Date of Award

6-2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Zinser

Abstract

This study assessed the status of Michigan's Career Pathway high schools 2 years after state Career Preparation funding was terminated early, in order to determine the institutionalization of Career Pathway activities. In particular, this study examined the use of Career Pathway curriculum guides, Educational Development Plans (EDPs), student Career Pathway designations, student career assessments, work-based learning activities, alternative scheduling, college credits earned in high school, instructional strategies, teacher professional development, and Career Pathway high school planning committees. This study also ascertained the perceived helpfulness of having students declare a Career Pathway and using EDPs as a guide in the selection of their high school courses. Additionally, it identified barriers to continued participation as a Career Pathway high school.

Descriptive findings were based upon 418 respondents that completed and returned a 27-question mail survey (representing a 70% return rate and a 95% confidence level). Initial analysis revealed that 77.1% of Michigan Career Pathway high schools continued to organize and sustain their student course selection guide around Michigan's six Career Pathways.

This study also examined the relationship between a series of independent (e.g., Career Pathway-related professional development days, the number of stakeholders who were involved in the initial planning of the Career Pathway high school, number of instructional staff and guidance counselors) and dependent variables (e.g., Career Pathway selection activities, EDP activities, and Career Pathway instructional activities). Two forms of analysis were used: Pearson's χ 2test of independence and Pearson's R interval-by-interval symmetric measure.

Of note are the statistically significant relationships linking various barriers to continued implementation, including the elimination of the Career Preparation grant funding, and the reduction and/or elimination of staff to coordinate the effort. To minimize such issues in future grant-based projects, the state should consider limiting the amount of grant funding that can be used for such staff and require a phase-down of such amounts yearly if the goal is to create sustainability beyond the life of the given grant project.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access