Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Peter Kiriakidis


Vocational high school students are not passing state tests and are not meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirements in Puerto Rico. Limited qualitative research has been conducted to examine the experiences of vocational high school students regarding mandated standardized tests. Using a qualitative case study, the experiences of Puerto Rican cosmetology and barber vocational high school students regarding mandated standardized tests were examined. The conceptual framework was based on Dewey's theory of experience regarding the influence of continuity and interaction on students' career paths. The sample was 20 vocational students from cosmetology and barber classes who participated in standardized tests. Data were collected via audiotaped face-to-face semi structured interviews and were analyzed using open coding and thematic analysis for emergent themes. The findings revealed learning strategies, experienced by the participants, which help vocational high school students improve their proficiency in cosmetology and barber curricula. Teachers could use the findings to help students improve their standardized test scores and meet AYP. This study has implications for social change, in that it may inform the implementation of learning strategies to help vocational students be successful on standardized tests, graduate from high school, and enter higher education or join the workforce.