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IJER Vol 21-N2

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The mission of the International Journal of Educational Reform (IJER) is to keep readers up-to-date with worldwide developments in education reform by providing scholarly information and practical analysis from recognized international authorities. As the only peer-reviewed scholarly publication that combines authors’ voices without regard for the political affiliations perspectives, or research methodologies, IJER provides readers with a balanced view of all sides of the political and educational mainstream. To this end, IJER includes, but is not limited to, inquiry based and opinion pieces on developments in such areas as policy, administration, curriculum, instruction, law, and research.
IJER should thus be of interest to professional educators with decision-making roles and policymakers at all levels turn since it provides a broad-based conversation between and among policymakers, practitioners, and academicians about reform goals, objectives, and methods for success throughout the world.
Readers can call on IJER to learn from an international group of reform implementers by discovering what they can do that has actually worked. IJER can also help readers to understand the pitfalls of current reforms in order to avoid making similar mistakes. Finally, it is the mission of IJER to help readers to learn about key issues in school reform from movers and shakers who help to study and shape the power base directing educational reform in the U.S. and the world.

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4 Articles

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Situating Programs of Study Within Current and Historical Career and Technical Educational Reform Efforts

ePub

Natalie Stipanovic, Morgan V. Lewis, and Sam Stringfield

ABSTRACT: This article provides a broad overview of the history of career-focused education in the United States and the reauthorization of the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. The Perkins act required that the recipients of its funding offer at least one program of study, and this reauthorization included four core components that play a central role in the implementation of the overall Programs of Study initiative. As such, we provide a background of the development of the Programs of Study initiative in Perkins through earlier initiatives: Tech Prep, career pathways, youth apprenticeship, and dual/concurrent-credit programs. We also offer a brief overview of the challenges faced by each initiative, along with an overview of the three National Research Center for Career and Technical Education longitudinal studies represented in this special issue.

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Do Career and Technical Education Programs of Study Improve Student Achievement? Preliminary Analyses From a Rigorous Longitudinal Study

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Marisa Castellano, Kirsten Sundell, Laura T. Overman, and Oscar A. Aliaga

ABSTRACT: This longitudinal study examines the impact of programs of study on high school academic and technical achievement. Two districts are participating in experimental and quasi-experimental strands of the study. This article describes the sample selection, baseline characteristics, study design, career and technical education and academic achievement results of 9th and 10th graders, and qualitative findings from site visits. Few differences existed across groups in 9th grade, but by the end of 10th grade, students’ test scores, academic grade point averages, and progress to graduation tended to be better for the students in programs of study (i.e., treatment students) than for control/comparison students. Qualitative results suggest that treatment schools have created school cultures around programs of study that appear to explain improved engagement and achievement.

This longitudinal study, currently in its 3rd of 4 years, is being conducted in the context of the last reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins legislation (2006), which funds career and technical education (CTE) nationwide. This reauthorization, known as Perkins IV, modified existing practice by increasing program accountability in the areas of academic achievement, technical skills achievement, and alignment with postsecondary technical education in the form of programs of study (POS). The larger study seeks to estimate the impact of POS on high school students’ academic and technical achievement outcomes through the completion of high school.

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Mature Programs of Study: A Structure for the Transition to College and Career?

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Corinne Alfeld and Sharika Bhattacharya

ABSTRACT: This study uses a mixed methods approach to examine a new type of curriculum configuration that supports students’ transitions to college: career technical programs of study (POS). Interview and survey data were collected from a college and its feeder high schools in each of three well-established (“mature”) sites in geographically varied communities in the United States to investigate how POS are structured, what the key the “ingredients” are, and what students experience as they move through the POS. Interview findings suggest that the key elements of POS include dedicated staff to create secondary–postsecondary connections, active multistakeholder advisory committees, and flexibility and compromise in developing dual-credit options for students. Survey data show that high school students feel positively about their experiences in POS; however, career guidance is lacking. Student records indicate that even when POS were in place to support their transition, less than one-fifth of students remained in the same POS in college that they began in high school. Results are discussed in relation to the 2006 Perkins IV legislation.

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Implementing a Statewide Mandated Career Pathways/Programs of Study School Reform Model: Select Findings From a Multisite Case Study

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Cairen Withington, Cathy Hammond, Catherine Mobley, Natalie Stipanovic, Julia L. Sharp, Sam Stringfield, and Sam F. Drew Jr.

ABSTRACT: A Longitudinal Study of the South Carolina Personal Pathways to Success Initiative (see Hammond, Drew, et al., 2011) follows the implementation of a statewide mandated career-focused school reform policy in one U.S. state. The research focuses on eight diverse high schools in the state, personnel at those schools, and approximately 6,200 students across three cohorts, with varying amounts of exposure to the policy. In the longitudinal study, we investigate whether the number of highly developed career-focused programs of study available to students increases under the policy and whether targeted student and school outcomes are affected. Findings are presented here as related to overall policy implementation, differences in student experiences, changes in the roles of guidance, and changing attitudes toward career and technical education.

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