One of the most difficult things for high school students to understand is that it takes a very high skill level to become a doctor, lawyer, or even a veterinarian, says Steve McClure, school counselor at Midwest Central High School in Manito, Illinois.
Many students come into high school planning for a professional degree in the future but are not willing to take advanced classes in any school subject.
Midwest Central High started using the Magellan career assessment software to help students understand what qualifications are needed for the careers they are considering.
Magellan software provides eight assessments, each concentrating on real-world job skills. With each assessment, students learn about these skills, their importance and how they relate to specific jobs. Students are also evaluated on their own level for each skill. In addition to these assessments, wage data, job descriptions, on-line video clips, and 4-year study plans help students discover exciting career options and develop the motivation to succeed.
By understanding what is needed to succeed in a future profession, students can plan their courses with a goal in mind. Our goal in the counseling department is to motivate these kids to become better students and take more advanced classes during their high school careers, Mr. McClure continued.
Because Magellan is completed on a computer and is rich in visual information, the students donít seem to mind working on the various assessments. It becomes a challenge to them to complete the different sections. They are eager to see the results.
This anticipation turns into motivation when the students see where they are in terms of a potential career and what courses they need for a specific profession, courses that may go beyond the requirements for graduation. In particular, some students realize that they need advanced classes. They soon understand that they will have to do well in their beginning level classes in order to get into advanced classes. Other students may find they need to reevaluate where they are and what they want to do.
Any student at Midwest Central High can use the Magellan program, but the primary focus has been for all freshmen to complete the abilities and interest sections. This gives them a foundation upon which they can build a career through course selection. Next year juniors will complete the entire Magellan assessment so they have a chance to modify their senior plans according to their career choices.
There are benefits for the staff too. Unlike the old paper and pencil career assessments, Magellan is broken into manageable sections that can be completed independently, in groups, or all at once. At Midwest Central High students have been using time during their study hall period.
In the past, says Mr. McClure, I would have to actually go into the classroom to give the old skills and abilities assessments, taking up valuable learning time. The teachers really appreciate not having to give up class time for this.
Because of the versatility of the Magellan program, Midwest Central High is also altering the program to fit specific needs. Steve McClure is working on the career interest portion of the program so students will choose those elective classes that will benefit them the most, given a chosen field.
Say a student is interested in an arts or communications career, says McClure. Starting next year, besides learning about core classes needed, that student will be able to see what elective classes at Midwest Central High are recommended for that field. This option is excellent in 4-year course planning.
For me, itís a great management tool, and this is a big plus, he continued. I can track my studentsí progress and help them make adjustments. I chose Magellan over other career software because it contains so many more topics, more useful information. So far it has met all of my expectations.
From my perspective, helping students understand what is necessary to succeed in a specific career is one of the greatest benefits of using the Magellan program, Mr. McClure noted. Students who have already have some notion as to what they would like to accomplish can use the various assessments to strengthen that decision. If they find that they no longer embrace an earlier career choice, the Magellan program helps students learn about other related careers that they can successfully achieve. This is invaluable in keeping students motivated.