Programs of Study: What “Mature” Sites Tell Us

Publication Corinne Alfeld and Sharika BhattacharyaJanuary 2012

As POS are relatively new, in name if not in practice, research evidence on their implementation and effectiveness is still in progress. NRCCTE-affiliated researchers at the National Institute for Workforce and Learning at FHI 360 are conducting Mature Programs of Study: A Postsecondary Perspective, a study that began in 2008 with the goal of examining “mature” POS-like sites around the country in order to learn about how they were developed and how they work. Three sites were selected that met study criteria for maturity, primarily consisting of evidence of a strong secondary-postsecondary partnership with students moving from the high school to the local community college in a CTE program.

Over the last three years, researchers have conducted site visits to each of the mature POS to interview administrators and faculty at the high school and college levels, as well as advisory committee members from the business community. Findings from these site visits indicate that the mature POS sites had successfully surmounted various barriers to developing POS over a timeframe of at least nine years. Common key elements of these mature POS include: (1) resources (primarily provided by the college) for staff dedicated to creating and maintaining POS relationships with high schools; (2) active business and industry advisory groups; and (3) uniquely tailored and flexible dual enrollment arrangements. Finally, at each site, high school and college leaders share a vision of seamless student transitions that ultimately benefit students, the college and the local economy. Student survey results are also discussed in the article.

Alfeld, C., & Bhattacharya, S. (2012). Programs of study: What “mature” sites tell us. Techniques, 87(1), 32-35.

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