Vanessa Hein

Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Stephen Haymes, PhD

Second Advisor

Andrea Kaufman

Third Advisor

Jeff Kuzmic


A major area of inquiry, which has persisted throughout the history of public education, is how to best prepare our students for both post-secondary education and future employment through college and career readiness (CCR) initiatives. Much of the foundational knowledge and skills that are included in such standards and policy, rest upon cognitive and affective processes. Equally important is the inclusion of conative skills, which are internally derived and managed by conative processes and include self-awareness (inclusive of culture and identity), self-direction (inclusive of agency and autonomy), and self-management (inclusive of motivation, persistence, and resilience). However, there is also prevalent corporatist agenda embedded within the growing college and career readiness reform effort which seeks to restrict and/or reshape the conative aspects of student development in order to maintain the status quo of social efficiency models of education. In a democratic educational system, students must be proactive agents in both their readiness and success and therefore should be the entities that ultimately determine their goals and pathways toward readiness and success based upon their individual experiences and interpretations. There exists a gap in the research that fully explores the value of conative skills in state-level college and career readiness policy reform, therefore, the purpose of this research is to provide a qualitative case study of a state that constructs policy that is reflective of the needs and capabilities of its people through the inclusion of conative skill development, as evidenced by state level CCR policy, programming and planning. The case study was guided by the following research questions: (1) How do states engage with conative skill development through statewide College and Career Readiness policy; and (2) Through what means do states reinforce these efforts through additional reactive and proactive state policy, legislation, advocacy, and resources? State level policy text and legislation was analyzed using critical intercultural communication theory to inform critical discourse analysis in order to identify the state of Hawai‘i as a model toward which other states may look for guidance when including conative skill development as an integral piece of college and career readiness reform.