Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Peter Kiriakidis

Abstract

Career and technology education (CATE) courses were offered to high school students as an alternative form of education. The research problem at the study site, which is a high school located in southeastern United States was the lack of research-based findings on high school graduates' perceptions of CATE courses. The purpose of this study was to understand the participants' perceptions of the impact of CATE courses on career goals. The research question that guided this study was: What are the perceptions of high school graduates of a CATE program? The conceptual framework was based upon multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, and the social cognitive theory of self-efficacy. Purposive sampling was used to identify 10 high school graduates who took CATE courses and were interviewed to share their perceptions of those courses. Responses were audio taped and transcribed for content analysis and coding to identify common themes on this topic. The findings indicated that CATE courses provided students with practical applications by which CATE instructors strived to meet the needs of students, indicating that CATE students have been prepared for career opportunities. The findings also indicated that CATE students graduated from high school because students developed technical and academic skills through the program. Implications for positive social change include potentially increased rate of high school graduation of CATE students and the impact of CATE courses on graduate's career goals. The results of this study can be used by CATE teachers and school administrators to support continued advocacy for teacher professional development within the field of CATE courses.