Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A comparative study between career-technical programs and college preparatory programs on student performance
by Haniford, Rhonda L., Ph.D., Saint Louis University, 2008, 156; 3351878
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study is to determine if a career-technical program results in higher student achievement than a college preparatory program. The study analyzed students' course enrollments and their effects on ACT scores and GPA averages. Furthermore, the study analyzed teaching strategies to determine if teaching strategies that resemble real-life situations and require students to apply the content and process knowledge through problem-solving methods increase students' performance.

A QUAN-QUAL approach was used to collect data. Quantitative data collected resulted from ACT scores, GPA scores, and student and teacher surveys using the Likert scale. Qualitative data collected resulted from partially structured teacher interviews. Senior high school students in career-technical programs and senior high school students in college preparatory programs constituted the student population of the study, while career-technical education teachers and college preparatory teachers constituted the teacher population. In addition to the interviews, the researcher collected qualitative data from classroom observations. Data was analyzed using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation (Pearson r), t-tests, scatter plots, and descriptive statistics using content coding.

The study found that certain career-technical courses and college preparatory courses resulted in higher than average ACT scores. Furthermore, although career-technical teachers more often used problem-solving and real-world activities, there was no relationship between the teachers' beliefs that the content should be aligned to career or real-world experiences and the teachers' beliefs that they require students to regularly apply the content to career and real-world experiences. In addition, the study found that more males were enrolled in career-technical courses, and that there were ten factors that influenced students' career choices, especially parents and the students' personal beliefs.

Implications of the study include curriculum development and revision at the secondary levels, as well as district allocation expenditures to support facility issues associated with career-technical programs. Other implications include staff development of non-career-technical teachers to implement real-life problem-solving teaching strategies into units of study, including college preparatory programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rebore, William T.
School: Saint Louis University
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Career-technical programs, College preparatory, College preparatory programs, Problem-solving, Student performance
Publication Number: 3351878
ISBN: 978-1-109-08607-2
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