STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF THE EFFECTS OF THE COOPERATIVE EDUCATION CURRICULUM AT FIORELLO H. LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE (NEW YORK)

ELEANOR ROGERS GITTENS, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the perceptions of students at LaGuardia Community College regarding their experience with cooperative education (CE), a curriculum combining structured work experience and the classroom.^ Two groups of students were surveyed: students from the class of 1985 who were completing their third and final internship experience; and students from the class of 1981 who dropped out of the college following the completion of at least one internship. The survey sought to determine: (1) the expectations of students on entering the cooperative education program; (2) how their experience differed from expectation; (3) how the internship experience affected their attitudes toward college and their desire to complete their degree; (4) the impact of CE on career goals; (5) the impact of CE on personal goals; and whether persisters and drop-outs differ on the above dimensions.^ The questionnaire was adapted from an instrument developed by the New Jersey Equal Opportunity Fund Office for a study of EOF students. It contained both open-ended and forced-choice questions. The 1981 drop-out group in the present study also received a second questionnaire, adapted from an instrument developed for a Nassau Community College study on retention and withdrawal. This instrument elicited information regarding the drop-outs' reasons for leaving the college and their educational and occupational plans.^ Both persisters and dropouts generally reported positive attitudes toward CE. They indicated that the primary advantage of CE was work experience, but many indicated that the internships had helped them personally as well, improving their assertiveness, independence, self-confidence, and communication skills.^ Their exposure to the work environment led most students to raise their levels of educational aspiration to at least a bachelor's degree. However, most planned to complete their degree at LaGuardia before transferring to a senior college.^ The study suggested that exposure to work experience is extremely helpful to students in their efforts to achieve self-knowledge and self-improvement. It further suggested that exposure to the world of work leads many cooperative education students to raise their educational and occupational objectives. ^

Subject Area

Community college education

Recommended Citation

GITTENS, ELEANOR ROGERS, "STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF THE EFFECTS OF THE COOPERATIVE EDUCATION CURRICULUM AT FIORELLO H. LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE (NEW YORK)" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8725676.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8725676

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