ERIC Number: ED465033
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Jan
Course Taking, Test Preparation, and Career Academy Programs: Findings from a Field Study.
Smith, Thomas J.
A study examined whether career academy programs, with their tailored curricula, dilute content of required curricula, and whether academy students who follow this alternative course of study are less prepared to score well on standardized tests. Data were gathered through site visits to seven schools, review of reports and documents, and interviews with principals, counselors, academy coordinators, teachers, and students. Three key characteristics defined the academy model: small learning community; college preparatory curriculum with a distinct career theme; and partnerships with employers, communities, and higher education. Findings indicated academy curricula did not hinder students from completing courses required for graduation; any effects of test taking on academy programs (or vice versa) were overshadowed by the generally negative opinion and by the disruptions to school operations those testing requirements produced; and teachers and students found these tests burdensome, students sometimes resisted taking them, and skepticism about their value and their validity was broadly expressed. Steps suggested for academy programs were to give increased attention to building and maintaining a coherent and stable educational experience for students in each academy; to explore more ways to demonstrate their students' unique attainments; and to find ways to ensure their students succeed in the standardized testing environment. (YLB)
Descriptors: Career Academies, Career Education, Course Content, Field Interviews, Field Studies, Graduation Requirements, High Schools, Integrated Curriculum, Scores, Standardized Tests, Student Attitudes, Test Coaching, Test Validity, Vocational Education
Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, 16 East 34 Street, New York, NY 10016 ($8). Tel: 212-532-3200. For full text: http://www.mdrc.aa.psiweb.com/Reports2002/CA_CourseTaking/CA_CourseTaking01_02.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; Ambrose Monell Foundation, New York, NY.; George Gund Foundation, Cleveland, OH.; Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., St. Louis, MO.; Union Carbide Corp., Danbury, CT.; DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund, Pleasantville, NY.; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO.; Alcoa Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA.; Grable Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA.; New York Times Co., NY.; Open Society Inst., New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., New York, NY.
Note: Additional funding provided by the Heinz Family Foundation.