Utilizing the Act Engage 6-9 to Explore Noncognitive College and Career Readiness Levels among 8th-Grade Texas 4-H Participants
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of the 4-H Life Skills program on participants’ noncognitive college and career readiness levels, utilizing the ACT Engage 6-9 instrument (formerly known as the Student Readiness Inventory— Middle School) to evaluate quantitatively the noncognitive (psychosocial) college and career readiness levels among eighth-grade public-schooled Texas 4-H participants with more than 2 years of tenure. ACT Engage 6-9 was developed to measure noncognitive (psychosocial) variables related to student academic achievement and student retention. This information, combined with results for the variables of gender, academic grade ranges, intended Texas Education Agency (TEA) high school diploma path, intended TEAC Grade 9 Endorsement Area selection, intended after-high-school plans, intended education level attainment goals, 4-H program participation, 4-H program tenure, and Future Farmers of American (FFA) participation, was used to measure the participants’ college and career readiness. Findings from this study may serve as an early identifier of areas of noncognitive college and career readiness strengths and risk and inform the design of evidence-based interventions to support 4-H participants’ college and career readiness, especially for rural students where a high percentage lag in college enrollment, take more remedial college courses, have fewer resources, and “undermatch” more when selecting colleges to attend. The framework of the study was grounded in positive youth development theory, which focuses on engaging students in an institutional framework from a position of strength and provides developmental, human, and funding resource assets to prepare them for the future. Using a quantitative research model with purposive sampling, an online survey was administered to 69 eighth-grade public-schooled Texas 4-H participants with more than 2 years of tenure. Descriptive statistics, means, standard deviations, and independent-samples t test were used to analyze participant responses from both the ACT Engage 6-9 and the variables framed by the literature. While the findings apply only to the study group, they indicate that (a) 4-H participation had a statistically significant positive influence on these youths’ noncognitive college and career readiness; (b) participants’ secondary educational goals were “undermatched,” meaning that they choose to pursue an Associate degree or attend a college that is less selective than their high school credentials permit access to; (c) students who earned mostly A’s scored higher across the scales of academic discipline, optimism, and managing feelings; (d) students who participated in both 4-H and FFA scored higher on family attitude toward education, school safety climate, relationships with school personnel, and managing feelings compared to students who participated only in 4-H.
Tarlton, Edward Lamont (2018). Utilizing the Act Engage 6-9 to Explore Noncognitive College and Career Readiness Levels among 8th-Grade Texas 4-H Participants. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from