School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
academic achievement, career academies, career and technical education, causal-comparative study, learning abilities, Mann-Whitney U-Test
Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | Gifted Education | Secondary Education and Teaching
Kyees, Linda, "Rigor and Academic Achievement: Career Academies versus Traditional Class Structure" (2014). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 912.
The purpose of this study was to determine if students who attended high school Career Academy classes, as part of Career and Technical Education, showed greater academic achievement than students who attended traditional high school classes. While all participants attended schools in the same school district, and were seeking the same goal of graduation with a standard diploma, the Career Academy students had the benefit of all classes being directed by a team of teachers who helped them connect their learning to their desired career through collaborative learning projects and assignments. The traditional high school classes taught each subject independent of other subjects and did not have specific connections to desired career goals of the students. The study used a causal-comparative research design and the participants included 1,142 students from 11th and 12th grades who attended 9 high schools in a diversely populated area of central Florida with 571 enrolled in the Career Academies and 571 enrolled in traditional classes. The 10th-grade FCAT scores served as the dependent variable. All students attended similar classes with similar content, making the primary variable the difference in academic gains between students participating in the Career Academy design and the traditional design classes. Using the Man-Whitney U Test resulted in the Career Academy group achieving the higher scores overall. This resulted in rejection of the first null-hypothesis. Further examination determined that the 10th-grade FCAT scores were greater for the average students group, which comprised the largest portion of the participant group, also resulted in rejection of the second null-hypothesis. The gifted and at-risk student group scores resulted in failure to reject the third and fourth null-hypotheses.