NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED549337
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 232
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-0689-7
A Quick Win: Teaching Basic Skills in Context for Better Outcomes an Examination of Success Factors, with a Special Focus on the Potential for the Rapid Building of Self-Efficacy in Emerging Initiatives for "At Risk" Students at California Community Colleges
Hirsh, Deborah Duggin
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
A small but growing body of evidence in reports, journal articles and conference papers indicates that if basic skills are embedded within specific career training programs, under-prepared students can acquire life enhancing basic skills at a higher rate than when those skills are taught in the traditional, unconnected way (Baker et al., 2009; Kuh et al., 2007; LATTC Bridges to Success Center, 2009; Parnell, 2000; Sticht; Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, 2005a, 2005b). Context-based programs help students find meaning and perceive the relevance of what they are learning. This, in turn, enhances their willingness to apply themselves, especially when they see individuals just like themselves succeeding. By studying one such promising program that integrated basic skills education within an accelerated career technical education program, I have been able to shed light on what aspects of a contextualized program might contribute to better course completion rates and persistence. Of the 30 students who were still enrolled in the program under study at the end of August, 2010, (out of an initial 32 whom matriculated in April of the same year), 100% graduated nearly six months later on February 3, 2011. Of these graduates, 18 of them, or 60% persisted to take follow-on courses leading to an Associate of Science Degree. These levels of completion and persistence rates are unusual in Community College CTE programs in which a large percentage of the students are also Basic Skills deficient. Typical program completion rates for this population are closer to 30% (Baker, Hope, & Karandjeff, 2009). Furthermore, initial findings from a new course that is not accelerated, but includes many of the same features of the Accelerated Diesel Mechanics pilot, indicate that it, too, is experiencing a high retention rate, with 32 of 32 students who enrolled in February, 2011, still enrolled as of May 12, 2011. Findings from my study suggest that combining basic skills training that is contextualized with core course material with opportunities to apply learning in real time may be part of the reason for its success. Furthermore, the sequenced, accelerated, modular course design also seemed to have helped. And finally, the course was designed in a way that provided opportunities for students to form social relationships that helped them find meaning and academic and social connections. According to students and the instructor, this unique course design appears to result in students' increased self- confidence. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California