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ERIC Number: ED497344
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Pages: 127
Abstractor: ERIC
Building Academic Skills in Context: Testing the Value of Enhanced Math Learning in CTE. Pilot Study
Stone, James R., III; Alfeld, Corinne; Pearson, Donna; Lewis, Morgan V.; Jensen, Susan
National Research Center for Career and Technical Education
This report describes the conduct and outcomes of an experimental pilot study conducted in Spring 2004 to develop and test a model that aimed to enhance career and technical education (CTE) instruction with the mathematics already embedded in the curricula of six occupational areas. Although present in the CTE curriculum, math is largely implicit to both teachers and students. The impetus for the study is that many high school students, particularly those in enrolled in CTE courses, do not have the math skills necessary for today's jobs or college entrance requirements. This research project was aimed at using an authentic context for teaching math skills. Preparation for the study began in the summer of 2003 with the nationwide recruitment of teacher-participants. CTE teachers who were interested in participating were required to identify teachers of mathematics who was willing to work with them during the course of the study. In the fall of 2003, the experimental CTE teachers and paired math-teacher partners attended a professional development workshop for their occupational area. At these workshops, the CTE-math teacher teams identified the mathematical concepts in the curricula of the CTE teachers and developed lessons to provide explicit instruction in these concepts. In the second half of the 2003-2004 school year, the experimental teachers taught the lessons developed by the group of teacher teams in the fall workshop for their occupational area. Pre-testing with a standardized mathematics test was conducted prior to the first lesson, and post-testing was conducted after all had been taught. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed to assess fidelity of the treatment and to gain understanding about the teacher experiences during implementation of the math-enhancement model. Teacher surveys, interviews, and focus groups were conducted. Math teachers were asked to meet with the CTE teachers after the lessons had been taught and submit debriefing reports. Additionally, each teacher was observed once during the semester by a member of the research team, and instructional artifacts were collected from each classroom. Random assignment was made at the classroom, and not the individual student, level; the unit of analysis was the classroom. Despite random assignment, pre-testing yielded significant differences in the average math scores of the experimental and control classrooms in two of the six occupational areas, but not overall. Because of these differences, the pre-test was used as a covariate in analyzing the post-test scores. These analyses showed a significant difference in favor of the experimental group and that improvements in math achievement did not come at the cost of lower scores on the tests of occupational skills and knowledge. At the classroom level, there were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups on these tests. A review of the formative evaluation data assembled as part of the pilot study led to a number of changes in preparation for the full-year study (2004-2005 school year), including revisions in the pedagogic model and in the amount and kind of math support provided to the CTE instructors. The revisions in the model emphasized more bridging between the CTE and mathematics vocabularies and increased attention to how the embedded math is represented in traditional math instruction. Increased math support was provided through additional extended professional development workshops, cluster meetings of small groups between the workshops, websites with resources for each of the occupational areas, and a reporting system for monitoring the collaboration between the CTE and math instructors. (Contains 5 figures, 20 tables, 7 footnotes, and 15 appendixes.) [For full-year report, see ED493604.]
National Research Center for Career and Technical Education. Available from: The National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education. 1900 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1090. Tel: 800-678-6011; Tel: 614-292-9931; Fax: 614-688-3258; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, St. Paul, MN.; National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education, Columbus, OH.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A