Mature Programs of Study: A Longitudinal Analysis – Year 2 Technical Report

Publication February 2010

The new legislative requirements for Programs of Study have created a need for information on how best to plan and conduct these programs. A review of state plans for the implementation of Perkins IV found that states planned to draw upon their experience with similar initiatives such as Tech Prep, career pathways, and dual enrollment (Lewis & Kosine, 2008). Because the idea and model for POS in the legislation evolved from CTE reform initiatives such as Tech Prep and career pathways, as described in the NRCCTE Programs of Study Year 2 Joint Technical Report (Programs of Study Joint Technical Working Group, 2009), we recognized that many schools may already be engaged in activities that look very much like POS in spirit, if not in name. That is, POS may have begun with another name but have now been relabeled, if not also restructured, to better fit the new Perkins definition. This study examines the processes and structures of mature sites that (a) have been in existence for several years and (b) have evidence of students moving from a secondary CTE program into a postsecondary CTE program in a nonduplicative sequence of courses, as mandated by Perkins IV.

This NRCCTE research project examining Perkins IV legislation on POS focuses on the identification and rich description of mature POS that can inform CTE policymakers and practitioners about how and why POS function at the local level. We seek to explore POS from the ground up rather than imposing a top-down theoretical or policy lens. This project described in this technical report examines three mature POS sites longitudinally using a combination of research methods for studying complex social structures and relationships.

Alfeld, C. (2010, February). Mature programs of study: A longitudinal analysis. Year 2 technical report. Louisville, KY: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education.

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