incentive for the motivation of non-college bound
Japanese students, is rarely used in the U.S. It is posited that U.S.
employers' use of school records in hiring would provide an incentive to
iv


motivate U.S. non-college bound youth to attain improved entry-level
workforce skills.
In this study, school achievement, attitude, and motivation of non-
college bound U.S. students having the perception that employers use
school records in hiring were compared to those of similar students without
such perception.
This study employed survey research methods. From three Colorado
high schools, 211 senior-level students completed a Biographical Data and
Opinion Gathering Survey designed for this research and the Learning and
Study Strategies Inventory by Weinstein, Palmer, and Schulte published in
1987. Students' cumulative records and attendance records were obtained
from each school's registrar. Chi-square analyses were used to determine
how school performance was related to perceptions of employers' use of
school records in hiring.
Contrary to expectations, non-college bound students who perceive
that employers review school records when hiring were found to have
levels of academic achievement in basic skills coursework, annual
attendance, attitudes toward doing schoolwork, and motivation to take
responsibility for doing schoolwork no different from those of students who
v


do not perceive that employers review school records when hiring. This
research indicates that employers' review of school records in the hiring
process of non-college bound U.S. youth may not improve their school
achievement. This study has implications for schools, business, and the
study of U.S. school-to-work linkages.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's
vi


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.......................................1
Concept Explored...................................7
Purpose of the Study...............................9
Questions Used to Guide the Research..............11
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..........................12
Conceptual Basis..................................12
The Need for Improved Workforce Skills
Among Non-College Bound U.S. Students.............15
International Comparisons and U.S.
Non-College Bound Students........................23
The Japanese Model................................30
The U.S. Model....................................50
Achievement Motivation Theory.....................57
Human Capital Theory..............................64
Credentialing Theory..............................72
Summary...........................................80
3. METHODOLOGY.......................................86
Instruments.......................................91
vii


The Biographical Data-Opinion Gathering
Survey: Biographical Data Component..............92
The Biographical Data-Opinion Gathering
Survey: Opinion Component........................95
The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory......96
Gathering of School Achievement Data.............98
Pilot Study.....................................100
Research Population...................................100
Procedures............................................104
Meeting with Staff..............................104
Administration of the Instruments...............105
Data Gathering..................................106
Statistical Analysis..................................107
Informal Follow-up Interviews........................ 113
Summary.............................................. 114
4. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION...............................116
Introduction..........................................116
Description of the Sample Population............116
Methodology.....................................118
Findings..............................................119
viii


Research Question Number 1...................119
Research Question Number 2.................. 127
Research Question Number 3.................. 131
Research Question Number 4.................. 135
Additional Findings................................139
Subjects' Perceptions of Employers'
Review of School Records when Hiring.........139
Subjects' Experience with Employers'
Review of School Records when Hiring.........140
Sources Influential in Establishing
Subjects' Perceptions of Employers'
Review of School Records when Hiring.........141
Subjects' Opinions Regarding Other Methods for
Bolstering Achievement...................... 143
Including the School Achievement Record
as a Part of the Diploma.....................144
Summary........................................... 146
5. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS.......................151
Introduction.......................................151
Background.................................. 151
Purpose......................................153
Method...................................... 154
ix


Conclusions from the Findings.........................155
Academic Achievement........................... 155
Attendance Rate............................... 157
Attitudes about Doing Schoolwork................158
Motivation to Take Responsibility
for Doing Schoolwork............................161
Discussion............................................163
Students' Continued Perception of
Instrumentality of Records in Hiring.......... 163
Students' Opinions About Other Methods for
Bolstering Achievement......................... 164
Implications of the Findings..........................167
Implications for Schools and Business...........167
Results of Informal Follow-up Interviews........169
Social Stratification Implications............. 172
Human Capital Implications......................175
Policy Implications of the Study..................... 177
APPENDIX
A. Consent Form and Biographical Data-
Opinion Gathering Survey..............................197
B. Human Research Committee Review.......................204
x


C. Record of Educational Data Reporting Form..........205
D. Additional Tables..................................206
REFERENCES...............................................243


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
It is my pleasure to thank the many people who made this
study possible. Dr. Michael J. Murphy, doctoral thesis advisor,
encouraged the study from its inception and provided guidance
while demanding high standards in research. The quality of the
study was greatly improved through Dr. Murphy's knowledge of
education and human capital theory. Dr. Murphy was always
available and willing to offer help and support in bringing this
study to completion.
Dr. Nancy Sanders also offered encouragement for the
study from its inception. Dr. Sanders provided valuable insights
into social stratification theory and international studies of
education. Dr. Richard Foster's interest and suggestions,
particularly during the preliminary stages of the study, provided
guidance regarding important economic and contextual issues
which greatly improved the quality of the study.
Dr. Rodney Muth and Dr. Joseph F. Lasky both provided
guidance and encouragement as the study developed. Their
willingness to serve on the committee and their interest in the
study is greatly appreciated.
xii


It is also my pleasure to recognize the support given by Dr.
Vicky Brooks, former Superintendent of Schools in Sheridan,
Colorado. Dr. Brooks' friendship and encouragement throughout
the author's completion of this study were invaluable. Likewise,
Mr. Steven Fast, Ms. Judy Scott, Ms. Dorothy Carter, Ms.
Doreen Christian, and Mr. Robert Sitler, members of the Sheridan
School District Board of Education, supported and regularly
encouraged me to continue with the study, regardless of the
demands of the school district. A finer board of education, more
supportive of education at all levels, may not be found
anywhere.
Mr. Dean Palmer, Falcon High School Principal and fellow
graduate student, Mr. Ken Bostdorff, associate and Sheridan
High School Principal, and Dr. Diane Burke, friend and Lewis
Palmer High School Principal, are owed a special debt of
gratitude. Without their collegial support, their work with their
faculty and staff members, and their personal contributions of
time and energy, this study would not have been possible.
Finally, I extend my thanks and appreciation to my wife
and parents for the support they provided through the many
xiii


years of this research work. My wife, Patricia L. Reiter, was a
source of indefatigable support and provided the word-processing
and computer expertise needed to produce this document. My
parents, Frank and Frances Reiter, provided the encouragement
to strive for academic excellence and to make the long-term
commitment needed to complete a quality study.
xiv


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Experts contend that the increased use of technology by business
and industry has created a greater need for new, non-college bound
employees with improved entry-level workforce skills (Committee for
Economic Development, 1985; Johnston and Packer, 1987; Salamon,
1991). Entry-level workforce skills most often include school achievement
as indicated by basic academic skills and regularity in attendance as well
as personal qualities including having a positive attitude and a high degree
of motivation (Crain, 1984; Doyle & Levine, 1986; Berliner, 1992).
However, contrary to the need for these entry-level workforce skills,
studies indicate that a large and increasing proportion of U.S. non-college
bound youth have done poorly in achieving basic academic skills,
establishing good records of attendance, and acquiring the personal
qualities required in today's workforce (Kettering Foundation, 1973;
Committee for Economic Development, 1985; Carson, Huelskamp, &
Woodall, 1991; U.S. Department of Education, 1991a; Bracey, 1993b).
Bracey (1993b) asserts that the "bottom third of [U.S.] students are
in terrible shape" academically and notes that entering workforce
1


participants must have the basic academic skills needed to at least cross
a "threshold level of schooling to meet the needs of business and
industry" (1993a). Chabot and Garibaldi (1982) and Berlin and Sum
(1988) report poor attendance among non-college bound students while
Goodlad (1984), Sizer (1984), and McKight et al. (1987) note poor
attitudes about doing schoolwork. Fredrick, Walberg, and Rasher (1979),
and Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991) note that among these students there
is poor motivation to take responsibility for schoolwork.
Despite the need for workers who have entry-level workforce skills,
it is reported that during the hiring process U.S. business and industry
seldomly review the school records of non-college bound youth to
determine their school achievement (Jencks, 1972; Ghiselli, 1973;
Taubman & Wales, 1975; Willis & Rosen, 1979; Meyer & Wise, 1982;
Berlin & Sum, 1988; Bishop, 1989a). As a result of employers' infrequent
examination of school records as a part of their hiring decisions, studies
indicate that students perceive little relationship between schoolwork and
obtaining a good job. The Public Opinion Laboratory (1987) reports that
U.S. students have little incentive to study in school because they
perceive little relationship between what they learn and "getting a good
job" (pp. C1B-47,48). As a result, the non-college bound who represent
2


a large portion (41.6%) of U.S. workforce entrants (U.S. Department of
Education, 1991b, p. 18) are provided with little incentive for improved
school achievement (Bishop, 1989a, p. 8; Lund & McGuire, 1990, p. 12).
Experts contend that the failure to link school records to hiring decisions
reduces the incentive of students to improve their school achievement
(Johnston & Bachman, 1973; Griffin, Alexander, & Kali berg, 1981; Meyer
& Wise, 1982; Crain, 1984; Bishop, 1987a).
Rosenbaum (1989b) contends that failure to use school records as
a part of the hiring process among non-college bound students leads to a
general indifference to schoolwork. He notes.
Like their parents, American youths are very
pragmatic. If they believe that school
achievement affects their future careers, they
will work in school. Elementary school teachers
tell students that good grades will help their
future careers, and this message bolsters
teacher authority and gives students an
incentive to work in school. Junior and senior
high school teachers continue this message, but
it begins to lose its effectiveness for some
students. Although college-bound students
continue believing it, work-bound students are
less swayed by grades as incentives. They act
as if they don't think grades have a payoff, (p.
6)
While raising standards and improving educational delivery systems
are important components of current U.S. educational restructuring efforts
3


and contribute to the improvement of entry-level workforce skills,
Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991, p. 78), Anderson and Postlewaite (1989,
pp. 78-79), Bishop (1989c, p. 4) and Newmann (1989, p. 36) contend
that the combined results of these efforts may be enhanced and have a
greater effect upon improving non-college bound students' school
achievement if incentives for improved academic performance were to
include the prospects of better employment upon graduation. Rosenbaum
(1989b), Bishop (1989c), Newmann (1989), Rosenbaum and Kariya
(1991), and Ogbu (1974) contend that the school achievement of this
important group of students may not be improved without the addition of
incentives which motivate the non-college bound for improved
performance. Beyond the benefits of improved performance in school by
the non-college bound, McPartland and McDill (1977, p. 2) and Epstein
(1988, p. 13) posit that the effect of the use of reforms intended to
increase what schools demand of students in order to graduate may have
less of an impact upon increasing the portion of non-college bound
students who drop out of school if such reforms were linked to the
positive aspect of job attainment.
In great contrast to the U.S., Japanese businesses use school
records of achievement as a central component in the hiring of non-college
4


bound students (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1991, p. 79; Rosenbaum, 1989a,
p. 12). Experts contend that it is the incentive of school achievement
being linked to employment which provides Japanese non-college bound
students with a high degree of motivation for high-quality school
achievement (NSK, 1984; Thurow, 1975, pp. 83-84, 96-97).
Employment as an incentive for increasing the motivation for school
achievement among non-college bound students is seldom a part of the
"marketplace" (free market) model utilized in the U.S. (Rosenbaum &
Kariya, 1989, pp. 1334-1335). Institutional models (wherein schools and
business have a formal, working relationship for students to move from
school to business) such as the "Boston Compact" (Rosenbaum, 1989a,
p. 40), foster school-to-work linkages and provide employment as an
incentive for the non-college bound. While prevalent in Japan, use of the
institutional model is rare in the U.S. "Like pushing on a string," the
majority of U.S. efforts to restructure schools and improve school
achievement remain centered upon increasing students' standards for
performance, introducing teachers to new pedagogical approaches, or
changing the structures of the schools themselves (Rosenbaum, 1989a,
p. 12). Rather than directly increasing students' incentives for
achievement, U.S. reforms are often intended to increase either academic
5


requirements, time spent in school, or in the development of outcome-
based indicators in order to improve academic performance (Kettering
Foundation, 1973, pp. 13-22).
Unlike U.S. employers, the Japanese rely heavily upon school
records in making hiring decisions. Anderson and Postlewaite (1989),
Newmann (1989), and Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991) postulate that the
use of school records in the hiring process is the mechanism in Japanese
school-to-work linkages which provides incentive to motivate Japanese
non-college bound students to high levels of school achievement. These
experts posit that the school achievement of U.S. non-college bound
students may similarly improve if school records were instrumental in
hiring. As in Japan, improving the linkage of schoolwork to employment
may be a major factor which provides incentives for improved school
achievement among U.S. non-college bound students (Bishop, 1989c, p.
4; Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1991, pp. 78-79). Experts further argue that
employers' failure to use school records in hiring negates the potential of
that incentive to positively influence the school achievement of non-
college bound students (Johnston & Bachman, 1973, p. 80; Griffin,
Alexander, & Kallberg, 1981, p. 208; Meyer & Wise, 1982, p. 312; Crain,
1984, pp. 11-13, 34-35; Bishop, 1987a, pp. 22-24).
6


In sum, experts assert that the use of school records in hiring would
improve U.S. non-college bound students' school achievement,
attendance, and acquisition of the personal qualities needed in today's
world of work. When taken together, basic academic skills, dependability,
and personal qualities including a positive attitude and motivation comprise
the largest portion of the necessary and needed entry-level workforce
skills of the non-college bound.
Concept Explored
The use of school records in hiring in Japan is thought to provide
employment as an incentive for achievement motivation among Japanese
non-college bound students. The incentive resulting from employers'
review of school records when hiring is thought to motivate Japanese non-
college bound students to achieve high levels of entry-level workforce
skills. Such use of school records in the U.S. is rare and few employers
examine school achievement as a part of the employment process of non-
college bound students. As a result of the infrequent use of school
records in hiring, experts contend that U.S. non-college bound students
have few incentives emanating from the job market which motivate them
to achieve well in school. Achievement motivation theorists including
7


Murray (1938), Atkinson (1974), Maehr and Braskamp (1986), Haynes
(1990), and O'Neil (1992) contend that incentives which precipitate
motivation (incentives which students see as reasonable and legitimate)
are needed to build academic interest and vigor.
Anderson and Postlewaite (1989, pp. 78-79), Bishop (1989c, p. 4),
Newmann (1989, p. 36), Rosenbaum (1989a, p. 12; 1989b, p. 13), and
Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991, p. 78) and others suggest that the school
achievement of U.S. non-college bound students may improve if school
records were instrumental in the employment process. It is argued that
such use of school records may provide an incentive for improved
achievement motivation among the non-college bound. It is thought that
the use of records in hiring may improve entry-level skills preparation to
meet the needs of business and industry, as well as also providing long-
term economic benefits for non-college bound members of the workforce.
Human capitalists including Petty (1662/1963), Smith (1776/1937),
Mill (1848/1929), Fisher (1908), Schultz (1961, 1987), and Dennison
(1962) contend that a nation's wealth is to a large extent determined by
the educational level of its workfoce. Human capitalists argue that the
major source of the formation of human capital in the U.S. is the nation's
system of elementary and secondary schooling. These economists
8


postulate that a large scale lack of educational performance in our nation's
schools will lead to the inability of our business and industry to outperform
our global competitors and bring about an economic downturn.
This research examines whether the use of school records in hiring
may actually provide improvement in the acquisition of entry-level
workforce skills among non-college bound U.S. students as a result of the
postulated incentive and consequent increase in achievement motivation.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of school
records in hiring would provide an incentive which would motivate non-
college bound U.S. high school students for greater entry-level workforce
skills achievement.
Specifically, this study sought to determine if non-college bound
students who perceive that school records are instrumental in the
employment process evidenced superior levels of academic performance,
higher attendance rates, superior attitudes about doing schoolwork, and
greater motivation to be responsible for schoolwork than students who do
not perceive that use of school records by employers.
To proceed with the research, an underlying assumption was made
9


that a significant portion of U.S. non-coiiege bound students perceive that
employers currently review school records when hiring and believe that
their entry-level workforce skills achievement will play a part in
determining their future employment. It was assumed that a portion of the
sample population would perceive that school records are used in hiring
and that these subjects would have records of school achievement no
different from their performance if the use of school records in hiring were,
in fact, the norm in the U.S. Conversely, it was also assumed that a
significant portion of the sample population would perceive that school
records are not used in hiring. Based upon these assumptions, this
research investigated whether using school records to determine
employment in the U.S. would improve the achievement of non-college
bound students by finding if subjects who perceive that school records are
used in hiring exhibited superior workforce skills achievement to those
who perceived no such use. The school achievement records and
measurement of attitude about doing schoolwork and motivation to take
responsibility for doing schoolwork of high school students who perceive
that hiring is linked to records of school achievement were compared to
records of those students who do not perceive such use.
10


Questions Used to Guide the Research
The following questions were used to guide the research:
1. Do non-college bound high school students who perceive
that employers review school records when hiring evidence
better academic achievement than students who do not
perceive that review by employers?
2. Do non-college bound high school students who perceive
that employers review school records when hiring evidence
better attendance rates than students who do not perceive
that review by employers?
3. Do non-college bound high school students who perceive
that employers review school records when hiring evidence
more positive attitudes about doing schoolwork than
students who do not perceive that review by employers?
4. Do non-college bound high school students who perceive
that employers review school records when hiring evidence
greater motivation to take responsibility for doing schoolwork
than students who do not perceive that review by
employers?
11


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This chapter first reviews the need for improved entry-level
workforce skills among U.S. non-college bound students. Second, the
entry-level workforce skills preparation of U.S. and Japanese non-college
bound students is compared. Third, the use of school records by
Japanese and U.S. business is reviewed. And finally, this chapter
examines how the use of school records in hiring may be related to allied
theoretical constructs including achievement motivation (Murray, 1938;
McClelland, 1976; Atkinson, 1978), human capital (Petty, 1662/1963;
Schultz, 1961; Becker, 1975), and credentialing (Thurow, 1970; Collins,
1979).
Conceptual Basis
Indeed, the high school-work transition is the
only area where links are so undeveloped in the
U.S. Links exist between high schools and
colleges, colleges and graduate schools,
colleges and employers, and vocational and
graduate schools, and employers. The absence
of links between public high schools and
employers is an anomaly that may account for
the special problems of work-bound youth.
This insight points the way to solving these
12


problems. (Rosenbaum, 1989a, p. 40)
The basis for this review of the literature is the concept that the use
of school records by business as a part of the hiring process may be an
incentive which increases motivation and improves the acquisition of
entry-level workforce skills among non-college bound students. Anderson
and Postlewaite (1989, pp. 78-79), Bishop (1989c, p. 4), Newmann
(1989, p. 36), Rosenbaum (1989a, p. 12,1989b, p. 13), and Rosenbaum
and Kariya (1991, p. 78) argue that the use of school records as a part of
the hiring process provides a powerful incentive for student motivation
among non-college bound Japanese students. These theorists further
contend that the use of school records in hiring U.S. students may
likewise provide needed incentive for motivation and lead to greater
achievement among non-college bound U.S. students.
Comparing Japanese and U.S. schools for the purpose of examining
how school records are used in hiring offers several advantages over
comparing the U.S. system to that of other nations. The structure of the
Japanese system of education is similar to that of the U.S. as a result of
efforts made by the Japanese in the 1920s to model their system after
that of the U.S. Following World War II and during the allied occupation
of Japan, additional steps were taken to make the Japanese system
13


similar to that of the U.S. Clark (1985) notes that the U.S. system of
education is better compared with Japan than systems in Europe (pp. 391 -
397, 472-475). First, both the U.S. and Japan have similar "universal"
secondary education enrollments of 96% in the U.S. and 94% in Japan.
Second, both systems have similar "mass" higher education enrollments
of 46% in the U.S. and 37% in Japan. Third, the U.S. and Japanese
systems both have comprehensive elementary, junior high, and high
school years with comparative enrollment rates (Trow 1961, pp. 144-165;
Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1337).
However, while both school systems are similar in structure,
differences in the administration of schools, differences in culture, and
differences in economic conditions between these nations are marked.
Further, for the job placement of non-college bound students, the
Japanese system uses a formal, institutionalized, school-to-work linkage
system between schools, business, and industry. Central to the Japanese
system is the extensive use of school records in the hiring process of non-
college bound students. In contrast, the U.S. has virtually no recognizable
school-to-work linkages for non-college bound students. During the hiring
process of U.S. non-college bound students, business infrequently
examines school records of achievement.
14


The Need for Improved Entry-Level Workforce Skills Among Non-
Colleae Bound U.S. Students
Non-college bound high school students represent a large and
important portion of those persons who annually enter the U.S. workforce.
U.S. business and government leaders contend that during the past
twenty years a high quality of entry-level workforce skills has become
increasingly important because these skills are needed in high-technology
production, information processing, and value-added manufacturing.
These leaders contend that streamlining of manufacturing methods,
reduction in management personnel and increased responsibility for
decision-making among lower levels of employees will continue to increase
the demand for non-college bound workers to have even higher levels of
entry-level workforce skills.
Basic academic skills are a major component of entry-level
workforce skills. Reports from a wide variety of agencies including the
Kettering Foundation (1973), the Committee for Economic Development
(1985), the U.S. Department of Education (1991a), and the IEA (Keeves,
1992) note that a large portion of U.S. non-college bound youth do not
have the basic academic skills preparation needed for the workforce. The
Committee for Economic Development (CED) contends that improved
achievement is needed by these students in academic disciplines which
15


are "critically important" for maintaining the international competitiveness
of U.S. business (1985, p. xii).
Although experts generally agree that as a whole the academic
performance of U.S. students has improved during the past 20 years,
(Crain, 1984; Carson etal., 1991; Berliner, 1992,1993; Bracey, 1992a,b,
1993a,b,c,) the lowest one-third have shown little improvement. Among
this lowest one-third are the greatest proportion of non-college bound
students and Bracey (1993b) notes that these students are in "terrible
shape" (p. 109). The lack of success among the non-college bound in
gaining basic academic skills is indicated in studies of several academic
disciplines. Those disciplines include reading (Purves, 1981, p. 105; U.S.
Department of Education, 1991a, pp. 32-33; U.S. Department of
Education, 1991c, p. 117), writing (Purves, 1989, p. 95; U.S. Department
of Education, 1991a, pp. 34-35; U.S. Department of Education, 1991c,
pp. 157-158), mathematics (IEA, 1987, p. 5; U.S. Department of
Education, 1991a, pp. 38-39; U.S. Department of Education, 1991c, p.
70), and science (U.S. Department of Education, 1991a, pp. 38-39; U.S.
Department of Education, 1991c, p. 25; Keeves, 1992, pp. 276-279).
Although the non-college bound may be, as Bracey (1993b, p. 109)
contends, currently exhibiting poor academic achievement, the level of
16


basic academic skills acquisition among these students may be even more
limited in the future. That is, demographic trends indicate a significant
change in the future composition of the non-college bound labor force and
experts contend that this demographic change may precipitate a decline
in achievement (Salamon, 1991).
Increasingly, the non-college bound labor force will include low
S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority youth. These youth have historically
been least successful in obtaining the basic academic skills needed for the
workforce (Carson et al., 1991).
The dramatic increase forecasted in the minority population may
also be a catalyst for lower high school graduation rates since minorities
have traditionally dropped out of school at much higher rates than the
Anglo population. Demographic data indicate that approximately 14% of
Anglo students, 24% of black students, and 40% of Hispanic students
currently drop out of school (Hodgkinson, 1985, pp. 12-13). Carson et
al. (1991) note that while in 1988 minorities represented 21% of the
workforce, they are projected to represent 25% of the workforce in the
year 2000. In particular, Hispanic and Asian populations are expected to
grow the fastest and increase by 30% in the next ten years (Carson et al.,
1991, pp. 140-141). The Hispanic population, with its high immigration
17


rate and low S.E.S. continues to have the highest dropout rate and that
rate has changed little in 20 years (Carson et al., 1991, pp. 20-21).
In addition to issues of academic achievement and dropout rate,
studies of other measures of non-college bound school achievement
indicate poor attendance rates (DeLeonibus, 1978, p. 13; Birman &
Natriello, 1978, p. 31; Chabot & Garibaldi, 1982, pp. 317-336; Berlin &
Sum, 1988, pp. 1-2), poor or "neutral" attitudes about schoolwork
(Goodlad, 1984, pp. 112-113; Sizer, 1984, pp. 54, 157-158; McKnight
et al., 1987, p. 7), and poor motivation to be responsible to do
schoolwork (Fredrick, Walberg & Rasher, 1979, pp. 63-65; U.S.
Department of Education, 1983, p. 26; Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1991, p.
79).
Similarly, experts contend that several personal qualities are needed
by new workforce entrants including having good attendance, having a
good attitude, and being motivated. These are additional qualities which
employers seek among non-college bound youth. Crain (1984) notes, "for
high school graduates it is important that the respondent have a good
attitude (no back talk) be dependable (comes to work regularly), and is
moral (doesn't steal the company equipment)" (pp. 15, 24). Crain (1984)
also adds that having speech without a heavy dialect is another personal
18


quality which employers often seek (pp. 21-23). Berliner's (1992)
comparison of the results of surveys of workforce requirements conducted
by the Michigan Education Department and the Rochester New York
School District (no dates given) reviews the skills needed by entering non-
technical, non-degreed workers in the workforce and reports that being
free of substance abuse, being able to follow directions, being honest and
respecting others, being able to follow safety rules, and being punctual
and at work regularly are also among the qualities needed for employment
(pp. 32-33A).
In sum, while an extensive list could be drawn, the entry-level
workforce skills employers most often seek include basic academic skills
in reading, writing, and math, and personal qualities including a good
attendance record, a good attitude, and motivation.
In contrast, experts including Cremin (1990, p. 103) and Bracey
(1993a, p. 16) contend that increased basic academic skills may not be
needed by the workforce and that government and business may have
overstated the case for improved human capital ("the acquired skills,
knowledge, and abilities of human beings," Hornbeck and Salamon, 1991,
p. 3). These experts contend that government and business lay blame on
schools so that schools respond by generating an increase in the labor
19


pool of semi-skilled and skilled labor. Increases in these labor pools
thereafter increase job competition and summarily reduce labor costs.
Similarly, "credentialing" theorists argue that historically only a small
portion of low-skill jobs have been replaced with work actually requiring
educational upgrading. Theorists including Folger and Nam (1964),
Thurow (1970), and Collins (1979) contend that examinations of the
requirements of workforce jobs compared to job functions in
manufacturing and clerical fields during 1900-1960 indicate artificial
inflation of the educational skills requirements of jobs.
However, other experts offer another perspective and note that
during the most recent twenty years of industrial expansion and
manufacturing change there has been a dramatic reduction in the prevalent
narrow job classifications of the past. Piore and Sabel (1982, pp. 87-88,
113-115), Reich (1983, pp. 127-128), Choate (1986, pp. 205-208), and
Osborne (1988, pp. 268-273) note that in both the manufacturing and
service sector, the likelihood of educationally inflated job categories has
given way to the increased needs of the "quality over quantity"
movement. Packer (1991) notes that the number of "old-fashioned,
narrowly-defined jobs" have shrunk and will continue to shrink while
remaining job classifications in both manufacturing and service sector have
20


become broadened and require more knowledge and better communication
skills (p. 56). Johnston and Packer (1987) conclude, "Overall, the skill
mix of the economy will be moving rapidly upscale" (p. 96). Salamon
(1991) notes.
Only 4 percent of the jobs likely to be created
in the economy between 1984 and 2000 will
be in the lowest skill levels, which now
represent 9 percent of existing jobs. By
contrast, 41 percent of the likely new jobs will
require the highest skill levels, compared to the
24 percent of all jobs that require such
proficiency now. (p. 14)
The rapidly changing demographics of the labor force combined
with the increasing technical requirements of the work place make
improved entry-level workforce skills even more important. That is, an
increasing proportion of workers now belong to low S.E.S., inner-city,
rural, and minority populations which have historically been unable to meet
the necessary entry-level workforce skill requirements. It may be posited
that improved human capital investment in the form of education and
training is greatly needed among these youth who largely comprise the
non-college bound population. Hodgkinson (1985) emphasizes that there
is a "direct link between state level economic development and high
school retention," and that "We are more aware than ever that if large
numbers of youth fail in school and work, the consequences for us all are
21


severe" (p. 11). Carson et al. (1991) likewise assert that the primary
educational challenge for the future is improving the performance of both
minority and urban students (p. 173).
In sum, although experts vary in their opinions regarding the degree
of linkage of human capital development to business productivity and
continue to argue the validity of the causal relationship of these economic
factors as well as the extent of the need for a more highly skilled U.S.
labor force, most agree that among the non-college bound there is a large
and increasing demand for workers with entry-level workforce skills.
Experts also agree that the greatest future increases in the non-college
bound population will be among low S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority
students who historically have been the least qualified to meet the minimal
expectations of the workforce and may face economic roadblocks to
becoming productive, self-sufficient, and contributing members of society.
Spring (1976), Jencks (1972, 1979) and other experts recognize
that the sorting nature of U.S. schools contributes to social stratification
and "sorts" low S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority non-college bound
youth out of school and into low-paying, low skill jobs. While these youth
may have once been able to find some form of traditional labor in which
to participate, those no-skill and low-skill labor opportunities are now a
22


scarce and infrequently available alternative to a labor market which
invariably requires entry-level workforce skills (Rotberg, 1990, p. 302).
These youth may benefit greatly by completing high school and obtaining
entry-level skills for workforce entry. However, they have been the least
likely to do so.
International Comparisons and U.S. Non-Colleae Bound Students
Experts contend that low S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority non-
college bound, U.S. students do not acquire a high quality of basic skills
and often lack the personal qualities common to non-coliege bound, entry-
level workforce candidates in competitor, western nations and in
particular, Japan. Although international comparisons of basic academic
skills achievement of non-college bound youth are not readily available,
aggregate comparisons indicate that U.S. students do not perform as well
as those of foreign nations. Moreover, those who score in the lowest
third, those most likely to be non-college bound, score significantly below
students from other nations (Rosenbaum, 1989a, pp. 13-14; Bracey,
1993b, p. 109).
Comparisons of the results of the academic performance of U.S.
students in the 1988 IAEP study of language arts indicate that in reading,
23


U.S. students performed only "about as well as students in most industrial
nations" (Purves, 1989, p. 87) and scored ninth in the lEA's fourteen-
-nation study in writing (Purves, 1989, p. 95). U.S. students scored
among the lowest one-fourth in mathematics (McKnight et al., 1987, p.
5), and scored lowest among ten nations in science (Keeves, 1992, p.
279). While the report of the Sandia National Laboratories (Carson et al.,
1991) does not cite Japan as participating in the 1988 IAEP assessment
of students at age 13, that report does include, among others, the U.S.,
Korea, Spain, the U.K., Ireland, and Canada. The authors note,
U.S. students did not perform well in any
category in this series of tests. In fact, U.S.
students ranked last in composite math scores
and ninth in composite science scores. Both of
these rankings put the U.S. students in the
lowest performing group for each test. (p. 90)
Aside from the 1988 IAEP, Purves (1989) notes that data from
previous IAEP testing indicate that when Japan participated in these
assessments, Japanese students out-performed U.S. students in language
arts and reading (p. 87) and writing (p. 95). McKnight et al. (1987)
similarly report that Japanese students out-performed U.S. students in
mathematics (p. 5) and Keeves (1992) reports that Japanese students also
out-performed U.S. students in science (pp. 276-279).
24


In contrast, other researchers contend that improper testing
methodology contributes to poor U.S. test results. The Sandia researchers
(Carson et al., 1991, pp. 94-95) and Bracey (1993a, p. 15) note that an
examination of IAEP data indicates that contextual issues including
tracking, curriculum timing, sampling issues, and cultural differences play
a central role in the comparatively unfavorable results of U.S. students in
international testing. Rotberg (1990) notes that although significant
methodological problems of these tests include, "relative weight given to
subjects emphasized," "the representativeness of the items chosen to
measure mastery," and "the extent to which test results correlate with
other measures of achievement," the major problem is "sampling
methodology." She contends that because of the innate difficulty of
administering such tests the research design often fails to control for
differences in the proportion of the age group attending school, the grade
levels tested, and the reliability of the sample so that the "geographic and
socioeconomic composition of the sample is a fair reflection of an entire
country" (p. 296).
Examinations by Berliner (1992, pp. 39-43), Rotberg (1990, pp.
297-299), and Bracey (1993a, pp. 15, 106-109) note that when adjusted
for errors in sampling methodology, U.S. students are found to rank
25


somewhat higher than they are currently shown. Rotberg (1990) notes
that.
problems of sampling school populations are
compounded by differences in the percentage
of low income students actually enrolled in
school in the various countries. We know from
many studies that there is a high
intercorrelation between family income, family
educational level and student achievement, (p.
299)
While the inclusion of a large portion of low S.E.S., inner-city, rural,
and minority students in international assessments is generally thought to
have a profoundly negative effect on U.S. results, these are the students
who increasingly represent a large proportion of the U.S. student body and
particularly the non-college bound. The U.S. is markedly different from
other highly industrialized nations in the significant and increasing
proportion of those students who receive sub-standard schooling and who
have historically done poorly in school. Bracey (1993b) reports that in
comparison with Japanese students the top half of all classes appears
comparable. He notes that although the top half of U.S. students taking
algebra scored above Japanese students, the results are quite different for
the bottom half. Bracey notes,
The Japanese students in these classes average
55, not terribly far from the 66 average posted
by students in the top half of classes in Japan.
26


But American students in lower-half classes
categorized as remedial scored only 28; those
in lower-half regular classes, 39; those in lower-
half enriched classes, 37. (p. 108)
These comparisons may indicate that the U.S. students who gained the
least gained much less than their Japanese counterparts. Bracey (1993b)
concludes, "the top third of our students are world class, however one
defines that squishy concept; the second third are not in any serious
academic trouble; the bottom third are in terrible shape" (p. 109).
While access to quality education is a subject of continual political
rhetoric across the nation, the "savage inequalities" in funding foisted
upon low S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority students exacerbates the
affects of their already low social strata (Kozol, 1991). Rotberg (1990)
cites Oakes, Ormseth, Bell, and Camp (1990) and notes.
The fact is that low-income and minority
students, on average, have less opportunity to
study science and mathematics than do other
students. They have less access to the most
qualified teachers, to adequate facilities and
equipment for learning science and
mathematics, and to the types of curricula and
instructional strategies (e.g., strategies
designed to develop inquiry and problem-solving
skills) considered particularly effective with all
students. Indeed, high-achieving students in
predominantly low-income, minority schools
appear to have fewer opportunities than do
low-achieving students who attend more
advantaged schools. (Rotberg, 1990, p. 303)
27


While Bracey (1993a) acknowledges the improvement of U.S.
student achievement and remains skeptical of the link which such
improvement bears upon economic growth, he notes that workforce
participants must at least cross a "threshold level of schooling" in order
to meet the basic skills needs of business and industry (p. 16). Bracey
(1992b) cautions against radical restructuring of education and encourages
a focused reform effort which particularly supports poor urban and rural
schools (p. 18).
In sum, while experts disagree as to the value, validity and
interpretation of IAEP test results, there can be little debate that our
lowest achieving students, the low S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority,
non-college bound portion, compare unfavorably with those of other
nations which have comprehensive schooling. While some of those
nations may have homogeneous societies, spend more per student for
schooling, and have cultures far different from the U.S., they remain,
nevertheless, economic competitors. Regardless of the causes, U.S. non-
college bound students do poorly in acquiring basic academic skills.
Experts contend that these "threshold" academic skills are essential for
entry into today's workforce and will be increasingly needed in the future.
Comparatively, and for the host of reasons noted previously, low
28


S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and minority, non-college bound, U.S. students do
not acquire the degree of entry-level workforce skills acquired by non-
college bound, entry-level workforce candidates in competitor, western
nations and in particular, Japan. This comparatively poor international
performance coupled to the demographic forecast that increasing numbers
of workforce entrants will come from disadvantaged backgrounds, gives
rise to concern that improvement in the level of achievement of these
young people is greatly needed. Rotberg (1990) notes.
Our international competitiveness increasingly
depends on a highly trained labor force.
Moreover, U.S. society will grow increasingly
polarized if a significant proportion of our
population lacks the skills needed to compete
for jobs that provide a reasonable income. The
number of traditional manufacturing jobs
requiring less than a high school education has
declined in large northeastern and midwestern
cities. Although inner-city residents with higher
levels of education have had access to new job
opportunities in high-technology or information
industries, those with less education have often
remained unemployed or found jobs only in low-
paying occupations. Indeed, America continues
to face the very real possibility of the two
separate societies envisioned by the Kerner
Commission two decades ago. And because
poverty correlates so highly with educational
problems, these problems are likely to be
exacerbated over the years if the current trends
continue, (p. 302)
29


The Japanese Model
The Japanese K-12 educational system is structured similarly to the
U.S. system (indeed, modeled after it). Like the U.S., the Japanese
system also has a high rate of recidivism. However, unlike the U.S.,
Japanese students have virtually no dropout problem, score well on
international tests, and enter the workforce with a high degree of entry-
level preparation.
While there are similarities between the two educational systems,
national differences in schooling, culture, and economies are great
between the two nations. While these differences may contribute to the
success of Japanese non-college bound students, an additional, important
factor, school-to-work linkages, is thought to have a particularly profound
effect on the entry-level workforce skills acquisition of non-college bound
Japanese students. U.S. experts including Bishop (1989c), Newmann
(1989), and Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991) encourage adoption of school-
to-work linkages in the U.S. They contend that employers' use of school
records in hiring is the salient component of these linkages and that
adoption of this practice in the U.S. would have a significant effect upon
improving the acquisition of these skills among U.S. non-college bound
youth.
30


Among the many determinants which may contribute to the high
level of school achievement of Japanese non-college bound students, four
major factors are briefly reviewed herein. Those factors include: first,
significantly different schooling and a longer school year; second, the
effects of a significantly different, homogeneous culture acting upon
students, parents, and the school system; third, a significantly greater
level of funding K-12 education; and fourth, and central to this research,
a higher level of motivation for academic achievement among non-college
bound Japanese students. This higher level of motivation may in part be
generated by Japanese schools and businesses having clearly-defined,
institutional, school-to-work linkages in which school records are reviewed
by employers as a basis for hiring.
While this review is intended to acknowledge many of the factors
which may contribute to the success of non-college bound Japanese
students, it is also intended to examine if one of these factors, the use of
school records in hiring, is a significant and portable mechanism for
increasing achievement motivation among non-college bound, U.S.
students.
Although the levels of school achievement of U.S. and Japanese
students are quite different, the structure of the educational systems are
31


quite similar. Despite significant differences in the respective cultures and
economies, they both provide universal (available to all children) and
comprehensive schooling (containing academic and vocational programs
in the same school). As in the U.S., approximately 60% of the Japanese
students are college bound while 40% are non-college bound (Rosenbaum,
1989a, p. 13).
The trimester, 11 month, 240 day school year of Japan differs
significantly from that of the U.S. Compared to the typical 175 school
day U.S. calendar, Japanese youth have a profoundly greater number of
school days, school hours, and teacher contact time during their K-12,
public education. Yoo (1987) reports that dependent upon grade level,
Japanese students spend between 150 and 630 more hours per year in
school than U.S. students (pp. 2-3). While the Japanese compulsory
education law of 1947 required attendance through grade 9, current law
requires attendance through grade 12 with a minimum school calendar of
210 days (Leetsma et al., 1987, pp. 10, 42). Throughout Japan, local
boards of education commonly add 30 or more days to the school
calendar to allow for field trips, sports contests, cultural events, and
graduation.
In addition to a significantly longer school year, the Japanese hold
32


educators and education in high esteem. Leetsma et ai. (1987) report that
the results of a survey of the general population indicates that school
principals were ranked 9th and teachers 18th of 82 vocations (p. 28).
Such esteem for Japanese educators is in sharp contrast with the low
prestige attached to being an educator in the U.S. Stevenson and Stigler
(1992) note.
In Japan, the pay and the prestige of teaching
relative to other professions are considerably
above that found in the United States.
Teachers' salaries in Japan are 2.4 times the
national per capita income, as opposed to only
1.7 times for teachers in the United States. In
addition, the ratio of Japanese teachers'
salaries to the average salaries of various other
occupations has been shown in every
comparison to be higher than it is in the United
States. Young Japanese choose teaching
without having to worry that they will suffer
financially from their decision. Teachers and
university professors in Japan make
approximately equal salaries and enjoy nearly
equivalent prestige. In the United States, the
salary of an elementary school teacher may be
only one third that of a college professor with
comparable years of experience. The difference
in status is symbolized, too, in the terms used
for these positions. Sensei, the word for
teacher in Japanese, is a term of respect and
deference for those who teach first-graders as
well as those who teach university students--an
interesting contrast to the differential in status
implied in the terms teacher and professor as
they are used in the United States, (p. 162)
33


This is not to say, however, that Japanese education is without its
detractors. While concerns are expressed for the low levels of school
achievement among U.S. students and the commensurate disadvantages
faced by U.S. industry, the conformity of behavior implicit in Japanese
education generates a correlative discord in that nation. DeVos and
Suarez-Orozco (1986) note, "Japanese discontent reveals a presumption
that more individualistic forms of thought should be welcomed--by some
at least--as a goal of education" (p. 293). Further, issues of age-
appropriate education, physical abuse by teachers, and students' fear of
repercussions for non-conformity are not uncommon in Japan (Berliner,
1992). Most experts agree that although conformity may stifle originality
among students, it nevertheless motivates students to achieve in order to
avoid failure. This level of motivation is thought to significantly enhance
the school performance of Japanese youth.
The profound cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan
may also contribute to the success of Japanese students. Within the
homogeneous and closed (low rate of immigration) Japanese society,
continuity of family (divorce remains a significant social stigma) and
support for schooling continue as primary societal values. Governmental
functions are expected to provide support for these two most important
34


social institutions. Indeed, initially the family and then later the level of
schooling are the key sources of upward social mobility in Japan (Leetsma
et al., 1987, p. 3).
The enormous cultural differences which exist between Japan and
the U.S. may be rooted in profoundly different methods of parenting,
raising children and family life. Although now threatened by the lure of
husband-wife, dual income earnings, the far-eastern, patriarchical structure
of the great majority of Japanese families remains basically intact and
dictates that the primary and full-time responsibility for raising well-
behaved (li ko) children and caring for the home remains with the mother
(White and LeVine, 1986, p. 55). Mothers ensure that as a part of
students' daily regimen, more than 60% of public school attendees also
participate in the supplemental, after-school, educational programs of Juku
schools (Yamamura, 1986, p. 33; Inagaki, 1986, pp. 82-83).
Perhaps most important is the considerable difference between the
two cultures regarding who bears the responsibility for meeting the
educational needs of each child. In Japan, this is clearly an expectation
of the parents, especially the mother. Japanese students who are having
difficulty with schooling or coursework are expected to press forward and
devote more effort to their work rather than being given special
35


dispensation or help by the school system as occurs in the U.S. The
responsibility for additional support in the form of help or tutoring rests
with the Japanese family as opposed to the school and teaching staff
(Mungazi, 1993, p. 54).
Beyond the significant differences in the operations and expected
outcomes of U.S. and Japanese education, and beyond the major
differences in the cultures of the two nations rests a considerable
difference in the levels of funding dedicated to the support of K-12
education. In a review of the expenditures of K-12 education, Rasell and
Mishel (1990) note that UNESCO (1988) data indicate that in combined
state and federal funding, the U.S. spends an average of $3,456 per
student per year. This ranks the U.S. as 4th of 16 major industrial nations
when using the 1985 exchange rate and 9th when using the 1988
exchange rate. In contrast, Japan spent an average of $2,647 dollars per
pupil in 1985 and using that year's exchange rate ranked 7th. However,
by 1988 the per pupil expenditure was $4,927 and when using that year's
exchange rate ranked 4th (p. 15). Further, Rasell and Mishel (1990) note
that, "When U.S. public spending alone is compared to public spending
abroad, we rank fourteenth in spending for all levels of schooling,
fourteenth in spending on K-12, and thirteenth in K-12 spending adjusted
36


for enrollments (p. 2). To achieve per pupil expenditures to meet only
the average level of 15 countries included in the UNESCO (1988) study
would require an increase in K-12 spending of more than 23.5 billion
dollars annually. A comparison of K-12 educational expenditures as a
function of national income indicates that the U.S. spends 4.1% annually
and is ranked 12th while Japan spends 4.8% annually and is ranked 6th
(Rasell & Mishel, 1990, p. 11).
Rasell and Mishel (1990) do not conclude that a great increase in
expenditures is the complete answer to correcting U.S. educational
problems. Although they assert that increasing K-12 expenditures to low
S.E.S., inner-city, rural, and high minority school districts would certainly
benefit the performance of students therein, they likewise contend that
such changes would not guarantee excellence. They note, "we suspect
that other changes-in curriculum, in the status of teachers, and in
expectations about students, to name just a few, will also be fundamental
to any improvement in education quality and student achievement" (p. 3).
It is not realistic to suppose, or even desirable to consider that the
significant educational, cultural and economic differences which promote
academic achievement in Japan are transferable to the U.S. as methods
to bolster educational improvement among the non-college bound. Central
37


to the issue is the over-riding difference in how adults respond to children.
Leetsma et al. (1987) note,
How adults respond to children involves
practices, and beliefs, and expectations deeply
embedded within a culture, and there is no
ready transfer of such responses from one
culture to another, (p. ix)
Beyond the considerable educational, cultural, economic and other
differences existing between the U.S. and Japan are the "institutional"
linkages (wherein schools and business have a formal, working
relationship for students to move from school to business) established
between Japanese schools and business. Japanese businesses have
grown to expect highly-motivated workforce entrants with a high degree
of entry-level workforce skills acquisition. Japanese businesses have
come to depend upon institutional linkages with schools as an important
mechanism to provide workforce entrants who possess the skills to
perform the functions needed in increasingly technological workplaces.
Experts contend that Japanese schools lead the world in producing
workforce entrants who are well prepared in entry-level workforce skills.
While virtually unknown in the U.S., school-to-work linkages in
which hiring is determined by school achievement are thought to provide
an important incentive among Japanese non-college bound students for
38


motivation to achieve academically. Anderson and Postlewaite (1989, pp.
78-79), IMewmann (1989, p. 36), and Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991, p.
78) contend that linking school performance to hiring may likewise provide
incentive for motivation to achieve among U.S. non-college bound
students.
Central to the Japanese use of school records in hiring is the role
of homeroom teachers (Rosenbaum, 1989a, p. 14). Homeroom teachers
examine non-college bound students' academic, attendance, and
deportment records and act as "gate keepers" for the jobs for which
students may apply. Once students apply for jobs, homeroom teachers
carry non-college bound students' applications to committees of teachers
who ultimately select which students are nominated and with which
businesses they may interview. Teacher committees make nominations
of only those students who have good school records and these must be
school records that the committees can confidently attest are worthy
representatives of the calibre of the school from which applicants come.
Since the nomination of an ill-prepared or undependable student may
permanently blemish a school's reputation and permanently damage a
school's relationship with a business, Japanese schools do not chance the
nomination of students who achieve marginally. Japanese school
39


personnel prefer to decline to nominate poorly-prepared students rather
than risk nominating any student with a questionable record.
Commensurate with the importance schools place upon students'
academic progress, Japanese students and parents are well aware that
poor grades, poor motivation, poor attitudes or poor attendance may
hamper a non-college bound student's opportunity for nomination to a
high-quality job. They are well aware that a poor school record of any
kind may adversely affect a student's record and they are careful to avoid
such an eventuality. Rosenbaum and Kariya (1989) note that because
more than 75% of Japanese non-college bound students use the job
placement mechanism of their high school in order to obtain employment,
a large portion of students have a strong incentive to be motivated to
achieve in school (p. 1341).
Japanese school-to-work linkages are governed by regulations for
hiring which structure the interaction of students, schools and businesses.
The most significant regulation is that Japanese businesses are prohibited
from direct communication with students and are required by the Office
of Public Employment Security to conduct their recruitment efforts directly
through high schools (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1340). This
structure "shifts the competition for jobs from the labor market into
40


schools and among schools, and cause employers to also compete for
dependable sources of labor" (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1334). To
this end, two major linkage mechanisms operate between schools and
businesses. First, fixed recruitment "quotas" determine approximately half
of the job placements and restrict both the number and types of jobs
which are available to students. These job opportunities are stratified
according to high schools while the size of the quotas is based upon the
historical experience each business has had with a particular school
(Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1342). Second, semi-formal employment
contracts account for the other half of non-college bound hiring and
represent more exclusive school-business relationships in which
businesses seek to fill specific job categories with a high calibre of
students (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1348).
Schools are careful to nominate only those students with good
records of school achievement in order that businesses maintain or
increase their demand for students through quotas or semi-formal
employment contracts. Conversely, businesses endeavor to maintain high
quotas and semi-formal employment contracts in order to insure a ready
source of high quality employees (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1348).
As a result of this system of quotas and contracts, schools are ranked.
41


Rosenbaum and Kariya (1989) note, "The higher a school's rank, the
higher the percentage of work-bound graduates who are employed by
contract employers" (p. 1350).
Both linkage mechanisms require that non-college bound students
apply for available positions and, dependent upon their academic
achievement, be nominated by their teachers. The original sources of the
nominations, the faculty committees, use grades as the primary selection
criteria. The Rosenbaum and Kariya study indicates that with 81.4% of
the students, Japanese businesses interview and hire nominees based on
their academic record. However, employers do not totally relinquish their
control over the selection process. From the list of recommended
nominees, employers interview to make sure that candidates are suitable.
In 81.2% of the cases reported, student nominees were selected to the
job to which they had been nominated in their first "round" of interviews.
Of those who were unselected in the first round, 84.7% were hired for the
second job to which they had been nominated by the school. Those
students who rank high in their academics are much more often selected
in the first round and it is found that among the non-college bound, the
top 10% academically are selected 90.2% of the time during the first
round (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, pp. 1346-1348). This mechanism
42


provides students with a highly visible and predictable mechanism from
which they can see a direct payoff for their academic and personal efforts.
Rosenbaum and Kariya (1989) summarize four major areas of
contrast between the youth labor market in Japan and the U.S.
First, Japanese youth are less often
unemployed, both absolutely and relative to
adults. Second, they experience less work-
entry delay; virtually all find jobs while they are
still in school. Third, they are more likely to
stay in their first jobs than their American
counterparts. Fourth, they are less likely to be
forced out of their first jobs than their American
counterparts, (p. 1340)
While it cannot be concluded that hiring based on records of school
achievement is solely responsible for such outcomes, researchers contend
that this mechanism is a significant, attributing factor. Rosenbaum and
Kariya note, "Academic achievements are crucial determinants of
Japanese youths' job attainments, both among and within high schools.
This makes school-to-work transitions smooth, stable, and highly
predictable" (1989, p. 1358). As a result of these mechanisms, fewer
than 3% of Japanese youths drop out before graduation and 99% start
work directly after graduation (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1349).
While some experts attribute high rates of productivity to Japanese
culture rather than schooling, the culture of Japan has been virtually
43


unchanged since the 1920s. However, since that time the Japanese
have, "implemented a system in which high schools are much more
involved in allocating students into the labor force than American schools"
(Rosenbaum, 1989a, p. 13). It has been the period since 1920 that Japan
built an educational system which is both highly effective and universal.
Rather than education being a result of culture, the Japanese have built
their system by following the American model of elementary and
secondary education and therein established the once implicit use of
school records in hiring as a formal, institutional structure in Japan.
Rosenbaum (1989a) contends that the outcomes of a similarly developed
U.S. system would be more profound. He notes.
The strong incentives in the Japanese system
surely contribute to the greater efforts by
Japanese students. Moreover, if one accepts
the cultural view that Americans are more
motivated by rewards, incentives like those in
Japan would have even greater effects on
American students' motivation, compared with
the current American system that offers no
incentives to work-bound students, (p. 14)
While the Japanese system establishes employment as an incentive
for school achievement, the Japanese school system also provides
students with direct and measurable indicators of their progress.
Rosenbaum (1989a) notes.
44


The Japanese system also contributes to more
realistic aspirations. It tells work-bound
students what they must do to get better jobs
and how well they are doing. Every year
students can look at their grades; if they are
too low, they can either revise their job
aspirations or increase their efforts. One
consequence is that Japanese students' job
aspirations become more realistic over the
course of junior and senior high school and are
highly realistic by the senior year, while
American high school seniors often have
unrealistic aspirations, (p. 15)
The use of school records as part of the hiring process provides incentive
for Japanese students' school achievement and ultimately rewards
Japanese businesses with increased productivity (Rosenbaum, 1989a, p.
13).
In reviewing Japanese students' attitudes about schoolwork, two
components are considered herein. First, the degree of positive or
negative feelings students have about schoolwork and second, the degree
of importance students attach to their schoolwork. The 1987 IEA review
of Japanese and U.S. students notes.
Overall, the attitudes of U.S. students toward
mathematics were positive, and compared
favorably with those of other countries.
Japanese students, in spite of their high
achievement scores in mathematics, tended to
have negative attitudes about the subject.
(McKnight et al. 1987, p. viii)
45


Japanese students' less favorable attitudes appear to neither arrest their
efforts nor mitigate their superior achievements. In contrast, studies have
shown U.S. students to have more positive attitudes about schoolwork
(McKnight et al., 1987, p. viii) and despite the highly criticized
performance of U.S. education, U.S. parents are more satisfied with their
students' schooling than Japanese parents (Stevenson, 1992, p. 71). It
may be that positive attitudes of U.S. students, despite poor academic
performance, are fostered in an environment wherein outcomes of poor
school achievement are not direct determinants of workforce opportunity,
level of entry, or pay. Therefore, neither U.S. parents nor students have
reason to be concerned about student performance or school quality.
Conversely, Japanese students and parents are directly affected by the
eventualities of student achievement, work toward excellence, and expect
their schools to provide such. Japanese students and parents hold high
levels of expectation for schools and they are demonstrably critical when
they perceive that schools have failed to prepare their students to high
levels.
It appears that although Japanese students exhibit less positive
attitudes about schoolwork, they attach greater importance to succeeding
in school. That is, while Japanese students exhibit less positive attitudes
46


about schoolwork, the use of school records in hiring is thought to provide
a powerful incentive which, regardless of students' attitudes, increases
their level of motivation for achievement in school. Rosenbaum and
Kariya's (1989) study of Japanese school-to-work linkages finds that
68.6% of Japanese students rank grades as "very important" and nearly
all the rest rank grades as "fairly important" (p. 1348). In contrast, U.S.
students exhibit more positive attitudes about schoolwork but attribute
much less meaning and importance to its value (Public Opinion Laboratory,
1987, pp. C1B-47, 48). As a result, this attitude may contribute to their
commensurate lack of school performance.
Both college bound and non-college bound Japanese students
exhibit high rates of attendance. Japanese high school students average
only three absences per year (Berlin & Sum, 1988, pp. 1-2). While
Japanese college bound students must maintain excellent records of
attendance in order to obtain high grade point averages, keep abreast of
fast-paced and challenging coursework, and prepare for college entrance
exams, Japanese non-college bound students must likewise obtain high
grades and maintain good school records including good attendance in
order to receive nominations for employment. Rosenbaum (1989a) reports
that businesses will not hire non-college bound students who fail to have
47


nominations (p. 14).
Similar to U.S.-Japanese differences in the acquisition of basic
academic skills, studies of the personal qualities of the non-college bound
indicate that although Japanese students, as their U.S. counterparts,
espouse negative attitudes toward schoolwork (McKnight et al., 1987, p.
viii; Anderson & Postlewaite, 1989, pp. 73-86), both college bound and
non-college bound students maintain high attendance rates (Berlin & Sum,
1988, pp. 1-2) and are highly motivated to be responsible to do
schoolwork (Nehon Seishounen Kenkyuujo [NSK], 1981, 1984).
In acquisition of all major components of the basic academic skills
including basic reading, basic writing, and basic math as well as all but
one of the personal qualities of having good attendance, having a positive
attitude toward schoolwork, and motivation to be responsible to do
schoolwork, the performance of Japanese students surpasses that of U.S.
students. McKnight et al. (1987) note that in only one quality, attitude
toward schoolwork, may U.S. students surpass their Japanese
counterparts (p. 7).
While the Japanese system is highly effective in providing incentive
for school achievement and supplying business with a well-prepared, non-
college bound workforce, a number of risks may be inherent in that
48


system's use of school records in hiring. Although comprehensive
research is unavailable regarding the problems of the Japanese use of
records in hiring, anecdotal records indicate that favoritism sometimes
takes place between parents, schools, and business. These records
indicate that incidents of favoritism often end in disgrace with formal
school-business contracts being cancelled and taken to other schools.
Nevertheless, Rosenbaum and Kariya (1989) note, "While an institutional
system seems to offer enormous risks of unresponsiveness, favoritism,
and bias, this system tends to be highly constrained to be responsive and
meritocratic" (p. 1346).
Beyond issues of productivity are those of equal opportunity of
employment. Japanese schools are ranked and non-college bound
Japanese students compete in school achievement in order to attend the
most highly ranked schools (Rosenbaum & Kariya, 1989, p. 1337).
Likewise, Japanese businesses compete to recruit non-college bound
students with the best records of school achievement at the highest-
ranked schools. While meritocratic competition for employment may be
conducted in a forthright manner within a homogeneous society which
highly values educational achievement, it may not be assumed to be
portable to the U.S. The heterogeneous society of the U.S. has a long-
49


standing history of social stratification (Jencks, 1972, 1979) which may
risk becoming even more stratified with the inception of an institutional
linkage system. Culture and a strong sense of ethics maintain the veracity
of the Japanese system. Before such a system may be considered in the
U.S., major inroads would need to be made in order to provide equality of
educational experience for all young people. To ignore the need for
establishing a foundation of educational equality before instituting a
system of hiring based upon school records, the U.S. may risk even
greater stratification.
The U.S. Model
Researchers report that central to the hiring of U.S. non-college
bound students is the finding that businesses seldomly base selection on
the record of school achievement (Jencks, 1972, pp. 182-183; Ghiselli,
1973, pp. 461-477; Griffin etal., 1973, pp. 206-221; Taubman & Wales,
1975, pp. 95, 107-108; Willis & Rosen, 1979, pp. 527-536; Meyer &
Wise, 1982, pp. 277-347; Berlin & Sum, 1988, pp. 1-2; Bishop, 1989a,
pp. 7-8,1989b, p. 28). Experts regard this practice as counter-productive
to U.S. businesses because workforce entrants with a higher quality of
school achievement make greater contributions to workplace productivity.
50


These experts contend that school achievement contributes to workplace
productivity and is a key factor for U.S. competitiveness in world markets
(CED, 1983, p. 37; President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness,
1985, pp. 21-30; Rosenbaum, 1989a, p. 12; Walberg, 1989, pp. 106-
107; Lund & McGuire, 1990, p. 7; Fosler, 1991, p. 303). Further,
researchers including Spence (1983, p. 62), Rosenbaum (1989a, p. 40),
Bishop (1989b, p. 32,1989c, pp. 2-5), Newmann (1989, pp. 34-36), and
Rosenbaum and Kariya (1991, pp. 78-95) theorize that the establishment
of practices in which school achievement is instrumental in the
employment process would provide a powerful incentive for improved
school achievement among non-college bound U.S. students and similarly
lead to increases in U.S. productivity.
By failing to consider the academic achievement and attendance
records of prospective employees, non-college bound high school students
may not be exposed to an incentive which may potentially improve their
achievement in school. Bishop (1989a) notes.
Only the top students in the U.S. appear to be
motivated by high grades on test scores; many
find little incentive to take hard courses or earn
high marks because they see no correlation
between doing well in school and getting a
better job. Compared to students in countries
such as Germany, Denmark or Japan...the U.S.
non-college bound are neither held accountable
51
I


to high standards for performance nor guided
into satisfactory careers, (p. 6)
Although Japanese non-college bound students and parents
recognize the importance that school nominations will be to future
employment, U.S. students and parents have little "buy in" to such a
process. It is reported that fewer than 10% of U.S. students will turn to
their high schools for assistance in job searches (Rosenbaum & Kariya,
1989, p. 1341). Unlike the Japanese systems, U.S. homeroom teachers
are rarely involved with non-college bound students' records or
placements and high school counselors are seldomly involved in gathering
information about jobs or in giving information about how students may
improve their opportunities for obtaining jobs (Rosenbaum, 1976, pp. 69,
204, 206; Dunham, 1980, pp. 26-27; Rist, 1981, pp. 181-182; Borman
& Hopkins, 1987, pp. 141-156).
Studies by Jencks (1972), Griffin et al. (1973), Johnson and
Bachman (1973), Hotchkiss, Bishop, and Gardner (1982), and Bills (1988)
find that the U.S. has few school-to-work linkages and that U.S.
employers rarely examine grades or allow grades to influence their hiring
decisions. Bishop (1989a) further notes that as a part of the hiring
process, U.S. businesses review transcripts of non-college bound students
only 14.2% of the time and aptitude test scores had been obtained in only
52


2.9% of the hiring decisions studied (p. 9). Similarly, Crain (1984) found
that only 12% of employers review grades of non-college bound students
prior to employment (p. 23).
Academic achievers among the non-college bound have little
advantage over non-achievers in employability. According to Bishop's
(1987c) National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey,
employers rank "reading, writing, math, and reasoning ability" as fifth of
six abilities they seek when hiring. Hotchkiss, Bishop, and Gardner (1982)
report that there is little "pay-off" for non-college bound students in either
employability or wage rate regardless of grades (pp. 13, 26-27, 29).
Studies indicate that during the first 8 years of employment there is
virtually no wage rate "pay-off" for those non-college bound students
having higher grades (Jencks, 1972, p. 159, 1979, pp. 52-53, 222-223;
Olneck, 1976, pp. 358-376; Daymont & Rumberger, 1982, pp. 279-306;
Kang & Bishop, 1984, pp. 69-87).
Once hired, U.S. non-college bound students receive virtually no
financial differentiation for their level of school performance (Kang &
Bishop, 1984, pp. 69-87). Bishop (1989c) notes.
It is found that during the first 8 years after
leaving high school, young men received no
rewards from the labor market for developing
competence in science, language arts and
53


mathematical reasoning. The only
competencies that were rewarded were speed
in doing simple computations (something that
calculators do better than people) and technical
competence (knowledge of mechanical
principles, electronics, automobiles and shop
tools). For the non-college bound female, there
were both wage rate and earnings benefits to
learning advanced mathematics but no benefits
to developing competence in science or the
technical arena. Competence in language arts
did not raise wage rates but it did reduce the
incidence of unemployment, (p. 17)
Bishop's (1989c) National Federation of Independent Business
(NFIB) study finds that for both males and females, age increases wages
while verbal, scientific, and mathematical reasoning competencies
generate no increase in return (p. 17). In short, it may be better for
potential employees to be older than well-schooled.
While grades are only weakly related to earnings, Taubman and
Wales (1975, pp. 95-122), Bishop (1989a, p. 7), and Rosenbaum (1989b)
contend that grades exhibit a high correlation to worker productivity.
Reports from the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983)
and the Committee for Economic Development (1985) also support the
view that productivity is directly related to academic achievement.
Studies by Ghiselli (1973), Taubman and Wales (1975), Hunter and Hunter
(1984), Kang and Bishop (1984), Hunter, Crosson, and Friedman (1985),
54


and Bishop (1987a, 1988, 1989c) indicate a positive influence of
academic achievement upon worker productivity. The CED (1983) and the
U.S. Department of Education (1983) contend that development of verbal,
scientific, and mathematical skills are key to U.S. economic growth
through increased productivity and note that, nevertheless, businesses
neither hire nor reward non-college bound students for achievement in
those subjects. Rosenbaum (1989b) concludes that the U.S. has "become
comfortable with squandering large portions of the rough labor force" (p.
1).
Bishop (1989a) argues that the high incidence of absenteeism and
the high dropout rate of U.S. schools are directly related to non-college
bound students' expectations that what they do in high school will count
little toward improving their job opportunities or increasing their wages
(p. 7). The lack of incentive to attend school is also reflected in students'
lack of incentive to do school work on a daily basis.
The 1988 High School and Beyond Survey (U.S. Department of
Education, 1990, p. 26) indicates that responsibility to do schoolwork is
lacking among large numbers of U.S. non-college bound students. That
report indicates that U.S. students average only 3.5 hours per week in
doing homework and that the "total time devoted to study, instruction.
55


and practice is only 18-22 hours per weekbetween 15 and 20% of a
students' waking hours during the school year" (Bishop, 1989a, p. 10).
In general, U.S. non-college bound students appear to have little incentive
to be motivated to be responsible to do school work.
The concept of students being responsible to do schoolwork is
often referred to as engagement. Key to engagement is having incentives
for students for their accomplishments. Incentives must be clearly known,
highly visible, long-term, and established in a way that gives students a
direct and measurable benefit. Ogbu's (1974) extensive study of minority
children in Stockton, California, concludes that educational achievement
must be linked to returns in the form of employment for "incentive
motivation." In his meritocratic conclusion, Ogbu reflects upon equal
educational opportunity and notes,
It refers to the ability of the individual and of
groups to benefit from their educations on an
equal footing with the dominant group once
they leave school. People do not succeed in
school simply because they have high IQs,
favorable attitudes, or come from affluent
family backgrounds (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960);
but how they expect to use their education in
the future strongly influences how they behave
in school. The latter is what some
psychologists call a problem of incentive
motivation (Hull, 1943). By this type of
motivation is not meant giving children candy in
the classroom so that they will learn their
56


alphabets. Rather, it refers to the willingness of
society to distribute without discrimination
those occupational, monetary, and other
rewards that it claims to distribute to its
citizens on the basis of educational
qualification. Equal educational Opportunity
[sic] therefore refers to both equal favorable
learning conditions far of children and to the
equal enjoyment of the benefits of rewards of
education by individuals and segments of
society according to their educational
achievement, (p. 258)
U.S. schools and businesses trail behind the Japanese in providing a hiring
mechanism which fosters an incentive for motivation to achieve. Without
such an incentive, the U.S. may not motivate these students to attend
regularly, recognize the importance of schooling, and be responsible to do
school work.
Achievement Motivation Theory
Incentives which motivate students have long been known as a
fundamental component for academic achievement (Murray, 1938, p. 73).
While achievement is dependent upon incentive, there exists little
incentive for the non-college bound to achieve academically despite the
fact that they represent nearly 40% of U.S. students. Bishop (1989a)
notes that non-college bound students have no incentives to succeed
academically. Sizer (1984) contends that in order for them to be
57


motivated, teachers must depend upon their personalities to excite or
motivate students to meet academic demands because, "the
majority...sees no need to accept them as reasonable and legitimate" (p.
6). Sizer (1984) further comments that this lack of motivation among
students precipitates lack of interest and limits academic rigor which
teachers might otherwise expect (pp. 156-158).
The importance of incentives for the motivation to learn is stressed
in the research of Atkinson (1974, pp. 389-410), Maehr and Braskamp
(1986, p. 9), and O'Neil (1992, pp. 6-9). Haynes (1990) has shown that
using incentives precipitates significant increases in academic achievement
and attendance and promotes more positive attitudes toward school and
learning (pp. 163-171). However, school-based interventions to improve
students' incentives are seldomly used as noted in the observations of
Goodlad (1984, pp. 112-113), Sizer (1984, pp. 156-158), and McCombs
(1988, p. 16).
Researchers recognize that significant improvement in the quality of
students' academic achievement must be based upon the enhancement of
"achievement motivation" (Atkinson, 1966, p. 14; Atkinson & Litwin,
1966, p. 75; McClelland, 1976, pp. 240-241; Atkinson, 1978, p. 25;
Spence, 1983, p. 48). Achievement motivation is a person's inner drive
58


which Smith (1969) notes
[engages] the personality factors that come into
play when a person undertakes a task at which
he will be evaluated, enters into competition
with other persons or otherwise strives to attain
some standard of excellence, (p. 1)
Spence and Helmreich (1983) similarly conceive achievement motivation
as.
a series of more or less independent motives,
each reflecting general dispositional tendencies
or traits that are relatively enduring over time
and that remain latent until engaged or aroused
by particular tasks or situations, (p. 44)
In a more broad perspective, Atkinson (1974) contends that without
achievement motivation, the scope of all work and effort are relegated to
mediocrity. He notes.
Interest in one or another opportunity for
expression of talent the arts and literature,
philosophy, religion, the sciences, and
technology, industry, politics either from
outside, as aesthete, interested observer, or
historian, or from inside as active participant in
an enterprise, exhausts the list of intellectual
pursuits of man. Add to it all of the other
exciting, intrinsically satisfying, and highly
skillful uses of mind and body together called
sports and crafts and just plain essential
productive work, and one has defined the scope
of behavioral phenomena to which the words
motivation for achievement apply, (p. 390)
A catalyst central to the improvement of the achievement
59


motivation of students' quality of academic achievement is that of
increasing the "perceived instrumentality" (Raynor, 1978a, p. 74) of the
academic record to future career goals. Research findings from studies
with college entrants indicate that motivation to succeed academically is
highly correlated with the perceived instrumentality of grades to career
goals (Raynor, Atkinson, & Brown, 1974, p. 170; Spence, 1983, p. 62).
Rosenbaum (1989a) contends that this may likewise be the case for non-
college bound students.
According to the elaborated theory of achievement motivation,
arousal of achievement motivation may be further increased by relating
academic achievement to career goals with presumed "contingent paths."
That theory portends that sources of motivation summate (Raynor, 1970,
pp. 28-33; Raynor & Rubin, 1971, p. 40; Raynor, Atkinson, & Brown,
1974, pp. 161-167). When summated, the perception of the
"instrumentality" of the school record in hiring along with the perception
that hiring decisions are "contingent" upon performance act as powerful
extrinsic motivators in our society. In applying this theory to schooling
and employment, Raynor (1978b) notes that as the absence of a
relationship between what a student accomplishes in school and how
students are placed and rewarded in business becomes more evident to
60


the non-college bound, larger portions of those students will drop out of
school. He notes,
the anticipation that eventual success in such a
contingent career path involves movement to
higher levels of knowledge, skill, or proficiency
with its concomitant larger extrinsic rewards
provides in my opinion the greatest single
source of motivational impetus for career
striving, (p. 202)
Use of extrinsic incentives as inducements for
striving in contingent career paths in a
particular culture is coordinated (ideally) with
the dominant child-rearing practices that
function to develop capacities (e.g., motives) in
individuals to appreciate and therefore to strive
for those extrinsic incentives that are used as
"payoffs" for adult career striving ...The extent
of lack of coordination becomes apparent when
large proportions of the younger generation
"drop out" of the traditional network of
contingent career paths that define the majority
of career striving in a culture, or in fact fail to
enter these paths, (p. 205)
It is theorized that contingency in career paths arouses achievement
motivation because contingency generates "future orientation" (Raynor,
1970, pp. 28-29, 1978a, p. 73). Future orientation is an individual's
conscious effort to direct thoughts and actions of the present to
successfully meet future goals as affected by their expectation of
outcomes and the strength of the motivation (Raynor, 1970, p. 28). It is
further theorized that future orientation is the important mechanism which
61


establishes the integrating link between students' academic achievement,
their achievement motivation, and their future employment (Raynor,
1978b, p. 201). This linkage is thought to be an outcome of increased
"attributions of meaning" to school work which results in improvement in
academic achievement. Raynor concludes, "Contingent future orientation
represents a unique feature of career striving that is related to the
functional role of careers in society" (1978b, p. 203).
Increasing students' levels of achievement motivation by using
hiring practices in which the school record is both instrumental and a
contingent factor may not only bring about greater academic achievement
but also the supplemental benefit of greater "task persistence" (the drive
to continue a task until completion, French & Thomas, 1958, pp. 46-48;
Atkinson, 1974, p. 395; Raynor & Entin, 1974, pp. 143-144). That is,
increasing achievement motivation increases academic achievement for
which there is a positive correlation with task persistence. Achievement
motivation studies indicate that those subjects high in achievement
motivation consistently produce higher performance and have greater task
persistence than those subjects with less achievement motivation. Task
persistence is an important correlative outcome of increased achievement
motivation since it provides students with increased drive to complete
62


arduous academic tasks.
However, U.S. students, unlike their Japanese counterparts, may
be unmotivated to achieve academically because they share the
unfortunate but, nevertheless, accurate perception that there is little
relationship between their academic achievement as reflected in their
school record and "getting a good job." A recent poll among U.S. high
school students reveals that two-thirds perceive little work-related
usefulness to their study of science and one-third perceive little work-
related usefulness to their study of math (Public Opinion Laboratory, 1987,
pp. C1B-47, 48). These perceptions have a profoundly negative effect
upon academic motivation (Bishop, 1989a, p. 9, 1989b, p. 28).
Despite the fact that academic achievers are significantly more
productive than non-achievers, their superior school records lend them
neither a significant advantage in the hiring process nor a significant
financial return for their greater productivity. While Bishop (1987b) notes
that each year of schooling raises typical starting wage rates 1.1% to
1.2% (p. S46), academic performance contributes virtually no greater
financial reward when working than while yet enrolled in school or even
after graduation (Daymont & Rumberger, 1982, pp. 300-302; Hotchkiss,
Bishop, & Gardner, 1982, pp. 13, 26-27, 29; Kang & Bishop, 1984, pp.
63


69-87). Having the perception that a good record in school may not bring
about financial rewards in the workplace may further add to the negative
effects which hinder motivation for academic achievement.
The failure to use school records for contingency in hiring, as is the
case in many competitor nations (Bishop, 1989b, p. 32; Kellaghan &
Madaus, 1991, pp. 87-93), may be overlooking a potent mechanism for
increasing U.S. students' motivation to improve the quality of their school
achievement (Spence, 1983, p. 62; U.S. Department of Education, 1991a,
p. 38). That is, if students' were to perceive that school records are
"instrumental" in employer's hiring decisions and that hiring were to be
"contingent" upon the quality of school achievement indicated in those
records, they may be provided with a powerful source of motivation.
Such motivation may provide valuable improvement to students' quality
of school achievement and the nation's human capital formation.
Human Capital Theory
Much as early human capital economists Petty (1662/1963, p. 19),
Smith (1776/1937, p. 265), and Mill (1848/1929, pp. 47-49), Hornbeck
and Salamon (1991) define a nation's human capital as, "the acquired
skills, knowledge, and abilities of human beings" (p. 3). A major source
64


of "human capital formation" (the process of generation of the skills,
knowledge, and abilities of U.S. human capital) can be attributed to the
nation's system of elementary and secondary schooling (Rogers & Ruchlin,
1971, pp. 3-5; Weisbrod, 1971a, p. 75; Becker, 1975, pp. 147-257;
Doyle & Levine, 1986, pp. 18-19).
The failure of U.S. non-college bound students to achieve in school
and obtain the basic skills needed for workforce entry is often considered
a loss of human capital. Doyle and Levine (1986) note.
Business and education are two of the largest
enterprises in the United States, and each has
a major impact on the life of the nation.
Although schools and business are always
interdependent, the importance of education to
the economy is more clearly highlighted in times
of crises. Such a crisis exists now. (p. 17)
Human capital theorists measure the value of people as
differentiated from that attached to land and physical capital. They
include among their ranks such prestigious economists as Petty
(1662/1963), Smith (1776/1937), Say (1821/1921), List (1825/1983),
Senior (1836/1938), von Thunen (1842/1960), Roscher (1854/1878),
Bagehot (1891/1953), Sidgwick (1901), Walras (1954), Fisher (1908),
Schultz (1961), and Dennison (1962). These economists employ methods
of human capital measurement to estimate the value of human beings.
65


The "cost-of-production" method measures real investment costs incurred
in training a worker to reach a predetermined skill level. A second method
measures the "outcomen value of a person's present or future income
stream at given skill levels (Kiker, 1971, p. 3). The "outcome" value of
the population is determined in human capital measurements of the wealth
or power of a nation. The "outcome" value less the investment costs are
used to determine the economic benefits of education and is often referred
to as the "residual." Such measurements point out the importance of a
nation's investment in the skills and abilities of human beings in order to
increase productivity (Smith, 1776/1937, p. 101; Bentham, 1787/1952,
p. 53; Say, 1821/1921, pp. 92-94; Mill, 1848/1929, pp. 48-49; Roscher,
1854/1878, p. 432; Bagehot, 1891/1953, pp. 25-45; Sidgwick, 1901, p.
134).
Schultz (1987) notes that human capital formation is subject to
public and private investment response and is based upon anticipation of
the greatest income streams for the least amount of cost (p. 11). To
improve income streams, "human beings invest in themselves, by means
of education, training, or other activities, which raise their future income
by increasing their lifetime earnings" (Woodhall, 1987, p. 21). Investing
in "themselves" requires that the individual does so "in person" and that
66


they must invest their time and other resources (Schultz, 1987, p. 12).
However, since school records are seldomly used as a part of the hiring
process, most non-college bound students can not anticipate greater
income streams by improving their personal human capital by achieving or
even remaining in school.
Human capitalists contend that advances in productivity and in the
quality of physical capital are made possible by advances in knowledge.
In countries having a high per capita income, human capitalists contend
that knowledge is more attributable to this success than physical capital
(Schultz, 1987, p. 11). While knowledge can be acquired in a variety of
ways, human capitalists contend that education is the most important and
provides direct financial and other returns (Rogers & Ruchlin, 1971, p. 3).
Of particular significance to the formation of human capital within the
system of U.S. schooling is the portion of students who enter the
workforce directly after high school and without participation in post-
secondary education. In 1988, non-college bound students represented
41.6% of the nation's annual high school graduates (U.S. Department of
Education, 1991b, p. 18). Ralph (Interview) comments that the non-
college bound are particularly important to U.S. productivity and
comments, "These are the forgotten half and they are a big part of the
67


story. After all, the name of the game in U.S. productivity is new abilities
for that group."
Human capitalists contend that historically the growth in the stock
of knowledge of non-college bound students within each successive
graduating class (because of increased average number of years of
schooling) has made a significant contribution to the growth of U.S.
productivity (Norman, 1976, pp. 85-96; Rosow, 1981, p. 98; Rubinson &
Ralph, 1984, p. 147). However, a variety of factors including a shift in
the demographic composition of these graduates (Ginzberg, Noyelle, &
Stanback, 1986, p. 34; Foster, 1990, pp. 8-11; Lund & McGuire, 1990,
p. 8; Barrett, 1991, pp. 69-94; Packer, 1991, pp. 44-47), the increasing
entrance-level technological demands of the workplace (Strassman, 1985,
p. 93; Ginzberg, Noyelle, & Stanback, 1986, p. 51; Cyert & Mowery,
1987, pp. 4-6, 71; Rumberger, 1987, p. 74; Lund & McGuire, 1990, p.
7), and the lack of continued growth in these student's average
educational level (Bowen, 1982, p. 6; CED, 1983, p. 37; Murphy, 1990,
p. 63; Fosler, 1991, pp. 313-314) has led to what has been termed the
"stagnation" of the human capital formation of this important group of
workforce entrants. Contrary to the needs of the more technological
workplace, the quality of the academic achievement of non-college bound
68


workforce entrants has steadily declined and is forecasted to continue to
decline during the next several decades (Wykstra, 1971a, p. 49; Boyer,
1991, p. 173; Packer, 1991, p. 53). In order to reverse such a decline,
improvement is needed in the quality of the academic achievement of
these workers as they prepare for their entry into the workforce
(Weisbrod, 1971b, p. 246; Wykstra, 1971b, pp. 367-435; Bowen, 1982,
p. 6; Solmon, 1986, p. 9; Ullman, 1988, pp. 143-144). Dennison (1962)
notes that continued increases in the quantity of education as a source of
continued productivity has reached a point of diminishing returns and
"...cannot increase in the future at the rate it has in the past..What is
needed to prevent the contribution of education to growth from falling
very sharply before the end of this century is a great acceleration in the
rate of increase in quality [of academic achievement]" (pp. 76-77).
Research indicates that a higher quality of academic achievement
is found to be closely linked to higher productivity, per worker (Ghiselli,
1973, pp. 461-477; Taubman & Wales, 1975, pp. 95, 107-108; Berlin &
Sum, 1988, pp. 1-2; Bishop, 1989a, pp. 7-8). Although the school record
can be considered as a record of human capital development, U.S.
businesses seldomly either examine or base selection in hiring upon the
academic achievement record of non-college bound students as a part of
69


the employment process (Jencks, 1972, pp. 182-183; Bishop, 1989a, p.
7). That is, although a higher quality of academic achievement among
workforce entrants contributes to improvement in U.S. workplace
productivity, records of academic achievement are unused as a hiring
criteria for nearly one half of the nation's workforce (Bishop, 1989a, p. 8;
Lund & McGuire, 1990, p. 12). Not only do businesses infrequently
examine the summative record of job candidates' academic achievement,
the high school transcript, they seldomly test candidates' literacy skills
(Greenberg, 1989, p. 6).
In sum, while human capitalists contend that academic achievement
has a positive correlation with worker on-the-job productivity, businesses
rarely rely upon either demonstrations of academic ability or records of
academic achievement (transcripts) as a part of the hiring process
(Greenberg, 1989, pp. 8-26).
By failing to examine the quality of candidates' academic
achievement as part of the hiring process, two negative outcomes emerge.
First, hiring of the great majority of non-college bound high school
graduates occurs without reference to either high school transcripts or
employer testing. As a result, employers are unable to make better than
marginal predictions of job candidates' potential for productivitythus
70


adding to businesses' inefficiency, increased costs, and reduced
productivity (Lund & McGuire, 1990, pp. 12,14). Employers' infrequent
use of transcript information for "contingency in hiring," (i.e., as a key
factor among selection criteria), limits employers from gauging candidates'
levels of literacy or potential to meet workplace educational requirements
which "continue to climb" (Lund & McGuire, 1990, p. 12). As a result,
it is contended that business loses profit due to training costs and the
attendant lost productivity while workers are being trained or retrained to
meet the minimal literacy levels needed in the workplace (Kearns, 1988,
p. 566).
Human capitalists contend that the continued economic prosperity
of the United States is dependent upon maintaining high levels of growth
in productivity (Kendrick & Grossman, 1980, p. 4; Schultz, 1981, pp. ix,
4, 88; Ullman, 1988, p. 2; Grayson, 1991, p. 37). During recent years,
U.S. growth in productivity (defined as "output per worker hour," Bowen,
1982, p. 3) has slowed while that of other nations' has risen dramatically
(CED, 1983, pp. 1-2; Kendrick, 1989, p. 78). While a variety of factors
contribute to determining a nation's growth in productivity, Schultz (1971,
p. 8), Nadiri & Rosen (1973, pp. 167-171), Ullman (1980, pp. 1-20), Lund
and McGuire (1990, p. 7), Fosler (1991, p. 303), and Shetty & Buehler
71


(1991, pp. 3-10) contend that worldwide technological change in the
nature of products and production has elevated the importance of human
capital formation as a key factor influencing future U.S. productivity
growth.
Credentialino Theory
Aside from the contentions of the human capitalists, sociologists
suggest that level of education is consistently and most highly correlated
with occupational success for both general and specialized employment
as well as professional and scientific careers (Upset & Bendix, 1959, pp.
189-192; Smigel, 1964, pp. 39, 73-74; Blau & Duncan, 1967, p. 202).
These correlations along with historical trends indicating the increased
importance of education to individuals as well as industrial advances
toward new technology (Clark, 1959, pp. 569-576; Kerr, Dunlop,
Harbison, & Myers, 1960, p. 29; Galbraith, 1967, pp. 234-242; Bell,
1973, pp. 410-411), added to the attribution of education as a significant
theoretical residual growth factor in GNP (Schultz, 1961, pp. 37-39;
Dennison, 1962, pp. 243-244, 247-248) have given rise to the
technological function theory of education (Technocracy). Collins (1979)
notes.
72


American sociologists concerned with
stratification have concentrated on social
mobility, and one main fact has emerged from
their research: Education is the most important
determinant yet discovered of how far one will
go in today's world. Moreover, it has been
growing steadily more important in the sense
that each new generation of Americans has
spent more and more time in school and taken
jobs with higher and higher educational
requirements. And since schooling has been
defined as an agency for meritocratic selection,
the rising prominence of education has been the
strongest argument for the existence of
Technocracy, (p. 3)
Collins (1979) notes that the technological function theory portends
that, "school requirements of jobs in industrial society constantly increase
because of technological change." During technological change the
"portion of jobs requiring low skill decreases," "the proportion requiring
high skill increases," and "the same jobs are upgraded in skill
requirements." Formal education is the source which "provides the
training, either in specific skills or in general capacities, necessary for the
more highly skilled jobs," and because of this requirement, "educational
requirements for employment constantly rise and increasingly larger
proportions of the populace are required to spend longer and longer
periods in school" (p. 12).
Credentialists including Thurow (1970) and Collins (1979) dispute
73


the human capital components of technological function theory and argue
that only a small portion of low skill jobs have been replaced with work
requiring educational upgrading. Credentialists contend that the great
majority of jobs are upgraded with unnecessary increases in skill
requirements. Folger and Nam (1964) find that 85% of educational
upgrading in work during the twentieth century has occurred within job
categories. Collins (1979) contends that the vast majority of educational
upgrading is unnecessary and in a de facto way contributes to social
stratification (pp. 13-20).
While credentialing arguments are based upon an examination of
workforce skills during the first 60 years of this century, they may be
challenged in light of recent and far-reaching effects of shifting to an
"information" economy, shifts to robotic and other new production
methods, advances in computerization and communications, and other
technological advances along with the internationalization of the U.S. and
most nations' economies. Previous manufacturing and services utilized
relatively static technology and relied upon unskilled labor until the late
1960s. Until the late 1960s, the labor market illustrated only moderate
declines in low skill jobs and only modest increases in high skill positions.
Contrary to credentialists, human capitalists argue that while low-
74


skill "uninflated" job categories may have continued in the U.S.,
manufacturing of high-volume, standardized goods shifted to developing
countries to tap into less expensive labor pools (Salamon, 1991, p. 13).
Contrary to Collins' assertion that job categories become educationally
inflated, Piore and Sabel (1982, pp. 87-88, 113-115), Reich (1983, pp.
127-128), Choate (1986, pp. 205-208), and Osborne (1988, pp. 268-
273) note that during the early 1980s U.S. industry shifted to producing
"quality over quantity" and thus raised the importance of hiring employees
whose educational backgrounds allow them to be more flexible in their
skills, to adapt readily to new technology, and to contribute more to the
necessary competitive edge. This shift has dramatically affected the
remaining positions and as Packer (1991) notes, numbers of "old-fash-
ioned, narrowly-defined jobs" have shrunk and will continue to shrink
while remaining job classifications in both manufacturing and the service
sector have become broadened and require more knowledge and better
communication skills (p. 56). Johnston and Packer (1987) conclude,
"Overall, the skill mix of the economy will be moving rapidly upscale" (p.
96). Salamon (1991) adds,
only 4 percent of the jobs likely to be created in
the economy between 1984 and 2000 will be
in the lowest skill levels, which now represent
9 percent of existing jobs. By contrast, 41
75


percent of the likely new jobs will require the
highest skill levels, compared to the 24 percent
of all jobs that require such proficiency now. (p.
14)
Collins' (1979) further develops Berg's (1969) argument that the
U.S. was misled into educating its citizenry far beyond the nation's needs.
He contends that the demographic influx of a large upwardly mobile
("baby-boomer") population that glutted the market with individuals
desirous of training allowed businesses to inflate the credentials needed
for current, new, and changing job categories. However, demographers
note that as a workforce, this population is beginning to rapidly decrease.
The now grown "baby-boomers" and increasing numbers of retirees from
the previous generation are creating a vacuum for skilled individuals.
Since the early 1970s, baby-boomers have further complicated
demographics by the "birth dearth." The vacuum in the labor force
created by the lack of offspring of baby-boomers has been filled by large
numbers of women and minority workers lacking in the entry-level
workforce skills needed for increasingly demanding positions (Barrett,
1991, pp. 69-94; Marshall, 1991, pp. 95-135). Salamon (1991) disputes
Collins' contention that larger proportions of the population are
unnecessarily required to spend longer periods of time in school, and notes
that increasing numbers of jobs go unfilled by non-college bound students
76


due to poor entry-level workforce skills preparation (Salamon, 1991, p.
15).
While Collins (1979) contends that formal education is not linked to
required job skills and asserts that better educated employees are not
more productive than those who are less educated (pp. 13-14), Bishop
(1989a, pp. 7-9), Hunter and Hunter (1984, pp. 92-95), Taubman and
Wales (1975, pp. 95, 110-119), and Ghiselli (1973, pp. 461-477) argue
that basic academic skills are significantly and positively related to
productivity. The Workforce 2000 report of Johnston and Packer (1987)
asserts.
During the 1985-2000 period, the good fortune
to be born in or to immigrate to the United
States will make less difference than the luck or
initiative to be well-educated and well-trained.
For individuals, the good jobs of the future will
belong to those who have skills that enable
them to be productive in a high-skill, service
economy. For the nation, the success with
which the workforce is prepared for high-skilled
jobs will be an essential ingredient in
maintaining a high-productivity, high-wage
economy, (p. 103)
Collins (1979) also contends that schools teach little of value or
applicability to the workforce (pp. 16-17). He notes that vocational
education is irrelevant to job fate and vocational students fare no better
than those without such training and have no better chance of being
77


unemployed than high school dropouts (p. 16). These conclusions are
based on studies completed much before 1970 (Plunkett, 1960; Duncan,
1964; Clark & Sloan, 1966) and as such may have little application nearly
thirty years later. As evidence for the lack of a correlation between school
achievement and needs of the workplace, Collins cites studies (Learned &
Wood, 1938, p. 28) implicating the lack of significant incremental
improvement in students' scores on standardized tests given nearly forty
years before authoring his 1979 work. Such evidence may have little
application to the technological needs or sources of training more than
fifty years later.
Lester Thurow's "job competition" model is similar to Collins'
proposition that "the same jobs are upgraded in skill requirements" and
adds the caveat that education must be obtained for defensive purposes.
Thurow notes.
As the supply of more highly educated labor
increases, individuals find that they must
improve their own educational qualifications
simply to defend their current income
position...Education becomes a good
investment, not because it would raise an
individual's income above what it would have
been if no others had increased their education
but because it raises his income above what it
will be if others acquire an education and he
does not. In effect, education becomes a
defensive expenditure necessary to protect
one's 'market share'. (1975, pp. 96-97)
78


Similar to Berg (1969) and Collins (1979), Thurow's argument is posited
at a time when workforce preparation may have outstripped the level of
training needed. Thurow's earlier human capital examinations emphasize
maximization of individuals' human capital investments and contrast
societal investment goals with those of the individual with an aim at
developing optimum incentive structures (1970, 1971, 1975). More
recently (1985, 1992), Thurow emphasizes that education and training,
particularly at the high school level and for the non-college bound, are the
"missing links" needed to increase productivity growth and make the U.S.
more competitive with Japan, Pacific rim and GATT nations. Regarding
the non-college bound, Thurow (1985) notes,
Whatever their ultimate quality, the American
economy is not going to succeed based on the
skills of the one-half of the workforce who
enter college or the one-third who eventually
graduate from college. The skills of the non-
college bound are just as important yet America
does not even have a system of post-secondary
skill training for them. (pp. 200-201)
Thurow's (1985) examination of those non-college bound without basic
skills concludes.
The problem is not just finding work for the
functional illiterate in a high-tech scientific
society that does not need functional illiterates
but how society itself is to survive
competitively if so much of its workforce
79


cannot effectively contribute. Poor educational
performance is not just an individual problem.
It is a national disaster, (p. 184)
Thurow (1985, p. 184) and Bishop (1989b, p. 33) conclude that
standards must be set for the non-college bound to achieve the entry-level
skills U.S. business needs to be competitive. As in the Japanese model,
Thurow (1992) notes that American businesses must commit to hiring
only those non-college bound students meeting an established level of
performance in their school achievement (p. 278).
In reviewing arguments of credentialists, Collins contends that
credentials are inflated for job categories. However, that position may
bear re-examination in view of historical trends. Thurow has shifted his
earlier contentions and now advocates that increased training is critical for
the workforce. Increasingly, numbers of studies indicate the inter-relation-
ship of education to productivity and the increasing amount of education
needed by all members of the workforce for the U.S. economy to remain
prosperous and to be competitive internationally.
Summary
In summary, despite U.S. efforts at school reform, non-college
bound students in increasing numbers may fail to have the entry-level
80


workforce skills needed by business and industry (CED, 1985, p. xii).
These entry-level skills include basic academic skills and a number of
personal qualities necessary in the workforce. The academic skills include
having basic reading and writing skills, being able to do basic math, and
personal qualities including regularity in attendance, a high degree of
motivation, and having a positive attitude toward work. Employers often
cite these skills as those needed by non-college bound students to obtain
long-term employment at acceptable wage levels and for the U.S. to be
competitive internationally (Boyer, 1991, p. 173; Packer, 1991, p. 53;
Wykstra, 1971a, p. 49).
U.S. non-college bound students are thought to lack the critical
incentives needed for achieving improved academic performance and to
work toward greater school achievement. The use of school records in
hiring may be key in providing these incentives and are conspicuous by
their absence as a part of U.S. education. Rosenbaum (1989a) notes,
Indeed, the high school-work transition is the
only area where links are so undeveloped in the
U.S. Links exist between high schools and
colleges, colleges and graduate schools,
colleges and employers, and vocational and
graduate schools and employers. The absence
of links between public high schools and
employers is an anomaly that may account for
the special problems of work-bound youth.
This insight points the way to solving these
81


problems, (p. 40)
Data from the U.S. Longitudinal Cohort Study of Youth (Public
Opinion Laboratory, 1987) indicates that U.S. tenth graders perceive little
relationship between what they learn and getting a good job (pp. C1B-47,
48). The failure of employers to evaluate school achievement and records
of coursework selected leaves little incentive for non-college bound
students to strive for higher achievement in their coursework. That failure
also reduces incentive for positive attitudes toward achievement of a high
caliber of basic skills which may enhance their workforce opportunities as
well as business productivity. With few incentives, U.S. non-college
bound students are led away from challenging coursework and excellence
in school achievement. Unfortunately for U.S. students and businesses,
the poor entry-level workforce skills of the non-college bound cause the
vast majority of these students to move in and out of a variety of initial
jobs which require little discrete knowledge. On the average, it is nearly
ten years before non-college bound students enter into long-term
employment positions which may require a good command of basic skills.
Rosenbaum (1989a) notes.
Since employers ignore grades, it is not
surprising that many work-bound students lack
motivation to improve them. While some
students work hard in school because of
82


personal standards or parental pressure or real
interest in a particular subject, students who
lack these motivations have little incentive since
schoolwork doesn't affect the jobs they will get
after graduation, and it is difficult for them to
see how it could affect job possibilities ten
years later...The Japanese advantage is not for
top achieving students; they do about as well
as their American peers. The Japanese
advantage is for students in the bottom half of
the class, who have much higher achievement
than comparable students in other countries.
Japan's incentives for work-bound students,
which are stronger than in any other developed
country, undoubtedly affect the achievement of
these students, (pp. 13-14)
College and university admissions provide U.S. and Japanese
college bound students with a powerful incentive for school achievement
while in high school. Likewise, Japanese hiring practices as a part of that
system's school-to-work linkages provide a powerful incentive for high
achievement among Japanese non-college bound students. In contrast,
the U.S. provides few school-to-work linkages for the non-college bound
and studies indicate that U.S. businesses seldomly demand records
showing excellence in school achievement as a part of the employment
process. As a result, U.S. non-college bound students have little
motivation or reason to be motivated for school achievement while in high
school.
The lack of achievement of a large portion of non-college bound
83


U.S. students is evident in an examination of several indicators of school
achievement. While having similarly structured educational systems, the
non-college bound students of Japan attend more regularly, attach greater
importance to school work, illustrate greater motivation to do school work,
and have lower cohort dropout rates than U.S. students. As a result, they
score higher on standardized tests and, more importantly, acquire the
basic skills needed for entry into today's workforce.
Human capital economists point to education as a reflection of
human capital attainment and one of the most vital indicators of the
wealth of a nation. Other experts continue to debate the extent to which
school achievement is related to U.S. productivity and also debate the
degree to which credentials for entry-level jobs are inflated. However,
most agree that "threshold" skills are gained through completion of a high
school course of study which includes entry-level workforce skills. Those
entry-level workforce skills include having basic reading and writing skills,
being able to do basic math, and the personal qualities of regularity in
attendance, a high degree of motivation, and having a positive attitude.
Employers often cite these skills as those needed by non-college bound
students in order to meet entry-level workforce requirements.
Confounding the need for a workforce which has increased entry-
84


level skills are demographic projections which indicate that a growing
proportion of non-college bound students will come from low S.E.S., inner-
city, rural, and minority backgrounds. Historically, these students have
had the greatest difficulty in acquiring entry-level workforce skills.
Achievement motivation theorists contend that contingency in
career paths is an incentive which may arouse motivation for achievement.
This theoretical construct lends credence to the concept of using school
records in hiring to provide both incentive and task persistence for school
achievement. While evidence points to the Japanese model of using
school records in hiring as being effective in providing motivation for
achievement among non-college bound students, it is unclear if U.S.
students would be similarly motivated. The purpose of this study was to
answer that and other closely allied questions.
85


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Experts argue that the use of school records in hiring may be a
strong incentive which motivates non-college bound Japanese students to
higher entry-level workforce skills attainment. This study sought to
determine whether that incentive would similarly motivate U.S. non-col-
lege bound students and serve to improve their level of workforce skills
attainment. However, little is known of U.S. non-college bound students'
perceptions regarding employers' use of school records as a part of the
employment process. Therefore, to begin this study, it was first
necessary to determine the proportion of students who perceive that
school records are used by employers as a part of the employment
process and the proportion of students who do not perceive this use of
records by employers (i.e. the "perception status" of students). Second,
it was necessary to determine the influential factors which contribute to
the formation of these perceptions among non-college bound U.S.
students. Third, this research then proceeded to determine how students'
school performance and the personal qualities of motivation and attitude
(dependent variables) are related to students' perception status
(independent variable). Determining the nature of these relationships was
i
!
i
86


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