The level of occupational experience and intentionality related to vocational reading and writing tasks for unemployed adults

Susan Garni Masullo, Fordham University


The main purpose of this study was to describe and compare the intentions and performances of 50 unemployed adults enrolled in a remedial program as part of total vocational rehabilitation plans on work-oriented reading and writing tasks when these adults had two different occupational backgrounds: those with previous full-time employment experience and those without such work histories. Data derived from taped, structured, open-ended interviews designed to assess intentionality and scored results from the reading and writing tasks were subjected to content and statistical analyses. Content analysis of the interviews revealed that all adults in this sample, regardless of past occupational experience, perceived themselves as the person to whom it was most important to improve their reading and writing skills. With regard to intentions about task utility, subjects found the tasks administered to them useful in preparing them for a job activity, but were able to cite techniques which could be used to compensate for lack of strong skills in a workplace situation. Subjects also stated that their current employment options in light of their present abilities were limited to unskilled, low-paying jobs and saw remedial instruction as a positive factor in the processes of completing vocational training, obtaining and maintaining employment, and advancing in their jobs once employed. However, several statistically significant differences were found on other factors of intentionality between those subjects with previous work experience and those without such prior employment histories. There were no significant differences between the reading and writing performances of adults with previous employment and those without prior work experience, nor were any significant relationships found between level of occupational experience and scores on these tasks. There were varying degrees of relationship between discrete intentionality factors and performances on the reading and writing tasks. Such results indicate that the concept of intentionality may be a valuable component in workplace literacy education.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Vocational education|Educational theory

Recommended Citation

Masullo, Susan Garni, "The level of occupational experience and intentionality related to vocational reading and writing tasks for unemployed adults" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9511223.