Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Joyce VanTassel-Baska


The intent of this study was to study high achieving students' career decision-making associated with thinking styles and to examine factors influencing career choices. A causal-comparative research design and correlational research design were used, with a sample of 209 high school students. Data were gathered from two International Baccalaureate (TB) programs and a Governor's School Program. Students responded to two types of questionnaire---the Thinking Style Inventory, and A Questionnaire Related to Career Choices and Students' Sensitivity toward Environmental Forces.;The findings of this study demonstrated that the effect of program on different thinking styles was significant (p < .05), and the effect of gender on different thinking styles was significant ( p < .01). Also, the findings showed that an external thinking style was a good predictor for choosing the social science area for future careers. However, students with a higher external thinking style chose computer and math areas 73% less than students with lower external thinking style. Also, the findings of the study demonstrated that students' passion for a specific subject and family environment were also important factors influencing career choices of high achieving high school students.;The study suggested the importance of taking thinking styles into consideration for the career development of high-achieving adolescents. In addition, the environmental influences of parents, family, and schools are also important considerations for students' career development, along with students' inherent interest in a subject. Therefore, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors should recognize their own critical roles in shaping students' career development.



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