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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Delores McNair

First Committee Member

Michael Elium

Second Committee Member

Antonio Serna

Third Committee Member

Joel Blomenkamp


The problem for this study is positioned in exploring how four high school academic (two science, one English, one history) teachers change their curricular, pedagogical, and assessment practices from traditional high school environments to career-oriented program settings, such as California Partnership Academies (CPAs). The participants were from four different school sites and districts and represented industry sectors related to energy, green engineering, or environmental science. This was a qualitative, collective case study using classroom observations, interviews. and document review of lessons as the data sources. This study found that participants provide an instructionally stable and efficient learning environment in the CPA academic classroom setting, one in which teachers get to know students well and have the flexibility to modify their instructional practices to meet the needs and goals of the academy program. The findings provided evidence that participants' instructional practices with their academy students are different from the instructional practices in their traditional non-academy classrooms. Differences include how participants plan for instruction, the curriculum materials and teaching strategies they use, how they assess student learning, and what classroom culture is established. It is reasonable to infer from the findings that it is not any single strategy or approach that provides an effective and stable curricular instructional program for students in California Partnership Academies. Rather, it is a combination of teacher's actions (e.g. classroom culture they establish), behaviors (e.g. role and teacher-student relationships), and beliefs (e.g. self-efficacy) that contribute to their ability to move from a traditional instructional setting to a career-oriented environment. In addition, the collaborative nature of the academy team of teachers and the commitment they make to implement the goals of the academy to ensure student success constitute significant findings that compliment the current research. These findings also build on or expand the research by presenting examples of the curriculum, pedagogical, and assessment practices found in career academy settings. Findings are significant for practitioners who seek to understand what is needed from teachers, administrators and teacher educators to improve the environment of high school programs and close the instructional gap currently found in our nation's secondary schools.





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