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The educational impact of Tech Prep on Massachusetts occupational education programs

James Patton Alicata, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The U.S. federal government, in 1991, provided funds to every state interested in implementing a Tech Prep program. In school year 2000–01, Massachusetts funded 12 Tech Prep consortia to administer Tech Prep programs for local secondary and post-secondary occupational education programs. The Massachusetts Department of Education has collected information on the Tech Prep program progress made in categories such as number of students and schools participating in Tech Prep. However, no statewide study has been conducted, using Department of Education core quality indicators, to assess the educational impact of Tech Prep on Massachusetts occupational education programs. The purpose of this descriptive study was to survey individuals directly involved with the implementation of Tech Prep at the high school and college levels and obtain their perceptions and observations in order to assess the impact and recommend strategies that will improve the effectiveness of Tech Prep in Massachusetts. The population (N = 228) for this study consisted of teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators who were involved as Tech Prep site coordinators at high schools (160) or colleges (22) in Massachusetts during school year 2000–01. Results show that vocational high schools have a clearer definition of Tech Prep than comprehensive high schools and colleges. Vocational high schools have had greater success than comprehensive high schools in providing work-based learning. Comprehensive and vocational high schools and colleges have separate and different missions when delivering Tech Prep programs. Articulation agreements are very important to all schools. Career guidance support plays a strong role in high school Tech Prep programs. Tech Prep professional development programs are available to high school and college members. It is recommended that a statewide definition of a Tech Prep program be developed. Work-based learning needs to be promoted in comprehensive high schools and colleges. More comprehensive high school and college curricula should contain contextual learning. An articulation agreement should be developed for every Tech Prep career major. Tech Prep consortia must recognize the differences between vocational and comprehensive high school members. A statewide clearinghouse would improve the effectiveness of professional development in Tech Prep. A follow-up survey including interviews would enhance this study.

Subject Area

Vocational education

Recommended Citation

Alicata, James Patton, "The educational impact of Tech Prep on Massachusetts occupational education programs" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3068533.