A study of Tech Prep program administrator perceptions of factors promoting or threatening Tech Prep program continuance.
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Ertell, Ricky D.
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Tech Prep funding has been reauthorized through the year 2012 but issues remain that must be addressed. This study of Texas Tech Prep at the consortia, post-secondary, and secondary levels has identified factors needing to be addressed to improve Tech Prep and ensure the educational reform initiatives survival beyond 2012. All 26 Texas Tech Prep consortia directors, and all 80 postsecondary administrators and a sample of 260 secondary administrators were included in this study, for a total of 366 participants. A survey instrument consisting of nineteen statements was sent to the selected administrators on March 23, 2006 followed by a second e-mail on March 28 and then a reminder on March 31. Content analysis was performed to analyze the demographic data obtained from the survey. The nineteen research statements were categorized relating to the four objectives of this study and analyzed using chi square to determine significant differences in responses. The perceptions of Tech Prep administrators in reference to the four objectives identified by this study are summarized below: 1. Data driven decision making continues to be a theme permeating Perkins legislation but Tech Prep programs have not yet developed extensive systems to track data effectively. 2. Communication appears to be a major issue for some Tech Prep administrators. 3. Most administrators believed support was adequate between levels of Tech Prep. 4. The CATEMA system is growing in popularity but weaknesses still exist because students must self-identify. 5. A majority of administrators believe Tech Prep is meeting its stated mission. 6. Most administrators believe articulated credit is an effective tool for students to gain college credit. 7. Student awareness of Tech Prep is not sufficient. 8. A large percentage (44.9 %) of postsecondary and secondary administrators believed Tech Prep was not well managed at levels outside their level and many more were neutral on this issue. Factors identified were the need for: 1) better communication, 2) more rigor in programs, and 3) better program education for students. Recommendations for future research and practice were suggested.