A model for the adoption of information systems in the career guidance and university placement for high school students in Kenya
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Studies show that majority of high school students in Kenya do not receive career guidance to help them select the most appropriate university courses and fitting careers. In addition, the students do not have accurate information about occupational opportunities to help them make appropriate career and degree choices. The purpose of the study was to develop a model to help students to make accurate and valid decisions on their degree choice or career based on their KCSE examination results. The study was guided by the following research objectives: to investigate the extent to which university entrants in Kenya's public universities are pursuing courses of their own choice; to investigate the existence of prior knowledge of course requirements for their university entry; to develop an SMS and web-based model for the selection of university choices; and to implement and test a course selection system. The study was limited to the public universities in Kenya. It was also restricted to secondary students who had pursued the 8-4-4 education system. A total of 382 questionnaires were printed and sent to the sample. Only 280 complete questionnaires were received, coded and quantitatively analyzed using SPSS using descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings showed that there are major information gaps in the provision of career/course guidance to high school students. The study showed that respondents were unaware of course/career selection systems and would have made a difference in the choice of university course and subsequent career engagement. The findings showed the need for an effective system for modelling career guidance and university placement. The researcher developed an SMS and web-based course selection prototype to help students to make quality career choices based on their academic results and personalities. The model used a combination of academic reports, previous cut-off points, subject cluster combinations and the weighted system to predict the top four courses qualifying a student for undergraduate degree. The spiral methodology was used to develop the prototype. The researcher implemented the methodology in four phases: planning, risk analysis, engineering and evaluation phase. The prototype was implemented in four modules: registration, exam results, advisory and the data mining modules. Various tests were performed on the prototype including integration, module and system testing. Ten percent of the respondents were asked to participate in the testing and implementation process. The students reviewed and approved the font size, layout and functionality of the web pages including spelling, wrong directions, broken links and loading problems participated in usability testing reported that the interface was easy to use. They said that the background colours, font size and layout of the whitespace were helpful but requested options for increasing the font size and links to the web pages. These requests were added to the final prototype. The feedback showed that the course selection system could be manipulated easily by high school students. These findings supported the development of a course selection system. The study recommends that the current course selection system should be improved to help students to pursue their preferred courses. It recommends that prototype be improved for large-scale adoption. The prototype should updated to ensure it provides relevant, complete and timely information complying with changes to university degree courses, career matches and KUCCPS admission criteria for the current form four students (2014/201"5). In addition, the study recommends that further research should be conducted on the effect of university course selection on career engagement. Further research is needed to show the link between career guidance and the student's choice of university degree.