A cunning hand and a cultured mind: An examination of high school graduates who completed an integrated technical and academic program

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Cockrum, Kelly
Herschbach, Dennis R
The problem of this study was to compare selected characteristics of students who completed an integrated curriculum of technical and academic studies with students who completed either an academic, a technical, or a general curriculum. The researcher analyzed changes in participation, select demographics, academic achievement and post-secondary plans of students in the integrated curriculum against the other three curricula. The changes were measured across a seven-year time frame—1993 to 2000. The results were: 1. The integrated curriculum had the greatest percentage increase of students of the four curriculum categories from 1993 to 2000. 2. When considering change across the time, the integrated curriculum had the greatest percentage increase for both genders, in four out of the five ethnic divisions, and for students participating in English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. For students participating in the Free or Reduced Price Meals (FARMS) program, the integrated curriculum had the second greatest percentage increase. 3. Findings from statistical analysis revealed that when Grade Point Average (GPA), Academic Grade Point Average (AGPA), and SAT scores were used as benchmarks, students in an integrated curriculum were academically competitive with students from the academic curriculum. This holds true across the selected demographic categories. 4. Students in the integrated curriculum are planning to attend post-secondary institutions in increasing numbers and the numbers are comparable to students in the academic curriculum. A summary of recommendations included: (a) efforts should be directed at determining the present attitudes and perceptions held by educators, parents, and students toward technical education; (b) additional research studies should be conducted on the particular type of technical programs completed by students in an integrated program; (c) additional research studies should be conducted to determine why all students, but ESOL or FARMS participants in particular, continue to stay in the general or technical curriculum; and (d) additional research studies should be conducted to determine why high-level students are taking the integrated curriculum.