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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Brian L. Pyles
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: A Study of Career Preparation Activities Used in Michigan’s Public High Schools
Dr. Richard Zinser, Chair
Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer
Dr. Linda Dannison
Date: Friday, May 11, 2007 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
The purpose of this study was to assess the status of Michigan’s Career Pathway high schools, two years after its funding was terminated early, to determine if the Career Pathway high school activities were institutionalized beyond their initial implementation and achieved sustainability. In particular, this study examined the use of Career Pathway curriculum guides, Educational Development Plans (EDPs), student Career Pathway designation, student career assessment, work-based learning, alternative scheduling, college credit 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 use EDPs as a guide in the selection of their high school courses. Additionally, it identifies 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. With 418 out of 596 surveys returned, this study secured a 70% return rate and a 95% confidence level. Initial analysis revealed that an impressive 77.1% of Michigan Career Pathway high schools organized and sustained their student course selection guide under Michigan’s six Career Pathways.
This study also examined the relationship between a series of independent and dependent variables. Independent variables included 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, number of guidance counselors and size of the student population. The dependent variables included Career Pathway selection activities, EDP activities, Career Pathway instructional activities and the combined total of the aforementioned dependent variables. Two forms of analysis were used: Pearson’s 2 test of independence and Pearson’s R interval-by-interval symmetric measure.
Of note are the statistically significant relationships related to barriers to implementation. Three common barriers were identified for high schools that do not have a Career Pathway course selection guide or EDPs, including the elimination of Career Preparation grant funding, the reduction of staff time to coordinate the effort and the elimination of a staff member who coordinated the effort.