Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cornelious, Linda

Committee Member

Forde, Connie

Committee Member

Adams, James

Committee Member

Davis, James

Committee Member

Watson, Joshua

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary School Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


The primary purpose of this study was to determine the factors and perceptions that affect enrollment in career and technical education (CTE) programs in rural East Central Mississippi. Specifically, the study had four key purposes. First, the academic grades of CTE students and non-CTE students were examined to determine whether academic grades differ significantly between the CTE enrollers and non-CTE enrollers. Secondly, the study determined the perceptions that students in rural East Central Mississippi have toward CTE programs. Next, the study examined the internal and external factors that cause students to enroll or not enroll in a CTE program. Finally, the study identified the individuals who can positively or negatively affect a student’s decision to enroll in a CTE program. The research design for this study was causal-comparative, and the researcher used descriptive statistics, as well as frequencies and percentages to analyze the data. The Mann-Whitney U test and a series of t-tests for independent variables were used to test the hypotheses. The population for this study was 400 high school seniors enrolled in seven rural East Central Mississippi high schools that feed into three career and technical centers. A total of 284 students completed the proper consent and assent forms in order to participate in the study. Findings in this study indicated that a significant difference did not exist between the academic grades of CTE students and non-CTE students. Additional results showed a significant difference between CTE enrollers and non-CTE enrollers in regard to four of the eleven perceptions of CTE. In addition, the researcher found that students enroll in CTE because they are interested in one of the career areas and want to attend college in that career area. It was also determined that CTE students enjoy spending time away from their high school. The study showed that non-CTE students did not enroll in CTE because it would not fit into their schedule. The researcher also found that friends and parents mostly encouraged students to enroll in CTE, while in some instances guidance counselors may have discouraged them from enrolling in a CTE program.